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a wheelchair on the cruise


gigsjh

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Your best reference for this question will be the cruise line itself. Some require notification of a special needs traveler in advance of arrival (check your Terms of Passage/Cruise Contract/Tickets) for specific requirements of the line.

 

You will want to ensure that the line, AND the ships crew are aware of your requirements for assistance. Particularly in terms of boarding a lifeboat in the (remote) event that it becomes necessary. Due to weather/sea state, you may not be able to participate in some shore excursions that involve the use of a launch. While disappointing, keep in mind that the restriction will be imposed in the interest of safety. Going from a ship to a smaller craft even in "mild" seas can often be a tricky operation.

 

In terms of "getting around" you shouldn't have any more difficulties than what you would normally experience in a hotel. Most lines will be responsive to your needs but, like most things, you will need to be your own advocate.

 

Hope this helps and that you have a wonderful experience! :)

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Both of my kids have spina bifida and are in wheelchairs. July 2003 we sailed on the Star Princess at that time they were 13 and 5 they had no problem wheeling anywhere. They both thought it was easier for them to get around on the ship then most places they go on a daily basis.

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Pushing your husband around should not be a problem. I have done so on several cruises in the past.

 

The comments about difficulty of getting around a ship in a wheelchair are more focused on someone pushing themselves then being pushed. The size of ships and the carpeting make it more more difficult for someone to push him or herself around then in a smaller house or on pavement. But many people do it.

 

That being said, I would suggest that you consider renting a scooter or power chair, if practical. Doing so would not only make things easier for you, but would also give your husband some independence and allow you to go to separate activities if you want to.

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We just came back from a 7 day to Alaska for which we had rented a companion chair for onboard. I only weigh 113 llbs. but my DM found pushing those small wheels over carpet too much for her as she has health problems herself. The company we rented from had advised us to get a scooter instead & I sure wish we'd listened to them. Unfortunately, my DM often thinks she's capable of doing more than she actually is. Anyway, after the 1st day, I had to do without the wheel chair & although I can walk short distances, it really impacted my ability to take part in things. I spent much more time in the cabin than if I'd have had a scooter or electric chair. Also, DEL is right regarding independence onboard. It is surprising how often people end up wanting to go off & do their own thing. Next time, we will definitely travel with one of the small scooters or a folding power chair.

 

As for actual getting around, we were on RCI's Radiance class Serenade & found that no problem at all as long as what you're using is fairly compact.

 

Good luck.

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If you are talking about those travel wheelchairs (the ones that have four small wheels), yes they are incredibly difficult to push over carpet. Actually I wouldn't recommend them for anything. IMHO, they are a piece of worthless junk.

 

But a standard wheelchair is much easier (although not as easy as a scooter). Also in a standard wheelchair (with large wheels) the user can push him or herself, depending on their upper body strength and range of motion. This not only gives them more of a sense of independence, but it also means they can go wherever they want whenever they want without a "pusher".

 

Scooters have their down-sides too. First, you need an accessible cabin (most won't fit through the doorways of standard cabins, which is not the case with a semi-ambulatory person and a folding wheelchair). Second, sometimes they are difficult or impossible to get on tenders. Third, sometimes they are too long for many public transportation lifts (some trains in the UK won't even allow them). Fourth, they tend to bottom out in steep curb cuts and ramps (very prevalent in the Caribbean). And fifth, you can't wheelie up a curb or over a raised threshold (again something you will face in the Caribbean).

 

But some people love them. Each device has it strong (and weak) points. Except for those stupid little travel chairs with small wheels -- they are not good for any purpose whatsoever.

 

Candy

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Queenie, yes we did rent the one with the little wheels & I'm totally with you on their uselessness. Do you know whether the folding electric chairs "bottom out" the way scooters do on steep curbs & ramps? If not, maybe that would be a better way to go. Speaking personally, I don't have enough energy to push myself in a manual chair. On our cruise we met woman with a Shoprider Scootie that was 17" wide, 37"-40" long & would fit many places larger scooters wouldn't. I believe she said she'd even taken it to Europe with her. Not sure about the Caribbean. She said that if she takes a "run at" ramps & things she can get over them. This scooter comes apart in 3 pieces, fits in car trunks, & weighs only about 82 lbs. so I was impressed with the portability of it. I've never tried a scooter so don't know if I'd have enough upper body strength for it. If not it'll have to be the folding electric chair instead, but they are definitely heavier.

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Riana.....etal.

 

I couldn't help but chime in and let you know of our 99% positive experience.

 

My wife has been severely incapacitated since Jan 2003. She uses a 180lb electric w/c. Prior to the disasterous events we were avid cruisers.

 

I decided that the 21 meals of a seven day cruise and the 30 meals of a ten day cruise that I would not have to prepare were well worth the cost (and effort). (Let alone cleaning up, making beds, etc.) Plus the entertainment at hand.

 

We sailed the Millennium in March, The Mariner of the Seas July and are scheduled to sail 11 days on the Summit in December.

 

Cruising again was wonderful and everything we hoped it would be.

 

On both ships the personnel were wonderful. Cabin stewards providing our special needs, when requested; Waiters slicing my wife's meats. (Ask once and it was automatically done every night.); At b'fast and lunch at the "lido" buffets a waiter immediately came to us to take my wife's tray and escort her down the line; Captains moved chairs and tables to make room for her no matter how crowded or busy; Even passengers made room for her in the elevators (or they got run over;) ); Even wheeling on or off the ships in port we were assisted by ship's personnel to the extent of interrupting the flow of othe passengers when necessary.

 

The experiences were marvelous.

 

The only negative, and this really is the point of this post is that there are metal threshholds between sections of every deck some of which provide jarring bumps. Some are even high enough to require me giving the w/c a strong push from the rear.( I do this with my leg/hip.)

 

I highly recommend cruising for non-ambulatory people and the use of electric w/c's if in doubt.

 

Keep on cruising and good luck to all.

 

Joe O

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Yeah Reina, the Scooties are smaller and i've heard good reviews form folks who have tried them. Full time scooter users don't seem to like them that much because they don't has as much "pep" as what they are used to. I really don't know of any power wheelchair that folds (the batteries would get in the way or have to be removed).

 

Because the scootie is shorter you won't have quite the bottom-out and oversize problem. If I were you I rent one to try out while you are home. That way you can decide if you really like it and get a little used to driving it. It's kind of overwhelming to try a scooter for the first time on a crowded ship. You need a little space when starting out. But you will get the hang of it fast. Try it at home if you can.

 

Candy

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Riena:

 

Yes, there are "folding" power chairs. My husband has one,a Quickie P110. To fold it, you have to remove the batteries and the battery support. Once you do so, it folds easily, but is still bulkier than a manual chair. it is are also much heavier, even without the batteries. However, since it folds, you can put it in a car trunk; thereby alleviating the need for a lift.

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Thanks, I really appreciate your advice everyone. I'm being assessed by an Occ. Therapist this week, so will see what he says. I'll pass your various inputs on to him. I guess what I buy partly depends on how much more the OT thinks I need to use something other than just for travel.

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We rented a scooter for my uncle on our Alaska cruise. It was really small and seemed to have plenty of power. He went everywhere...even right to the dinner table. Try www.cruiseshipassist.com and you will see the kind of scooter I'm talking about. It is the one with three wheels, not the larger one. They have them right at the port and seem to have facilities everywhere. We were very pleased.

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Ma Bell,

 

 

Thanks for listing the website! Can you please tell me the rate you paid to rent the 3 wheel scooter? I'm taking my parents on a cruise October 2nd on the Navigator and know they would enjoy themselves a lot more if they could have the independence that a scooter has to offer.

 

Thanks,

 

Tracey

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