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Tender Ports question


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My brother has cerebral palsy. He does not use a wheelchair, but due to having one leg shorter than the other, "limps" (sorry, I hate that word) and moves slower than others. On our upcoming cruise (Canada/New England), should we call HAL and tell them he is handicapped? I am only concerned about him in tender ports. Getting in and out of the boats may take a little longer. On our past Alaskan cruise we did not have any problems but had no tendering.


Lastly, do handicapped persons disembark before others in ports and at end of cruise? We have two non-cruise sponsored tours planned and I am trying to figure out times and flights.

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Ok, after posting my question I realized I may have asked it incorrectly. The point of my question is: My brother does not use a handicap sticker in his car, does not use a wheelchair, but moves slower than others and is obviously "mobility impaired". On our Alaskan cruise, we did not disembark ship with handicap passenger group. But with this upcoming cruise, there are tendered ports and I was wondering if we still don't disembark with handicap group, i.e., disembark with "other" groups, will he still have enough employee assistance if he has trouble getting on/off tender boats?


Thanks so much.


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Contacting the cruise line probably will not help unless you have specific special needs. From our experience (my husband uses a wheelchair), wheelchair passengers and often other disabled passengers are given special attention during embarkation. On HAL, RCCL and Celebrity we are usually sent to a different desk where there is little or no line or escorted to the head of the line. On Carnival we are taken to a special table or a special seating area where we wait while a rep takes care of all the details. Since your borther's disability may not be as obvious, I would let one of the cruiseline reps (not a securinty guard) know and you prbably will be gibven special treatment too.


In general, no preference is given to the diabled at ports. Once RCCL sent us a note given us preference on the tender, but they only gave us 2 tender tickets. When I went to get a tcket of my daughter. the rep in charge of the tender tickets requested we wait until the end so we wouldn't slow everyone else down.


And, on most ships, the disabled used to be given preference during embarkation. Now that is not always true. On several ships, we have been asked to wait in a special area, but then disembarked with everyone else based on flight or deck,


Actually, most ships today have many disabled aboard. The crew are used to assisting and/or waiting for people who are slowed by age or disability. You might want to discuss the situation with the pursers desk. And, if you are on a ship's excursion, be sure that the crew member in charge of that excursions understands that you need to take an elevator to the exit.


Regardless, I would suggest that avoiding the crowding as everyone rushes to leave the ship and making sure that you do not get caught in the last minute crowds returning to the ship will probably be more comfortable for your brother.

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If your brother's disability is not obvious until he starts walking and he doesn't carry a cane or anything like that, then your brother or you will need to be somewhat aggressive about getting assistance. While the crew is generally good about helping, if they cannot tell you need assistance, they probably won't offer anything. Even then he does carry a cane, you still may have to be aggressive about getting assistance.


For my brother, who is sometimes in a wheelchair and sometimes is able to use a cane, I request they assist him getting into the tender boat, with someone helping him to get in and someone helping him who is inside the boat. On rare occasions, when the crew member was just ignoring our request to assist him get into the boat, I held my brother back from trying to get on himself and asked the officer in charge for help, who would either help himself or make the crew members provide the assistance. The tender boats do move and it can be dangerous to get on the boat by yourself if you have mobility problems.


Also, when you go to the tender station, you may need to take the elevator rather than trying to go down all of the flights of stairs. If you have a shore excursion through the cruise line, they will try to have you all meet somewhere and go down together. They always have the excursion guests go down the steps to get to the tender area, which may be several flights of steps depending on where you meet. Our experience has been that no matter how much you tell them about the problem, they won't wait on you to catch up. Even if you take the elevator, they will probably "beat" you to the tender, because you will likely have to wait on the elevator to arrive. This will put you in the back of the line and may cause you to have to take the next tender. So you may just want to go down to the tender boat area early and wait on the tour there.



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The tender staff on all cruise ships are trained to handle virtually all physical impairments. Even cases involving severe sunburn or muscle pain from too much exertion.


I agree with the suggestion to avoid the early burst of hyperactive types who MUST be on the first tender out, but otherwise not to worry too much about being accomodated on the tenders.


Enjoy your cruise.

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  • 2 weeks later...



I'll assume nothing and just toss out a few "tips" from experience

on why a cane is a good idea.


I prefer my wheelchair now for em and debarking. I on recent cruises used my cane and discovered a few things.


1. People especially kids can come up to you fast or bump into you,

those stair lines as in waiting to board a tender are dangerous as was lifeboat drill. The cane announces that you move slower and the fool behind you

will hopefully not push you into the water. My wife stays behind me.


2. bad news they often can not see it when coming up behind you.


3. the cane usually keeps folks from letting a door hit you, not always

but frequently. Issue in all is balance!


4. the cane "marks: one on some ships as in getting a lifebost asignment with others in the "same boat"; I am always in my chair with usually a few kids

in theirs.....


5. frankly in a real emergency: the wheelchair is best being on the deck

where the lifeboat is located. I know what lifeboat is assigned but I always

know what lifeboat is the one I can reach.



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