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Questions about Alaska and people with disabilities


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My DH and I are going with my mother, sister, mother-in-law and father-in-law on an Inside Passage cruise on the Statendam


My mother has very little vison in one eye and blind in the other. I am concerned about how she will manage on board the ship. She has no depth perception, and as such, tends to knock over glasses and mis-reach things. She also has problems with stairs and will not use escaltors. How well lit are cruise ships, and how helpful are the crew?


My Father-in-law has really bad breathing and is not very mobile. How hard is it to get off the ship at the ports?


Thanks for your info,


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In some of the public areas at night, and even in the dining room, the lighting is very low. Hallways are very well lit so there's no problem with that.


You will tender in Sitka, and it was very rough tendering the day we were there. The most difficult port I've ever been to is Ketichikan. The gangway was the steepest I've ever encountered and many people couldn't make it down the ramp. I noticed all the ships in port on the same day had this problem, so be aware of that.

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Alaska has some very large tidal fluctuations, so even if the gangway is very level in the AM when you get off it may well be very steep when you return to reboard in the PM. In some cases they even change the boarding deck, but let's just say that you just can't fight mother nature.


Although it is difficult to tell for sure from your e-mail description, it sounds like your father in law will have more of a problem with the gangway. Wheelchair assistance is available from the crew (for boarding and disembarking only) but it sounds like your father in law might be a good candidate for a manual wheelchair (you can rent one and have it delivered to your cabin). It really would make the whole shore experience more enjoyable for him.


Does your mother use a cane? I know she doesn't have a mobility disability but a cane sometimes helps with that "flailing and knocking things over problem" as you can use the cane as a guide instead of your arms. It tends to steady people too. They have some really attractive canes now days so maybe you can interest her in one as a "fashion accessory" instead of as a "medical device". Granted I know it will probably be a tough sell, but it's worth a try.



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One of the canes I love for traveling is a folding cane. They come in all sorts of attractive designs, and fold up to about 8 inches long, in a pouch. Mine fits in my tote, or a large purse. It might be handy for her to have if the ship is rocking, or for navigating to her seat in the dining room.

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