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Alaska with 75 Year old father


SzaSza

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I am just in the planning stages for an Alaskan cruise for this August with my 75 year old father. He is not able to walk for long periods of time. I have a feeling we will be on the ship most of the time. Since itinerary may not be the priority, which ship do you think is best for viewing and overall amenities? This will be his first cruise and he will want a balcony cabin.

 

Thanks!

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If easy access is important, I'd suggest looking at the smaller Holland America ships. That's who we are using to take a mobility-impaired friend on her "trip of a lifetime". We are going on the Ryndam (1260 passengers or so), and she got a cabin near the elevator. The ship is small enough you don't need to "pack a lunch" to get anywhere :) HAL has DVD players in the cabin, and great viewing areas. In Glacier Bay, they open the doors to the bow. HAL also has promenade decks that go all the way around the ship.

 

If your dad needs a "handicapped accessible" cabin, you likely need to book soon -- there are not a LOT of HA cabins onboard most of the ships on any cruiseline.

 

Keep asking questions, there's PLENTY of helpful posters on this board!

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Thanks for you reply!

My dad does not need a handicap-accesible room. I think he would like a bigger, newer ship. He is mobile but cannot walk for more than 20 minutes without a break.

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Even on the bigger ships, as long as you get a room near the center of the ship near the elevators, you are never far from anything. In Skagway, they have golf carts to take less mobile people from the ship to the end of the dock. We took my dad last summer, he is 85 but is very mobile, and he had no problems with anything. All excursions will pick you up at the dock, the only port where we did a lot of walking to get anywhere was in Skagway.

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Why do you think your father would like a bigger ship if mobility is difficult? You know best of course, but the comment seemed odd.

 

We are active and athletic but really appreciated the mid-size HAL ships. We didn't have to start out 20 minutes in advance to get to other parts of the ship. Some of HALs ships are great if your father can't stand on deck for extended periods; the Crows Nest provides a panoramic view of everything (but is a smoking area). Also, the HAL ship was less crowded than larger ships if waiting in long lines or getting through crowded spaces is an issue. And the lines to disembark and get back on board were short.

 

Last comment, in most Alaska ports HAL and Princess usually get the closest-in berths. In Juneau for example, it is over a mile to the farthest dock. That is also a consideration in selecting cruise lines.

 

Hope that helps!

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Actually the ability to walk 20 minutes, is pretty nonrestrictive. I would not discount, off ship activities, since many can be considered.

A Car rental out of Skagway, would be a great option, boat tours, bus tours etc.

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Have you considered renting a scooter? I'm going with my 79 year old grandmother to Alaska in May. She walks half a mile each day to the post office and back, but she's renting a scooter for the trip to make sure she doesn't get too tired and miss out on something. The scooter rentals deliver them right to your room, so it seems pretty easy.

When we went to Disney World, my mom made my dad rent a scooter because he has foot problems, and although he resisted at first, after not having painful feet at the end of the day we had no problem getting him to rent them on all the other days! even I was taking it over for awhile when walking got to be too much.

It could be a really great thing for your dad to try, at least for the one trip.

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We did the Celebrity Infinity in 2007 with my Dad wo was 86 at the time & my cousin who was 90 at the time to Alaska - Infinity is my favorite ship - and they had no problems

In the ports we got off and walked around a bit just what they felt like and in Sitka & Ketichan we used taxi's to get around for a bit more coverage. In Juneau we took a tour bus around.... all booked ourselfs dockside.

 

Now both My Dad & Cousin did South America on the Infinity in 2005 with us so they knew & liked the ship. It is a larger one and has some nice amenites geared mainly for the adult crowd...

i.e. glass elevators that overlook the ocean; large buffet with ample seating; wonderful hydro therpy pool under a glass roof that is adults only; health food buffet by the thearpy pool; etc.

 

Your Dad will have a great time no matter what ship you pick. Celebrity & HAL cater less to the kids and more to the adults than do Royal Carribean, Princess or NCL (In their amenities) IMO Now having said the above my Grandsons love the Infinity over Princess....

but my oldest Grandson is a gourmet food lover not a McDonalds fan..... They have not been on HAL yet only Princess & Celebrity.

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A slight mobility limitation does not bar most Alaskan activities. Obviously rock climbing and long hikes are out but there are many great things to do ashore with only a little walking.

 

My 93 year old aunt had a wonderful time in Alaska and participated in most of the activities. Check out our review and pics at http://www.elite.net/~thehalls/alaskaZ.html

 

I would particularly recommend renting a car in Skagway. You and your father would love the beautiful trip and only a bit of walking is required.

 

Have a GREAT cruise!

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