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Thread: Access on Cruise Lines

  1. #1

    Access on Cruise Lines

    Taking a cruise may very well be the most popular way for someone with a disability or that uses a wheelchair to travel. There are many cruises and cruise lines, so which one to choose? The most hassle free way is book through an experienced special needs travel agent, but you can certainly do it yourself too! Here is an article with links to many other articles about what you need to know about cruising and booking a cruise, including the most frequently asked questions about cruising with access needs.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Sue Pendleton's Avatar
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    Any decent travel agent now knows how to book accessible travel. The only time we ever paid a full brochure price for a cruise was when we booked through a special needs agent. Just about everything you could possibly need or want to know you can learn on cruisecritic.com. We've been on 19 cruise with 2 others already booked and other than the one we either booked ourselves or used are normal travel agent to coordinate flights, hotels and the cruise. We're currently thinking about another bucket list cruise to either Australia/New Zealand or around the Horn of South America to include Australia for 2016.
    Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

    Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.

  3. #3
    Senior Member air ohs's Avatar
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    Always have booked direct ,after running into probs with cruises booked thru TA's. You can make sure of everything better yourself than thru a third party.

  4. #4
    We have used TAs but only to book a trip we have already checked out and only with a lot of guidance to the TA to be sure we get the right cabin, etc. You can't just depend on the TA, even one who specializes in disability travel.

    (KLD)

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Sue Pendleton's Avatar
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    Our TA is an old acquaintance now retired from booking corporate travel. We've met and she knows what to look for both because of her ADA training and how our old house was set up and when many of us met as a group at restaurants. She and KLD both keyed us into asking for near the entrance tables for cruise dining. She insists on actual door widths and sink heights with a name attached for overseas hotel bookings with a return fax and signature. That first disabled TA booked us and when I asked about shore excursions he knew nothing. Literally blew us off. No answers to bathrooms or showers, nothing. On board we met with the loyalty agent and she was really surprised. We got a comp dinner in a specialty restaurant and she was discussing withdrawing his ability to book their line with their home office. She was very happy we spoke with her after hearing what others paid and what even large cruise bookers do after you sign on. They rely on return cruisers.
    Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

    Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.

  6. #6
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    For those of you who have been on multiple cruises, is there a particular cruise line that you prefer, and why? I've been on one cruise since my SCI. I went with a rollator walker and cane. Because my walking endurance, I had difficulty getting around on the ship. I attributed it to the additional energy required walking in a ship that was moving. When we were in port, I could walk so much better. I now know I will need a scooter on my next cruise. Is it necessary to have an accessible room when you have a scooter ( I'm looking at purchasing a Luggie)?

  7. #7
    Annie, yes, you must book an accessible cabin when using a scooter. Most cabin doors are too narrow for a scooter (or wheelchair) to access, and once in the room you will find little or no space to maneuver or park the scooter. You are not allowed to park a scooter in the hallway, as this blocks access for others with mobility impairments, and creates a fire safety hazard.

    As far as cruise line, most of the large major cruise lines have accessible cabins; some more than others, and not in all categories. This would include HAL, RCCL, Princess, Carnival, Celebrity, Disney, and NCL. These cabins book up far in advance normally, so we always made reservations at least 6-12 months (or more) in advance. HAL is the only one of the lines above that will allow you off the ship on a tender using a wheelchair (they have a wheelchair lift to one tender). Most of the others require that you be able to walk on/off the tender, and will not lift a power wheelchair or scooter into the tender. So looking for routes that have limited or no tender ports may be important for you. Try to stick to ships built in the last 15 years for the best accessibility features.

    I would recommend checking out the Disabled Cruisers forum at www.cruisecritic.com for more information about ships, cabins, and routes that may interest you. You can post questions there as well.

    Since you are in California, you may want to look at cruises that originate there to minimize the need to fly to your embarkation point. Ships leave from San Diego, Long Beach/San Pedro, and San Francisco for the Mexican Riviera, South America, through the Panama Canal, or to Hawaii, Tahiti, and the South Pacific. There are a few cruises to Alaska out of San Francisco, but for most of those trips you need to go to Seattle or Vancouver. If you have not done Alaska, I can recommend it highly.

    (KLD)

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the great information. Cruise critic looks like it has all the information I need. ��

  9. #9
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    Hello Annie,
    My wife and I are regular cruisers. Bottom line is the bigger the ship, the easier it is to navigate and it is "Not" crowded. Many more elevators and hardly any wait. A few more pools and private areas like solariums for adults. Seperate children areas, big work out rooms. My two favorite ships are Allure and Oasis of the seas. They go out of Fort lauderdale. Plus having a vehicle with hand controls gives you a "FREE" parking incentive for as many days as your there. Also I get there early and park right in the front . Embarking center is outstanding. I also have cruised Celebrity, which I really like but not the carpets in the hallways. Overall my favorite ship is Allure. Feel free to email me anytime. joemonte@nep.net. You will have a great time. Just pre-plan everything. Remember the big ships, you want to prebook you shows. Very easy to do. Just always make sure you request a full turn around bathroom and your all set. Always make sure you fax into the cruise line a special needs form when the cruise is booked. Good luck with everything. Best Regards,
    Joe

  10. #10
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    Joe, thanks for the information. Is the special needs form available online? I live in So. Cal and hate the idea of flying, so I would only be sailing from the west coast. Are the Allure and Oasis with Princess Line? We are just starting to look at cruises and trying to decide which to choose. We've only been on two cruises one pre SCI and one Post. I didn't have a scooter on that cruise and I was really limited in where I could go. I'm an incomplete c7/t2 with some walking ability, but the endurance is limited. I plan on having a scooter for the next cruise.

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