Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 17

Thread: Alaska Cruises

  1. #1

    Alaska Cruises

    Greetings!
    Who all has been on an Alaskan cruise? How did you find the ship accessibility? Were there any ship to shore concerns? Plenty of accessible excursions to choose from?

  2. #2
    Lots available. I assume you are talking about a 7 day cruise out of either Seattle or Vancouver (usually called an Inside Passage cruise)?? There are many of these available. I would recommend sticking with one of the cruise lines that has done these cruises for a long time: Princess or Holland America (HAL). Both have a number of ships on this route every summer, and they all have accessible cabins. These cabins book up early; you may already be too late for finding a good accessible cabin for this coming summer. Full accessibility is a little more difficult to find on longer combined land and cruise tours that take you into the interior of Alaska.

    Look at the ports on the cruise you are considering. Most cruise lines will no longer allow anyone onto their tenders (small boats that take you from the anchored ship to shore) if they cannot WALK onto the tender under their own power (no more crew lifting you onto the tender in your wheelchair). So in tender-only ports, like Sitka, you may not be able to get off the ship at all. Seattle, Victoria, Vancouver, Juneau, Ketchikan, and Skagway are very accessible, with some accessible tours you can book through the cruise ship, but you may do better booking your own separate tours (it will be cheaper) on-line instead. A few examples are the shuttle buses that take tourists from town to the Mendenhall glacier in Juneau: you can arrange these on the pier, although if you book ahead you can be more sure to get a bus with a lift at the time you need it. The Mt. Roberts tramway is accessible, but the hiking trails at the top of the mountain are not. The Whitehorse Pass train in Skagway has an accessible car with a lift and fully accessible bathroom, and it comes right to the pier to pick you up, but often the cruise ships have all the tickets booked, so you would do best to book through the ship for this. Ketchikan is a good place to just wander around town and do some shopping, and there is a fun (if corny) lumberjack show there that you can get tickets for on the pier and is only about 3 blocks from the pier.

    Be sure, on HAL, that you look for fully wheelchair accessible cabins, not the "modified" cabins they have which will work for someone who is semi-ambulatory, but not for a full-time wheelchair user. A cabin for two is fairly easy to get...those that will take 3 or 4 and are wheelchair accessible are in much shorter supply. You have to have and accessible cabin. The regular cabins have a 4-6" step into a tiny bathroom, and commonly the door to the cabin and into the bathroom is only 24" wide. In addition, there is not room for a wheelchair to get around a cabin that is not designed for wheelchair use...the bed is too close to the wall, etc.

    Most have full accessibility for all decks of the ship except for the very top "sports" deck (usually a basketball court) unfortunately. Pools (which are covered for Alaskan cruises generally) vary as far as having a lift that works or someone who knows how to run the lift. Exterior doors are usually ramped, but can be heavy, but in my experience there are nearly always alternative routes to just about everywhere on the ship that allow you to get around without struggling with these doors. Almost all interior areas are carpeted, so if you have any problems with your shoulders you need to take that into consideration.

    Personally, I love Glacier Bay National Park, but not all ships go there. You stay on the ship for a full day in this beautiful park, and are likely to see bears and whales along with many seals, birds, and beautiful mountains surrounding the bay. I also recommend for first timers or those who are afraid of getting sea-sick to take a cruise from Vancouver rather than Seattle. The former travels to the west of Vancouver Island the first full day, far from land, and while you might see some whales, there is not much scenery, and a lot of waves. Those that leave from Vancouver travel up the eastern shore of Vancouver Island, in protected waters, and past beautiful scenery...little islands and bays, lots of trees, eagles and osprey, and sometimes whales.

    A good place to get more detailed information about ports, excursions, or comparisons of ships is on the Disabled Cruiser forum at www.cruisecritic.com

    (KLD)

  3. #3
    KLD,

    Been talking about doing this for years, it's on my bucket list.

    Anyway, I checked out Princess Cruises web site and the 10 day cruise from San Francisco says that Ketchikan was Tendered and had limited access but when a checked the 7 day cruise from Seattle there was no mention of being tendered. They are were different ships but they're all really big.

    Also, was curious about the bed height, I went on a 4 day Mexico cruise about 12 years ago and seem to remember they were a little high for me but I was able to manage. I'm not quite as agile as I was then so it's a bit of a concern.

  4. #4
    Some ports may be tendered if the pier space is limited and there is not enough room for all the ships in port. Cruise lines make reservations years in advance for precious spots, and so those which are scheduled the most in advance often get the pier space or the best pier space, and others may be further out of town or even tendered. When I was last in Juneau, there were 5 ships in port at once: 3 at the pier right in town; 1 at a pier in an industrial area, and the last was anchored and had to tender its passengers. This is why it is important to always check the itinerary carefully when booking any cruise if you want to avoid missing out on a port.

    Bed height is variable, but most often it is better than the high beds in many hotels now days, and I have yet to run into a platform bed which cannot accommodate a mobile lift on a cruise ship. Your cabin steward may also be able to make modifications to alter the bed height. I remember one time the bed was too low for my mother, and the steward just put a second mattress on top of the one already there, which made it perfect. This was on RCCL. It is also possible (at your expense) to rent a hospital bed which can be delivered to your cabin for the duration of the cruise, and the cruise line removes the regular bed to make space.

    (KLD)

  5. #5
    Senior Member bigtop1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Greater metropolitan Detroit area
    Posts
    204
    My wife and I went on an Alaskan tour using Royal Caribbean. It was a cruise of a life time. Enjoyed every minute of it. Boarded in Vancouver, Canada. The ship was very accessible to me in my wheelchair. We had an outside suite. Roomy, clean and, accessible. The stops we made were all satisfactory at the ports of call. We also went on land using bus and rail staying at easily accessible resorts along the way. I tell you, it was wonderful. Saw plenty of wild life, met native Alaskans, and glaciers breaking up. Eagles flying around like sparrows, being so plentiful. If you can go, by all means do it. You won't regret it. Our trip was taken in the middle of the year when there wasn't concern for weather to hamper us. On the rails we were on, they even had an elevator to take me up to the observation deck. Scenery was fantastic. Alaska is truly our last frontier.
    I refuse to tip toe through life, only to arrive safely at death.

  6. #6
    Thanks for the replies, i'll check out Royal Caribbean. I really want to get a balcony suite. I daydream about having my morning coffee sitting on the balcony checking out the beautiful scenery.

  7. #7
    I took the Disney Alaskan cruise about a year after I was injured. The cruise was excellent and everything was easily accessible. There were no problems with the ship or any of the ports. I just had to be selective on which tours I could take.

    We had a cabin with balcony, but I'm not sure it was worthwhile. The other cabins with balconies had railings that you could see through. The accessible room was in the bow and the railing was sold. Unless you could stand, the only view was looking up.

  8. #8
    Keep in mind that when under way you will find the balcony VERY windy and often very cold. The few times we had one, we never used it. Our goal was to go on as many cruises as possible, and since we spent so little time in our cabin (sleep, bathe, & get dressed) we tried to get the least expensive cabin possible.

    (KLD)

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by bigtop1 View Post
    My wife and I went on an Alaskan tour using Royal Caribbean. It was a cruise of a life time. Enjoyed every minute of it. Boarded in Vancouver, Canada. The ship was very accessible to me in my wheelchair. We had an outside suite. Roomy, clean and, accessible. The stops we made were all satisfactory at the ports of call. We also went on land using bus and rail staying at easily accessible resorts along the way. I tell you, it was wonderful. Saw plenty of wild life, met native Alaskans, and glaciers breaking up. Eagles flying around like sparrows, being so plentiful. If you can go, by all means do it. You won't regret it. Our trip was taken in the middle of the year when there wasn't concern for weather to hamper us. On the rails we were on, they even had an elevator to take me up to the observation deck. Scenery was fantastic. Alaska is truly our last frontier.
    You said you had a suite. Did it have a private bedroom and balcony? If so, what was your opinion of the balcony.

  10. #10
    I have been on several cruises and had a balcony on a couple. Definitely worth it for enjoying breakfast in the morning or just watching the waves. Often you can get an upgrade to a balcony if they have them available. The added expense is not that much more regardless.

Similar Threads

  1. ADA and cruises...
    By WheelieMike in forum Recreation, Sports, Travel, & Hobbies
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 04-02-2016, 09:14 AM
  2. Cruises?
    By nrf in forum Recreation, Sports, Travel, & Hobbies
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 01-13-2011, 03:57 AM
  3. Princess Cruises New Rule
    By SCI-Nurse in forum Recreation, Sports, Travel, & Hobbies
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 03-16-2008, 10:50 AM
  4. cruises
    By chsmith in forum Recreation, Sports, Travel, & Hobbies
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 03-29-2002, 10:46 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •