We'll be on the Nov. 2 Infinity Panama Canal cruise in a SkySuite. My father, 90 years old, may need a wheelchair. He uses one at airports and on occasions at home, otherwise using a cane. I am concerned about the distances on the ship, that he'll get tired. I was surprised to find that there is a $200 charge for use of a wheelchair during a whole trip.
Can anyone tell me how to decide if one is necessary? How much does the butler do? How soon can you get a chair if you think it's necessary?
Did you find walkie-talkies useful? If so, which kind?
Any other comments about cruising suggestions for older folks would be much appreciated.
If he has any trouble walking or maintaining balance, at all, take a wheelchair. He'll be much happier and safer if he has it than not. The length of those passageways is directly proportional to the level of fatigue.
That $200 figure you mention is why I take my own. If necessary, rent a collapsible one from a local vendor rather than rent from the cruiseline. I hope that information is helpful.
On walkie-talkies, they are great when your party plans on doing things seperately and then meet up later. My partner and I rarely use 'em but when traveling with friends, I like 'em because some people sleep in and then I can say where to meet us.
Hope that helps.
And, I agree -- take the wheelchair. My mom is also in one part time, and it's a long walk for even an able-bodied person. The dining room waiters will just zoom it out of sight at dinner, too.
Is that $200 charge refundable? On Princess, the deposit ($100) was refundable when he returned the chair at the end of the cruise. They hadn't arranged one ahead of time, but were able to get it same day.
The walkie-talkies are great if you get the right kind. You must get those that have sub-channels added to the standard 14 channels. On our family reunion cruise we had a total of 6 walkie-talkies between us and 2 of them did not have the sub-channels and they were totally useless because dozens of other passengers were always talking on those frequencies. Also, they do not work well within the confines of the ship because of all the metal, but outside areas are great and talking from the ship to someone in town at port was good too.
We just returned from a cruise on the Navigator. My wife used her own wheelchair. By all means, if you have one use it. The distances are just great on the ship. Another reason to use a chair, is stability in the event of rough seas.
If you would prefer not to use your own (sometimes they get damaged by airline personnel) you can rent a scooter for $200.00 for the week. Some scooter places (such as Scootaround) deliver the scooter right to the ship terminal for you. You can also return it at the terminal.
Our travel agent said the kind of chair with footrest was $275, nonrefundable. Dad called the cruise line to ask how available the chairs were, and the rep said "We don't have any wheelchairs." This kind of shocked me. Could this be? Chairs are only available through the subcontractor and none are on board for passengers' use?
I got walkie talkies from Motorola, about $45, with "22 channels" -- is this the "good kind": It said 14 channels each with 38 codes. "Talkabout" T5620. Still time to return them!
Any short excursion that would be nice for an older gent who can't do much walking?
Yes, those radios will work fine. Tune the frequencies to something like channel 8-3 or something. Channel 8, subchannel 3. People on the standard radios who only have the straight 14 channels and who are tuned to channel 8 will be able to hear you but you won't hear them when they broadcast. You will only hear the radios tuned to 8-3.
Once aboard the ship if someone else is using the same frequency as you keep searching for an unused one. To find out if someone else is on that frequency just broadcast a message to see if someone responds.