Originally Posted by monicamichael
We are first time cruisers and need all the info we can get about cruising with disablilities, everything from cabins to ports of call that are accessable. My son is in a wheelchair and can only walk very short distances with assistance. We are interested in the eastern carribean. All info would be helpful.
The ship will be entirely accessible to him. Just make sure you get a handicapped cabin so that he will be able to get around easily in his chair.
As for the ports, realize that ADA laws don't apply in foreign countries, so while many of them will be accessible, some will present issues. They may have cobblestone streets making it difficult to push a wheelchair without getting tired pretty easily.
Also, tendering is something you're gonna have to be concerned with. I can only speak for Holland America Lines because that's the line I mostly cruise. They have a really good system in place for getting wheelchair passengers onto the tenders. Unless the seas are particularly bad ... if an ablebodied person can tender, the wheelchair passenger can too. They see to it. Holland America even has some sort of lift that can be used to get a handicapped person into and out of the swimming pool. They also have stewards available in the Lido to assist mobility challenged passengers with getting their food from the buffet line to their table. I don't know if all cruise lines are this well equipped for dealing with passengers with mobility issues, so you would be best off talking to the accessibility department at the cruise line where you are planning to book your cruise. Specifically ask them if help will be available to get your son into the ports, especially if they are tender ports, and what sort of assistance will be available to him onboard ... such as, for example, at the Lido Buffet ... and do the show lounges have reserved sections for passengers in wheelchairs.
There is no reason on Earth why a mobility challenged passenger can't have just as full a cruise experience as an ablebodied one. You just have to make sure that the cruise line you are considering is equipped to deal with his special needs.
Blue skies ...