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Old August 26th, 2006, 06:44 PM
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Default What do I do first?

Hello everyone, I am booked on the 14 night Infinity cruise through the Panama Canal on October 8th with my disabled mother, she uses a wheelchair and scooter. I haven't cruised recently and when I last did, I was with a group. Since I will be the person who signs up for everything what should I do first when I get on board? I have heard that if you want to have dinner in the nicer restaurants you have to make reservations right when you get onboard and know the dates you want to reserve. Any particular nights that are the best? Anything else I should do when I first get on? Your help would be greatly appreciated. My mother has an accessible cabin already.
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Old August 26th, 2006, 09:37 PM
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Well, before you even get on the ship, I suggest you contact Celebrity's special needs desk and find out which shore excurions you and your mother can go on. And do NOT let them brow beat you or tell you you have to wait until you board to make your shore excursion reservations. Able-bodied people can do it in advance, so there is NO reason why you also cannot do that! Their toll free # is 800/437-4111

That was a MAJOR issue when we cruised with Celebrity for the first time earlier this year. If you manage to get the same snippy responses when asking for WHATEVER information you desire, be SURE to get their name (I always ask for that when I first get on the phone with them) and ask to speak to a supervisor. You would not believe the rude people we encountered when trying to reserve our shore excursions. They simply did not want to bother with us.

Celebrity is making improvements tho, so don't let my comments upset you, just don't put up with any rude treatment. We actually ended up getting another free cruise to replace the one that they so badly messed up. (Such as stating on their website that at LEAST one pool and one spa had a wheelchair lift. When we asked them to bring out the lift, from their expression you think we had just grown extra heads!!!)

Another suggestion, when waiting for an elevator, take it WHATEVER direction it is going! What goes up, must come down! If you wait for a clear elevator, you will miss the appetizers at dinner!

I hope you and your mother have a wonderful time!
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Old August 26th, 2006, 11:09 PM
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Epenny,

I am booked on the 14 night Infinity cruise through the Panama Canal on October 8th with my disabled mother, she uses a wheelchair and scooter.

GTS Infinity is a fantastic ship, and you booked on a fantastic itinerary. In fact, my first Celebrity cruise was that itinerary aboard that vessel! In fact, I'm going back aboard GTS Infinity for the cruise immediately after yours, which is going to Hawai'i.

Since I will be the person who signs up for everything what should I do first when I get on board?

Probably take your mother up to the buffet for lunch, then explore the ship to familarize yourself with the layout and the public spaces.

I haven't cruised recently and when I last did, I was with a group.

I don't know on which line(s) you have previously cruised, but be aware that Celebrity is very much a traditional cruise line with a fairly "upscale" roster of loyal passengers who love to dress up in the evenings. On your cruise, there will be three "formal" evenings, four "informal" evenings, and seven "causal" evenings. On the "informal" and "casual" evenings, the line's published dress code tends to be a minimum.

I have heard that if you want to have dinner in the nicer restaurants you have to make reservations right when you get onboard and know the dates you want to reserve.

Not true on Celebrity. Reservations for Celebrity's specialty restaurants are usually available on the same day.

Any particular nights that are the best?

No, but there are four factors that you might want to consider.

>> On the "formal" evenings, the main dining room pulls out all the stops to make the evening special. On Celebrity, "all the stops" typically includes a string quartet playing background music in the main dining room and many of the extra touches, like the sorbet "intermezzo," that the specialty restaurants provide. Thus, I recommend eating in the main dining room on the "formal" evenings.

>> On Celebrity, the specialty restaurants require "informal" attire on "casual" evenings. If dressing up is difficult for your mother (or if dressing your mother is a burden for you), it would be easier to go on an evening when the dress standard is "informal" for the whole ship so you have to dress up anyway.

>> If you and your mother are celebrating a special event during the cruise and you want to dine in the specialty restaurant, you might want to dine there on the night of the special event.

>> If your table gels, it's quite possilble that your whole table might want to go to the specialty restaurant as a group. If that happens, suggest going on a night that is NOT a formal evening -- but go along.

I should mention that Celebrity's specialty restaurants are extremely fancy, and that they are the most expensive specialty restauarants on the high seas. The price is not $30 per person. Rather, it's $30 per person above the value of dinner in the main dining room.

Anything else I should do when I first get on?

You might want to stop by the "Guest Relations" desk and confirm any special arrangements that you have made to accommodate your mother's condition.

BTW, there's one thing that you might want to do before you go. Celebrity's parent company, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL), offers a shipboard credit for stockholders who own at least 100 shares. This shipboard credit is fully combinable with all other promotions and offers, and it's available on every cruise that a qualified shareholder takes on either of the company's lines. There's still enough time to have your broker buy a hundred shares in your account and then to send in the paperwork to obtain the credit. You also can own the shares through a retirement plan, such as an IRA or an individual account in a 401(k) or 403(b) plan, or a trust, so long as you are the beneficial owner. The credit ($250 on this cruise) is deducted from the charges to your shipboard account. Here, I should include the usual disclaimers that telling you about the benefit is not a solicitation to invest in the company's stock, that such an investment may or may not be appropriate for your personal financial circumstances, and that you should consult your broker or other personal financial advisor for financial advice appropriate to your situation.

Norm.
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Old August 26th, 2006, 11:45 PM
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Wow, thank you so much for the advice Norm and JeanS!! This web site has been really informative. My mother wants to stay on the ship for the tenders and just go off when we are docked. Once she is off she likes to rent a cab and go at her own pace. Tendered I will do it alone. Thank you again, Epenny
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Old August 27th, 2006, 12:44 AM
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Epenny,

If your mother changes her mind, there is no need for her to stay aboard when they are tendered. Some of the ships actually have ramps to get wheelchairs aboard, and they can certainly help your mother to get aboard rather safely and bring her wheelchair too, so there is no need for her to feel she cannot go aboard at a tendered port.

Enjoy!
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Old August 27th, 2006, 12:56 AM
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Epenny,

Correction: Here is the number to the special needs desk:

(800) 722-5472 ext. 34492

And also don't let them DEMAND that the only way to get any assistance is to send email.

Enjoy!
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Old August 27th, 2006, 07:34 PM
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Hi JeanS,

I'd just like to thank you for your "pro-active" stance for people who are in wheelchairs (or otherwise disabled). While we don't need a wheelchair now, we did in the past, and probably will in the future.

I'm sure your and your DH's work will make cruising for the disabled much easier!

Epenny, and anyone else cruising in a wheelchair or with someone in a wheelchair, listen to JeanS! She knows what she's talking about !
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Old August 28th, 2006, 11:14 AM
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Epenny one question.. did you book with Celebrity or with a TA..if you booked with a TA make them do their job!
HOLD their feet to the fire!
Joey
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Old August 29th, 2006, 02:09 PM
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In terms of booking ahead--If you are CapClub you can do your specialty restaurants in advance. You can also book excursions ahead on line. They have great reviews that will let you know if they are accessible. We had a wheelchair user group member once who did everything-including zip etc.... When we board we check our DR table first (change if not suitable) then get our spa appts, having done advance res for specialty & excursions prior to departure.....have a nice trip--you wil find everyone very helpful!
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