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Old May 18th, 2002, 01:13 PM
Phyllbo's Avatar
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Default best ships for wheelchair bound person

I am hoping to someday get my brother-(in his late 50's) on a cruise ship. He has very limited mobility as he's had CP from birth. I would appreciate any feedback on ships that have the best set ups for this situation. He lives in Florida so I was looking at possibly a short 3-4 day cruise out of Florida for our first try. I know that RC and HAL have itineraries that fit, but I wonder about the ships. Thank You for your help. Phyll
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Old May 20th, 2002, 05:38 PM
Frank M
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Default Re: best ships for wheelchair bound person

Phyllbo,

I have sailed on Holland America ships and certain rooms on every ship are handicapped accessable. On my last cruise on the ms Zaandam, my roommate was escorting his parents on the cruise with another couple. His father is wheelchair bound and has no trouble getting around the ship. I often found him all over the ship by himself getting on and off the elevators or in many of the public rooms having a good time.

Holland America seems to cater to the older crowd of which many of them have mobility restrictions. These passengers work their way around the ship as well as anyone else. The Zaandam and the Volendam ships have both swimming pools and the LIdo cafeteria on the same deck (LIdo Deck), so that one deck is the most popular deck to be on during the day and it is easy to navigate that deck by wheelchair. Many of the elevators have fold-down seats for the use of people unstable on their feet to use during the elevator trip. The cafeteria staff will cheerfully assist a wheelchair passenger to a table by carrying their tray and getting their beverage from the drink stand.

Keep Holland America in mind when you are ready to book your cruise. Step up to a 7 day cruise if you can. There are more ports to visit and a few more days to enjoy.

Frank M
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Old May 20th, 2002, 08:20 PM
KLD KLD is offline
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Default Re: best ships for wheelchair bound person

Your best bet is for a newer ship (built in the last 5-7 years) with one of the "majors" such as RCCL, Celebrity, Princess, HAL or Disney (more "family" oriented). You will need to book far ahead as most of the fully accessible cabins book up very early, and are quite limited in number.

Most of the cruise lines have ship lay-out diagrams on their websites that will let you see how many accessible cabins they have and their location. We try to get cabins very close to the elevator to avoid having to dodge room cleaning carts in the AM and early evening. Not all cabins may be fully accessible (ie, roll-in shower instead of a tub) so you should probably either directly or through your TA contact the cruise line's Special Services office to find out specifics on the the cabin you are looking at prior to booking.

Have a good time...cruising is a great way to travel for those with disabilities. You may want to spend some time reading back on the messages on this board for more information. There is also an excellent discussion board for disabled cruisers at www.cruisecritic.com, and check out www.gimponthego.com as well as these two sites
http://www.access-able.com/
http://www.access-able.com/
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Old May 20th, 2002, 08:22 PM
KLD KLD is offline
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Default Re: Re: best ships for wheelchair bound person

Whoops...left this link off my last response:

http://www.geocities.com/Paris/1502/
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Old May 23rd, 2002, 02:29 PM
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Default Re: best ships for wheelchair bound person

Thank you for all of your help. I am looking in to HAL and some of the newer ships. Nice to know anything is possible. Phyll
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Old July 9th, 2002, 01:15 AM
bthesing
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Default Re: Re: best ships for wheelchair bound person

My husband is a quadraplegic and is still in rehab at this writing. He wants to go on cruise sometime next year. We would like to go to Barbados. What cruise ship stops there? Is that Eastern Caribbean? My husband has use of right hand, but not left to much. Wrists and arms ok, but most likely will be in wheelchair as he has spinal cord injury. We are both senior citizens. Does any cruise line offer bargains to seniors? We would be flying from LA to ship. What's the best Carribean cruise ship? How can you find out if the ship is wheelchair access and also the ports? We have limited resources. What would you recommend - anybody??
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Old July 28th, 2002, 03:41 PM
KLD KLD is offline
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Default Re: Re: Re: best ships for wheelchair bound person

Look into getting the latest Fodor's Cruise guidebook. It has the most up-to-date info on cruising and accessibility of the current ships.

Here are a couple of other sites to check out as well:

http://www.cruisecritic.com (look in the disabled cruisers forum there)

http://www.access-able.com/

http://www.geocities.com/Paris/1502/

http://www.cruise2.com/HandicappedCabins.html

If you are not very experienced in travel with a disability, you might be more comfortable on your first cruise working with a travel agent who specializes in this. Once you get some experience, you can often work with any travel agent who can learn your needs and work with you on finding the right cruise for you.

Here are some travel agents who specialize in this:

http://www.disabilitytravel.com/

http://emerginghorizons.com/

http://www.wheelchairtravel.com/Whee...l%20Center.htm

http://dmoz.org/Society/Disabled/Travel/Agencies/

You also need to consider that you will be responsible for all his care, including transfers (beds are lower than beds at home), all personal care, and getting around ashore. You might want to look into traveling with a PCA or younger family member who can help out. I travel with my parents on cruises as my mother has MS (quadriplegia) and my father, although healthy, is 80 and unable to do any lifting anymore. Finding cabins that sleep 3 and are wheelchair accessible is a challenge. Sometimes I have my own cabin next door and find a roommate to go with me. We also take with us a mobile travel lift that makes transfers much safer and easy on the ship. The one we have is here:

http://www.takealonglifts.homestead.com/

Unfortunately you are not going to find senior discounts, and many discounted prices you see advertised do not include the fully accessible cabins. Accessible cabins tend to go very early during booking, so it is best to book as far ahead as possible. A good travel agent will be able to help you with this. Be aware that you can often find bargin prices in the summer or fall for the Caribbean, but this is also because this is the hurricaine season and you risk at least a change in itinerary if not cancellation of the entire cruise if this should occur.

You might want to try a short cruise round-trip cruise out of LA or San Diego first (Mexican Riviera, for example). This would allow you to focus on the cruise without also having all the hassle of fluing to/from your cruise ship.
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