Hello there - If anyone out there who has cruised to the Mediterranean and uses a wheelchair to get around, will you kindly share your experience with me? My husband and I will be cruising to the Med. on Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas this August and would like to know if I should bring my wheelchair along (I walk with a cane but prefer using my wheelchair on lengthy tours). We have so many questions about getting around the Med.
We were on the Grand Princess in 1999. We found that we could see a lot in Istanbul by transferring to a cab, but not all had space in the trunk for a folding wheelchair (many had extra gas-tanks there). Check it out before boarding. They will not allow wheelchairs inside mosques though. We were able to see nearly all of the Grand Bazaar. We were able to get around the port area of Kusadasi, but I would not recommend Ephesis for wheelchair users. It is steep, downhill, and all cobblestones. Many steps too. Athens will be prepping for the Paralympics then, so should have more available (cabs, etc.) than they did when we were there. Venice works only if you can either take an accessible boat tour (they do exist) or can walk over bridges that are mostly steps and pull the wheelchair along. Florence is accessible once you get there to the outside of the buildings, but most require steps to get indoors. Naples is accessible right by the port. We did Pompei here...NOT RECOMMENDED for wheelchair users. I would take a drive on the Amalfi coast here instead. Some of the cameo factories are accessible. Monte Carlo is not very accessible and is a tender port. We did not go ashore here. Barcelona was the only port where we were able to get an accessible cab (again, formerly the home to the Paralympics) and you could see most of the sights downtown with only a few bumps up curbs and steps (Picasso Museum, the old Gothic city, Columbus museum, etc.).
If you need one at all, you should bring it. It is likely you will need it in the airport, and around the ship, much less in port. A lightweight standard wheelchair is best (avoid a "travel chair") as it is most versatle and comfortable. You will not find wheelchair accessible tours though unless he can climb the steps into a bus (they will put the wheelchair in the luggage bay of a bus). We made up our own, using local cabs and communicating our need to access places without steps with our driver (even if this meant doing it with sign language and pantomime). Pompeii is not recommended. Venice is difficult (many steps) but will work if he can walk a short flight with help and someone else take the wheelchair. A boat tour of Venice is easier. Kusadasi was pretty good, but not Ephesis. Athens varies...the Parthenon is not, but the Agora is pretty accessible.
How did the excusions work for you? My father is bascially wheelchair bound. He can walk a few steps with a walker. We will be making a transatlantic cruise soon with stops in Lisbon, Madeira, Malaga, Nice, and Barcelona. Can you recommend any excursions?
Your transatlantic cruise sound taylor made for us (wife, an amputee - in a wc ).
Would you give me a hint what Line and from what US port, please.
The cruise including Ephesis, Pompei and Venice, mentioned above, scare me. I've been there on my own, years ago and all I remember is a lot of "mountains" and steps every where!
RCC has a transatlantic cruise from Miami to Barcelona...lots of days at sea and just some limited time in a few ports. Haven't been able to find any accessible excursions in those ports yet through the cruise line. We will probably have to hire a taxi and go out on our own.
You can go into the Blue Mosque but you must use their wheelchair. You leave yours outside and use theirs. The reason for this is that outside dirt from the wheels can not come on the carpets because they kneel directly on the carpets.