My husband and I are considering a cruise to take our adult daughter, age 28 and her nurse on. Our daughter had an accident two years ago. She has been left totally wheelchair dependent. This would be our first trip since her accident and want it to be a positive, fun experience for her.
We would need to take a cruise that sails from Houston, Galveston or New Orleans. My guess is that we would not be able to do many if any of the shore excursions. So would hope for a ship with great views, perhaps entertainment, good food, etc.
Any recommendations or advise would be very much appreciated. This is all new for us and hope to avoid making too many errors. Thanks
I have cruised several times with my husband who is disabled (not completely wheelchair dependent but mostly in wheelchair). My advice would be to go to the Eastern or Southern Carib. I would avoid Mexico (western Carib.) as we have found it to be very difficult from an accessibility standpoint). Try to go to St. Thomas which actually has a fully wheelchair accessible excursion (Accessible adventures... they have a website). Most of the other of the ship's shore excursions are not wheelchair accessible. If you are able to transfer your daughter to a car... a taxi is a great option for excursions. Most are tour guides and will take you around (negotiate fee up front). The cruise line will usually give you an idea of reasonable fares.
If you are looking for a ship to stay on and not venture to shore too often, we had a lot of luck with Princess and Royal Caribbean (Golden/Grand Princess, and most of Royal's fleet have pool lifts). The Adventure class of ships on Royal have TONS of stuff to do and see. Yoou won't be bored if you are on the ship for the most part.
Finally, Royal Carib, Princess, and Carnival all have "special needs" or "access desks" that you can call in advance for ship information. Not much help on excursions though.
Hope this helps... if you have any other questions, please email me....
I would also comment that you are looking at needing two cabins. Few accessible cabins will sleep 3 and virtually none will sleep 4. I don't know of any that have accessible cabins that have adjoining cabins either. I am assuming your daughter and nurse could stay in the accessible cabin and you in your husband in a nearby non-accessible cabin.
Unless transfers are VERY difficult, I would recommend going ashore. My mother cannot walk at all, but we rarely skip a port. We take a power wheelchair for use on the ship and a manual chair for use ashore. This way we can transfer her to a cab, or easily get into places with 1-2 steps or areas without curb cuts. Many ports have sights or shops close enough to walk. Tender ports are also more iffy, and you have to be prepared to skip these if the water is rough.
Have you considered an Alaska cruise? You would have to fly some, but there are accessible tours in all the ports that you could all participate in fully. Flying is not fun, but it is do-able...we have flown all over the world and cruised in Europe, the South Pacific, Alaska and South America in addition to cruises leaving from where we live in Southern California.
In addition to Princess and RCCL, I can recommend HAL, Celebrity and Crystal cruises.
this is my first `cruise and i am in a wheelchair, my sister and i are going on carnavel valor on may 8th, 2005. we will be going with a group. i'm very nervous about all kinds of stuff, like doorways, bathrooms, and will keep her from stuff she would like to do.
DO NOT WORRY. AS LONG AS YOU HAVE BOOKED A WHEELCHAIR CABIN YOU
WILL BE FINE. THEY HAVE LARGE DOORS, LARGE BATHROOMS, WITH FOLD DOWN
SEATS IN THE SHOWER AND ALL THE NEW SHIP ARE ALMOST 100% ACCESSIBLE FOR WHEELCHAIRS. i HAVE BEEN ON 13 CRUISES IN A WHEELCHAIR AND THEY
ALL WERE GREAT WITH NO PROBLEMS. HAVE FUN, RELAX AND ENJOY A GREAT
WAY TO VACATION IN A WHEELCHAIR.
I'm booked on a cruise to Pacific side of South America in early Dec 04. How chair friendly are those ports? Will take a power chair. Will also take a manual if needed.I can still walk a little. Does anyone know how our luggage and food is loaded on the ships?
I would not even consider taking a power chair ashore in South America. There are few if any curb cuts, and many places you will need to ask locals to help you lift the chair up stairs, etc. Tender ports often will not allow you to go in the tender in a power chair. If you can transfer, a cab will be the only semi-accessible transportation most places (you are not going to find vans with lifts here), so you need a folding manual chair. Take one with big wheels too...those "travel" chairs are hell on wheels on cobblestones and brick such as you find in much of South America.
People were willing to help with the chair, and were friendly in the places we visited. Are you going to the northern countries (Peru, Bolivia, etc.) or the southern (Chile)? Overall people on our trip said that the southern trip was much better (and they felt safer) than the northern leg of this cruise.
Merry Christmas to all from aboard the RCCL's Symphony of The Seas heading back to Galveston, Texas for arrival tomorrow Dec.26th.
This was our first trip with my daughter who is totally handicapped. We have two cabins, one for my husband and I. The other for our daughter, her nurses aide, along with two children (the aides two boys).
Our daughter is in cabin 8550 which works well for Leah and her caregiver. She has enjoyed herself it seems. We will do this again for sure. It has been a great way to celebrate the holiday.
Our stops were Key West, Costa Maya Mexico (changed from Cayman's), and Cozuel. At each stop we were able to get off the ship and look around. In Costa Maya and Cozumel there were NO accessible tours for anyone needing a lift. However, if you can transfer to a taxi anyone would be fine. But we got to do a little something, and some shopping at each stop. I did not care for Costa Maya personally, would not bother getting off the ship if a stop is scheduled there.
Today heading back to Galveston is the worst seas any of the seasoned passengers or for that matter some of the crew have experienced. Many, many sea sick passengers and crew. My daughter and I are lucky however and are not in the least sick. The seas have been quite a sight to see today.
I'm so glad you had a great time, and that your daughter enjoyed the cruise. Now you are wheelchair "old timers"! The cruise that I had to stay onboard, at ports, because it was so painful to hike around convinced me that it was time for some help. I was very apprehensive the first time I took a w/c on a cruise, but it was wonderful to be mobile!!! I hope your daughter felt the same...............
We will be traveling on our first cruise ever April 10th from New Orleans on the Conquest. DH, kids....15, 13, 10 and 7 will be with us as well as our mother (82 ) which is in a wheelchair 90% of the time.
I am excited, but extremely nervous to be going somewhere far away with difficult circumstances. I can only say that Disneyworld two years ago wore us out and it took my mother 6 months to recover....we need time as a family and to relax. Any ideas of shore excursions...or even to get in a taxi or van and visit an area? Western Caribbean is where we will be. Nana lives with us and has for 10 years.....this is not her first cruise and what inspired us to set sail with her.
Any helpful hints for our gang of seven? We have booked rooms already and mom is set up with a handicapped modified room.
How about having your mother rent a scooter to use on board? You can rent one from CareVacations.com, or Scootaround.com, and it would give her more independence, and you wouldn't have to push a manual wheelchair over those acres of carpeting. You'd still need a folding manual chair for ports, but you could bring your own, or rent one of those, too. Whatever you rent would be waiting in your cabin for you, and you would leave it there when you leave, and the renting company will pick it up. She could practice at a supermarket or Walmart, where they have those little electric scooters to see how she'd do............. My Mom is 88 and loves those little carts! They allow all of us a lot more freedom. I take mine on cruises, and it's wonderful.
Have a great cruise!
Thanks for your thoughts....the days are counting down....I am so nervous and excited all at the same time. A side note....we have tried to go cruising before.....once in September of 2004, all the bags packed on the front porch waiting to go to the airport. Hurricane Frances was on its way and we ended up not going...totally last minute. Then we rebooked for November 2004, DH mom had relapsed with cancer in middle September. She ended up passing away two days prior to the cruise (Thanksgiving) we were going to take. So, as you can see traveling with four kids and grandma, we are holding promise but with our breath held. :-)
Will let you know how it all goes....hopefully, this time smoothly we sure need a nice vacation after some difficult times.
Thanks so much for your kind words....I will tell you, we have our fingers crossed. My mother (82) whom is traveling with us had pneumonia two weeks ago and is recovering from that. We are hopeful that she will continue to gain strength and enjoy the cruise.....
I also hope you and your family have a wonderfful cruise, Cathi! I'm sure you will have many happy memories from taking your Mom....my sister & I took my mom a few years ago, she just passed away last month, but we have many happy pictures & memories of that time.
Be sure to bring warm sweaters for you Mom....it gets pretty cold in some areas of the ship and we dont' need her getting sick again....
8/92 Mex. Riv. Commodore
9/98, 9/00, 9/02 & 7/04 Caribbean - Paradise
10/00, 08/05 Pac. Wtrs. Holiday, Monarch
04/06 Hawaii - Celebrity Summit
09/07 Alaska - Celebrity Summit
07/09 Western Caribbean RCCL Liberty of the Seas