Just found this site and am looking for your input.
We (DH and i) will be taking our 2nd cruise in 01/15/06 aboard the Mariner of the Sea, we have a handicap room on level 7. My husband is a C-4 quad confinded to an electric w/c.
I am not worried about the ship and getting around because we adapt well and don't let many things stand in our way. What I would like info on is transportion to and from the ship. We plan to fly into Orlando and the ship docks in Port Canaveral. We would like to fly in a day early since it will be winter and we do not want to get delayed. We need to find a van with a lift to take us to a hotel near the port and then another one to the port in the morning. Then again back to Orlando with no hotel stay at the end of the trip.
other advise I need is about the ports. last cruise we drove, so we took an manual chair with us and used it in ports where we need tenders. This time since we are flying we will not bring a manual chair. Are they availble on ships?
On our Costa cruise I had to transfer my DH to a manual chair then the crew carried the power chair off the ship and I transfered DH back to power chair and off we went.
On the private island stay, i put Dh in manual chair and they put him on the tender and we used the manual chair until we got to the beach where our friends carried him on a beach chair out to the beach. Where he sat fully clothed in the shade sipping a cool drink watching us all ride banana boats. He had a great time.
Our problem with the Costa cruise was that they had 3 step to get off the ship. The crew where very helpful and they convinced they could carry my DH off the ship in his chair until they tryed to lift it. Even after I transfered him out of the chair it was still very heavy. But until they make it easier for us, I guess lifting is something they will have to do.
Any help you can give me will be welcome. Thanks
I think you are making a big mistake planning to leave your manual chair behind. In my experience most ships will not lift a power chair onto a tender, so you would be restricted to the ship for any tender ports. In addition, you are not going to find curb cuts, ramps, or other accessible features ashore, so even at dock ports you will be very restricted where you can go with a power chair. Lift-equipped vans are virtually unknown, so if you cannot transfer to a cab and put a folding manual chair in the back, you are limited to the area around the pier. In addition, as you know, power chairs can break down, and with no back-up you would be reduced to having no chair, or trying to use the totally crappy on-board emergency chairs only. You may not be able to take these off the ship, and may have to share with another passenger. Of course you could rent a manual chair, but this may not fit him either, and it seems a waste of money if you have a perfectly good manual chair at home that actually fits him. There is no extra charge for taking your manual chair on the plane (gate check it with the power chair). We use ours as a luggage cart to get to the gate with all our carry ons and this works out well.
Keep in mind that if either the cruise ship or the hotel offers shuttle service to the ship for ABs, they must provide accessible transportation at the same rates for those who need it. I would check with NCL and your hotel about shuttles (don't tell them you are inquiring about accessible shuttles until you find out about the regular ones). If they do not provide it, you can check with one of the local companies about availability:
Address......324 W Gore St.
Town and Country Coaches
Address......PO Box 22096
City.........Lake Buena Vista
Did you book this through RCC yourselves or through a TA? If you used a TA, I would make them do the footwork, but if not, or if you would just prefer to do it yourself, contact Royal Caibbean's Access Dept at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-722-5472 ext. 34492. I can tell you they've been very responsive to my needs, and they should be able to help. Also, if you booked your flight and room in the hotel through RCC (they may help even if you didn't book through them.... wouldn't hurt to ask) they informed us that they will coordinate transportation to and from the ship (including the hotel). I haven't DONE this myself, I'm only telling you what they told us, so hopefully it's all true. I would agree that it would be wise to take an extra wheelchair. If I could transfer easily I'd have one, that's for sure. Ok, well, hope this helps!