I have a friend who would like to take her husband of 25 years on a cruise. He is a quadriplegic so obviously has very special needs. Does anyone have any suggestions as to best cruise line or destination? I believe they will need a lift in room. Is that even possible on any cruise ship? He has been a Quad for over 40 years, and this is his one desire. They are an amazing couple and really deserve this. Hope someone has some ideas. I would greatly appreciate any advice. Also wondering if rooms which are handicapped equipped are quite higher in cost.
If you are talking about a hoyer-type life, yes in many cases you can have those in your room. You have to arrange for (and pay for) the rental of it, but it is possible on some cruise lines. Consult the special services dept. Also be sure to ask if they have platform beds. Many cruise lines do. Perhaps they can make an exception for you (and have an open frame bed), if you need a hoyer-type lift.
While it is important to know about any platform beds, in 30 years of cruising we have never had one in a ship's cabin. There is nearly always space under the beds, often used by the cabin steward to store quilts at night, or for suitcase storage. We just have to tell the cabin steward not to put anything under the bed so that we can use our lift.
We have a travel lift that we use just for travel (at home we have a ceiling track lift). It folds up quite small, and we take it on the plane, etc. In fact, when we board the ship we use it as a luggage cart for some of our carry-on luggage. The cruise line will not provide either a hospital bed or a lift, but you can rent these and have them delivered if you really need them from companies like CruiseVacations.
We also have a travel commode/shower chair. My mother is also tetraplegic (due to MS) and cannot balance on a fold down shower seat, and bowel care is much easier this way than trying to just use the regular toilet (which can be of variable height and size.
If they want more information on some of this equipment, let me know. I am very familar with the different products available in both these categories.
I would recommend that for a first cruise they try to leave and return to a USA port, and minimize need to fly as part of the trip (if they can drive to the port, it makes it much easier to schleep along all the needed equipment).
The handicap accessible rooms are no more cost than any other cabin. The problem is that there are very few avaiable on any ship so they'll need to book far in advance if they want one. We have found that booking 6-8mos ahead works well for us. They will also need to make sure transportation is avalable from the airport to the port if they decide to fly. I've dealt a lot with this and would be more than willing to assist you/them with suggestions and/or referrals.
Also I strongly suggest bringing a powerstrip in their luggage. The ship's outlets are rated for 12-15 amps but nothing most people have will require that much current unless they plan to bring a quartz heater. The cruiselines don't want you to plug them in so they must stay out of sight when not in the room (pack them in the luggage every morning). The reason for the suggestion is that I like to recharge my powerchair every night and most cabins (including the handicap ones) only have one outlet in the room and one in the bathroom for a shaver, curling iron or hair dryer. If I use the outlet for the p-chair then I can't recharge my camera batteries or anything else. Just be cautious and knowledgeable about what you are plugging in and you won't have any problems. I've been doing it for years.
Celebrity Cruiselines' "Summit" - Alaska : 14 Days