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Old June 14th, 2005, 06:37 PM
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Default Medical questions-1st timer

Can anyone give me a heads up to what to expect on the cruise with my disabled mother? It's her first time cruising in awhile and since she's become disabled.

1. How is the food for people that have Diabetes or Diverticalytis=no seeds! (sic)? Are there enough options to make them enjoy themselves? My mom is not real particular or a gourment type of person, she just wants to be able to find food she can eat.

2. How is VOS with people w/disabilities? Do people in wheelchairs (but can also walk some) get early embarking or disembarking on the ship? How about in the ports/tendors?

3. Will VOS allow me to bring in our own bottled water? Mom basically only drinks crystal light.

4. How is customs/immigration/embarking with someone who has to bring in needles? She has already faxed the ship w/her doctor's notes. Just don't want her medicine confiscated and get lost.

5. Are there enough chairs on deck that have shade?

6. How is the spa? Would love to treat her to a massage (she also has arthritis real bad-hence the wheelchair) but I heard they are ridiculous in price and they harass you to know end afterwards. Don't want to spoil the massage with a sales pitch from heck.

If you can give me any other suggestions, tips, etc for my mom, I would truly appreciate it. Even if it's bad. Maybe I can prevent some things from happening in the first place. I've put this on one or two other posts, but wanted to put it here in case someone has some more suggestions.

Thanks,
Dee
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old June 15th, 2005, 12:35 AM
KLD KLD is offline
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Default Re: Medical questions-1st timer

She will have a wide selection of foods. They can provide specific ADA calorie meals in the dining room with prior arrangements. When eating in the dining room, she should ask the waiter about any restrictions so he can make recommendations when ordering. You can also ask that the head waiter help with this. Of course she needs to understand her exchanges and pick appropriate foods when ordering or eating at the buffets. No diet police!

We have been on the VOS. You do get priority boarding with a wheelchair or other mobility device (entire party) but you need to get to the ship early (1100 AM or so) as you will have to get in line, and there is limited seating and shade. At ports with a dock, you get off when you want. The crew will assist her on the gangway if she chooses to walk, or help with the wheelchair up/down the gangway. It can be quite steep depending on tides. For tendering, wheelchair users usually have to go after the first rush of other passengers, and if it is rough, the officers may not allow her on the tender at all. Be prepared for this and plan for on-ship activities in case this occurs. On the VOS they have an elevator that will take the wheelchair down level with the tender, will lift the chair up about 8 inches, and then use a small steep ramp on the dock. Works pretty well if it is calm. Not every tender can take wheelchairs, so be sure to ask about times, etc. at the front desk the day before the tender port.

You can bring as much bottled water as you can carry. The ship provides free iced tea all day in the buffet area. All other soft drinks, etc. must be purchased. You will have a frig in your room, so if you want to make up Crystal Light daily for her to take with her, consider bringing an insulated mug too.

Any injectable drugs must be labeled with the original prescription label. It is good to bring a copy of the physician's prescription for the drug and needles. Always carry drugs in carry on (never check these), and it helps to volunteer in screening that you have needles so they can quickly do a hand check.

This varies with the time of day and weather. You will find tables with chairs under an overhang. Lunch is the most crowded time. Lounge chairs are more likely to be in the sun. There are places to sit other than just the pool-side though, and it varies if there is shade. If you are going to Mexico, she may prefer to sit inside by a large window in port as it can get pretty hot outside, even in the shade.

You will pay about $80-100 for a massage. Do what I did for my mother when surprising her with a manicure ($50 on Princess). I went to the spa and made the reservation the first day. I paid then, and included the tip. I included on the request that an additional tip would be provided after the service if my mother was NOT solicted to purchase products. I worked like a charm, and I did pay the additional tip when I picked her up (after confirming that she was not solicited).

Did you get an accessible cabin? They are very nice on the VOS. If not, try to get one. Otherwise she will have to step up into the bathroom, will have to get out of the wheelchair to get it through the door, and will have only a very small shower with no seat. If she needs to sit while showering, I recommend just using a deck chairs. Has worked well for us in the past.

Be aware that on the VOS the wheelchair seating in the show room is very poor....way in the back and to the sides with very poor sight lines. It also fills up quickly. If she can walk a step or two, she can then sit with you (you cannot sit in wheelchair seating) and see better. Even then, get to the show room early as the seat in the back fill up quickly, and it is a long walk with many steps to the front of the theater (stadium seating, essentially).

In the Windjammer buffet, it is difficult to navigate with a wheelchair. A couple of food stations are not wheelchair accessible, so you will need to plan to help her get some of this food. They are not very good about helping carry trays here for people in wheelchairs. We prefer to eat in the dining room for all 3 meals for this reason.

There is a pool lift on the VOS is she wants to swim or use the spa, but bear in mind it is often broken and you will have to get a crew member to help with its use.
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Old June 15th, 2005, 05:35 PM
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Default Re: Re: Medical questions-1st timer

Wow, KLD, Thanks a bunch. It makes me feel a lot better. My mom can still walk (thank God) but I notice it each time a see her how difficult it is becoming. I already have a copy of a Dr's note of which we faxed to RCCI already and will keep one with me for boarding. Told her to make up a mini history with all her doctor's info and keep meds in original container. She can put them in the Sun-Sat container on the ship. My TA got us one of the last Handicap rooms. I appreciate everything you wrote. I just want her to have a great time.
Have a great day!
DeeDee
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Old July 20th, 2005, 05:02 PM
Dr. U
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Default Re: Medical questions-1st timer

Greetings,
Just found "Cruisemates" & your concerns. I have served aboard most of the USA based cruiselines as Ships Physician. All of your questions are reasonable and all issues have been addressed before. Always notify your travel agent of any special needs & they will forward a formal notification to the Doctor/Medical staff aboard. Most lines truly go out of their way to help.
- Diverticulitis is NO problem for dietary.
- Take ALL her necessary medications-needles/syringes are no problem. Make sure all meds are labled correctly.
-ALL SPA services are ludicrously priced. Sorry. However, 98% of all staff is compassionate & caring-if worried, speak with spa staff beforehand.
-Embarkation/Disembarkation is no problem-again, coordinate through travel agent AND, just to "Cover the bases"-contact customer relations prior to sailing.
-Outside amenities are "First come-first served" and, "Saving seats" is discouraged. However, wait staff is understanding for special considerations.

Finally, remember it is a CRUISE SHIP with hundreds of healthy, mobile & excited passengers & crew. YOU & YOURS must accomidate to what 99.9% of the souls aboard have had designed for them-NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND. Again, most people & staff are more than willing to help out & accomidate. Give them a chance...remember that a warm ATTITUDE can bridge the often seemingly insurmountable!

P.S. Get a LARGE cabin.
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Old July 21st, 2005, 08:15 PM
KLD KLD is offline
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Default Re: Medical questions-1st timer

People with disabilities are usually healthy. They are not sick. They are very used to "accomodating themselves to ABs 24/7 day in and day out. Your comments are insensitive and typical of the vast majority of health care professionals who do not have the first idea of what it is to live every day with a disability.
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Old July 23rd, 2005, 02:56 AM
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Default Re: Medical questions-1st timer

To the OP - there is now Crystal Light to go........you just open it up and pour the powder into a bottle of water and voila! You have Crystal Light! You really need only bring a few bottles of water on board to accomodate your Mom's desire for it. Just make a few up and as she finishes one, refill it and mix it and put it in the fridge to chill.

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