help me plan a first cruise for me and my grandma?
Hi everybody !! I'm planning to give my 86 yo grandma a cruise this year (just me and her) and I need some direction on what kind of trip to plan considering her limited mobility. Neither one of us has been on a cruise before so I'm sure it'll be a great adventure no matter what.
Although she can stand and walk short distances without much trouble, she really needs to sit most of the time, and this is probably the biggest consideration for the entire trip. Because of this limitation our priorities are...
1) Good views from the ship as we won't be getting off for sight seeing
2) A ship made for easy access for wheel chairs
3) Good weather
4) A cruise in the Western hemisphere, excluding S. America
5) Something in the 3-6 day cruise range
Those are about it really. She's really not so much outgoing so I doubt she'd want to participate in too many of the planned boat activities.
From my research so far, depending on our budget, personally I'd like to get a room with a great sea side view.
Thats all for now. Thanks for your time, I'm all ears.
PS. Any links to cruise FAQs would be greatly appreciated.
i think that is just wonderful, your grandma is a lucky lady. Where are you thinking of departing from? You mentioned 3-6 day cruise, i would totally skip the 3 day all together those tend to be the party cruises. You also mentioned a Western route, i love the western caribbean route, but the ports on a western route are geared for a more active cruisers- snorkeling with sting rays, climbing waterfalls, touring Mayan Ruins just to name a few, but thats the beauty of a cruise you can do a whole lot or do a whole lot of nothing, there are plenty of beautiful beaches on a western route where you and Grandma could just relax and take in the sites. I think that Princess is a really good choice for you, you might want to consider a smaller ship like the Sea, Sun or Dawn Princess. We have sailed on the Sea Princess and the Golden Princess, the Golden is a larger ship, but she is big but with a small ship feel. hope this helped you some
You don't say where you live, if you prefer to drive to the ship or if you have to fly. I've only cruised from the East Coast to Bermuda and the Caribbean. It seems that the shorter cruises on Princess are from the west coast, if that interests you. Some of the other cruise lines have short cruises to the Bahamas and Caribbean from Florida. One possibility for you (not Princess, sorry to say) would be a smaller ship on Carnival or Royal Caribbean to the Bahamas or Western Caribbean for 4 or 5 days. We did a 5-day to the western Caribbean on the Carnival Imagination, and it was very nice. It was not the party atmosphere we expected, and there were a wide variety of ages on board, young and old. However, if you think Grandma could make it through a 7-day, Princess is the better choice.
If you plan on staying on the ship, then pretty much any itinerary would be fine. An outside or balcony cabin somewhere in the middle of the ship would be best so Grandma can easily enjoy the sites. Check on line for prices - there are lots of deals around if you look. Lots of variables go into pricing - time of year, length of cruise, cabin category, etc.
Weather is hard to predict, but we've always had good luck with weather in the Caribbean during the summer, although it can be very hot. There is always the risk of hurricanes, later in the summer and into the fall.
All the major lines are handicapped accessible, so that shouldn't be a problem. It's a good idea when you book to let the cruise line know of Grandma's special needs. There are handicapped accessible cabins - if she needs one, you should book one as soon as possible because there are a limited number on some ships.
Do a google search for "senior cruising"; you will find a wealth of info out there. Good luck.
As others have mentioned we're not sure where you live and how far you would be willing and able to travel to get to the ship. For pure spectacular scenic beauty with never having to leave the ship, I suggest a round trip to/from Vancouver to the Alaskan inside passage. Again, that's 7 days on the ship. I'm not even sure if Princess does round trips from Vancouver so you might want to check other lines as well. Grandma can pull up a chair inside or out and watch as you sail by the beauty. And as I'm sure you can tell by watching the Olympics....Vancouver's an awsome city if you have time before or after the cruise to hang around.
The 3-6 days will get you to the Caribbean, with a younger set onboard, which may not be the best for your Grandmother.Go to 7 days and your choices multiply. A balcony cabin, will allow her the ability to go outside and enjoy the views. Getting a handicappped cabin is really your best best, if it fits in your budget. All the ships make it easy im most cases to get around. The Caribbean will also get you the most consistent weather...Usually if it rains, it's for a short time.
If by chance you do get off the ship, in many ports there is shopping close by..keep in mind if San Juan is on your itinerary, the streets are cobblestone..although in this port there is really not much close to the pier, and the cobblestones are futher up in old town...
Finally, I would arrange for your own wheelchair rental, and keep the chair in your room at night. Since there is a limited amount of chairs onboard...doing it this way, you know she will always have hers. I know someone, who kept the chair outside the cabin door, and boom it was gone! I hope you come back and let us know what you have decided...
Your Grandmother has a very nice Grandson:-).
Trip, with her book & tea!
Chat Hostess & Board Moderator
So wonderful. I cruised with an 80 year old aunt a couple of years ago. And I have had mobility problem when traveling. And what everyone says is right. You will have a great time. Have you considered. Renting one of those scooters. I did one time and it worked out great. It had a basket and we could shop and hang bags off the back. Navigating the ship and elevators was a piece of cake. It's worth checking into. It would give her so much freedom and she can get out of it whenever she likes.
Have a cruise to remember.
Next Cruise - Grand Princess may 2013 Alaska
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A scooter would be a lifesaver for your Grandmother. It's not uncommon to see scooters on a cruise ship. As the previous poster (Carol) said, navigating one around the ship is a breeze. How exciting to be planning your first cruise....and with someone so special. Happy cruising!