My family is taking our first cruise on the Explorer next June. I have had 3 back surgeries and am disabled from working. I can walk, but not long distances. Does anyone know if wheelchairs are available on the ship and how you would go about making sure you have one available at all times if they have them? I know by looking at the size of the ship I would not be able to walk to dinner or even the elevators. Our room is towards the back of the ship so I know a lot of walking will be involved. I did not request a disabled room as I can get around fine for short distances and figured someone would need it worse than me. If anyone has any info about the wheelchairs I would be grateful for your help. Thanks very much!
Have your TA check with RCI directly. I don't think that the ships have a supply of wheelchairs that they lend out for the week. I do know that they have a couple that they use for people that for some reason or another become injured during the cruise, but I really don't think they have 'loaners' for the general use available. I know I could have used one the last few days onboard the Explorer and all the next week onboard the Triumph but didn't see it happening.
The cruise ships usually have a few wheelchairs aboard for emergency use. If you inquire they will tell you to take your own aboard if you know you are going to need to use one every day. I would however recommend you do two things. First try to get a handicap room. These rooms are wonderful and can easily accomodate a wheelchair. Second I recommend you make arrangements to have a motorized scooter waiting for you. The easily fit into the handicap rooms and will make your cruise so much more enjoyable. I know because my husband has arthritis in both knees and hips. Although he can walk short distances there is no way he can enjoy a ship let alone one as big as Explorer/Voyager. However the scooter makes all the difference in the world. He could go anywhere anytime with or without me. (he kept sneaking to the Cafe Promenade for cookies) He could drive the scooter to the dining room, casino, lounge etc. Park it outside and walk in. It is well worth the small amount of money to rent it. You can arrange for it to be at the ship when you arrive. As for the handicap cabin the scooter easily fits inside with walking around room. If you want info on where to make arrangements just ask. Have a wonderful cruise!
I have MS and have trouble walking or standing for long periods of time. Our cruise on the Voyager (which is the sister ship to the Explorer) and had the handicaped room. It was wonderful and very accessable. I brought my own skooter with me and had no problem getting anywhere on the ship. It was wonderful and sure made my cruise a lot more enjoyable. The wheelchairs that are onboard are not ment to be used by someone all day but more for emergencies and they will certainly let you know this. If I were you and knew that I would need one sometime during my cruise I would also arrange to rent either a coaspable wheelchair or a skooter. You can usually get them at any medical suppy store. Also there is a forum that you can go to on Cruise Mates that deals with handicaped situations. No they don't have to be permenant situations but sometimes a broken leg and such too. They can probably tell you exactly where to rent in Miami and such too. I'd like to say that the ship, crew, and even the cruisers couldn't do enough to accommodate me and my skooter. I wouldn't hesitate if I were you because no one can enjoy a cruise when they are in pain. Feel free to email me directly if you have anymore that I can help with.
Thanks so much for all the information from everyone. I will e-mail Royal Caribbean directly and see if they have information on where I can rent a wheelchair in Miami and have it waiting for me. I hadn't thought about the motorized one, that's a great idea. My husband is 47 and in great shape, but I'm sure anyone would poop out pushing someone long distances in a wheelchair. I don't want to spoil his cruise for him either. Thanks so much again, and if I can't find the information I need, I may be e-mailing you Barbara. Jan