My wife is also WC bound (amputee, left leg) since '99. Inspite, in the span of four years, we did seven cruises. In fact, this Oct, it will be our # 13. Here is what I can recommend:
It realy matters, 1- how well your mom can transfer from WC to taxi or bus, 2-what cruise line you pick and 3- the length and itinerary of the cruise.
Item 1 and 2 are connected. So far we found that Princess, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean are, indeed, most HP-user-friendly. This also needs a
qualification: the newer vessels have much better
HP accommodations then the ships built before '96. Example, more cabins with balcony and all around accessibility. All three lines are superb in helping HP passengers off and back on, either by ramp or even the tender.
Once your mom is at the pier - IF she can easily
transfer into the taxi or bus, both of you are well on the way to sightseeing. In our case, I look for a larger van-taxi, so the driver can store the WC in the back. Most islands, if you remember, have tiny taxis and hardly any room in the trunk. Sorry, I cannot tell you about other
cruise lines, ours were 9/Princess, 1/HAL-long time ago, 1/Celebrity and 1/RCI.
Now about item 3:
It will be easier for you to select an itinerary, since you are familiar with Caribbean.
I know the length matters to my wife, but we've managed cruises from 7 day to 15 (I use the laundry a lot!) In general, NONE of the islands are very accessible to HP's and there is where you step in and do the research. Wait 'till you get the "shore excursion" booklet fron the booked cruise line and figure out what would suit your mom. Then you have two choices, either you go on shore on your own, or sign up with the
tour office on the ship. Both of us, prefer to do our own thing - it is less expensive and we are more timeframe independent. Example: on our last cruise Celebrity Summit, 11 day, Ultimate Caribbean,stop - Aruba, we were off to a shopping
"spree" first, and then found a small 12 passenger bus to tour the island. The excellent tour - 2 hrs, $10.-pp. Summit, I believe, wanted
$24.-pp, for the same thing. Another - in Cozumel
we took a taxi to Chankanaab Nat'l Park, a great place to see, taxi $12.- rt and $10.-pp to enter the Park. To my knowledge, Princess has a special
deal with St Thomas, regarding specific tours for handicapped only, obviously with buses with lifts.
Lastly, wife and I do not mind staying on board
once or twice during the cruise stops, we like to have the ship all to ourselves and between you and I, there are planty of lounge chairs around the pool!
Tashy, if you have any questions, please, write.
Vladimir and Elfriede