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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 04-14-2003, 08:15 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: UK
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Hi All!

Hi All!

I'm thinking of going on a cruise some time this year or next. The Caribbean is where I would like to go as I've been there many times alone. This time I want to take my mother - my mum is Wheel chair bound and with this, I'm wondering what we are going to do with the Port of Calls TOURS! My boss who have been on many cruises says that she have seen many disabled ppl STAYING on board the ship! This is not what I would like my mum to have to do, so can you give me any ideas on what type of cruise I would be best looking in to? The parts of the W-I I've been to, just don't have any help for Wheel Chair users you see. But surely some must??!! Are there ports of calls that have buses, etc. for wheel chairs so we can tours? If so, on what Islands are the best for this? Even if we get to go on one or two tours together, that would be something!

Please help! Any info would be GRRREAT!
THANKS LOTS


tashy x
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 04-14-2003, 08:15 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: UK
Posts: 2
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Hi All!

Hi All!

I'm thinking of going on a cruise some time this year or next. The Caribbean is where I would like to go as I've been there many times alone. This time I want to take my mother - my mum is Wheel chair bound and with this, I'm wondering what we are going to do with the Port of Calls TOURS! My boss who have been on many cruises says that she have seen many disabled ppl STAYING on board the ship! This is not what I would like my mum to have to do, so can you give me any ideas on what type of cruise I would be best looking in to? The parts of the W-I I've been to, just don't have any help for Wheel Chair users you see. But surely some must??!! Are there ports of calls that have buses, etc. for wheel chairs so we can tours? If so, on what Islands are the best for this? Even if we get to go on one or two tours together, that would be something!

Please help! Any info would be GRRREAT!
THANKS LOTS


tashy x
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tashy x
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 04-16-2003, 02:55 PM
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My husband is confined to a wheelchair and shore excursions are a major problem. I know of no island in the Caribbean that have wheelchair lifts in any of their vans/buses. However, my husband is able to transfer into a car/van and we have toured many islands via local taxis. We prefer Celebrity however, Royal Carribean's newer ships are better equipped (pool lift, tender lifts,etc) than Celebrity. Also if you contact Royal Carribean's shore excursion dept directly they can usually arrange for a particular shore excursion for you. We went this route last Oct and took the 2 railway journey while in Panama. They arranged for a van to pick us up at the pier and take us to the railway station in Colon. At the station they carried my husband in his chair up steps to the boarding platform then onto the train. In Panama City he was able to wheel directly on and off the train on his own. We had a van with a private guide waiting for us in Panama city and followed the normal itinery for this excursion. It takes a lot of patience, phone calls and emails to get the cruise line to do this but if you're persistent you end up with a great shore excursion which may become the high light of your trip. Holland America also has special tenders for disabled but I have no experience with them. If you have any more questions you can email me directly
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Old 04-23-2003, 11:21 AM
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Location: Wexford, PA, USA
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Hi Tashy,
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.
Kind regards,
Vladimir and Elfriede
  #5 (permalink)  
Old 04-25-2003, 06:59 AM
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Tasha,

You mention your mom being "wheelchair bound" so I am assuming she's a full-time wheelchair user and not just using one to replace distance walking. I would suggest that you work with a travel agent who is a disabled travel specialist. They would be able to set up accessible tours in San Juan, St. Thomas and Grand Cayman if your mom is a full-time power chair or manual chair user who doesn't have the upper body strength to do a lateral transfer into a cab. If your mom uses a manual chair AND can do a lateral transfer, you can use cabs for transportation and/or tours.

For a full-time wheelchair user, I agree with the member who suggested Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Princess.

Because you used the term "mum", I'm assuming there's a good chance you're writing from the UK. There are a few disabled travel specialists in the US and a couple in the UK. I don't know if this is true, but I recently was told that the disabled travel specialists in the UK add very hefty fees. If I'm right and you're in the UK and you find that there are extremely high fees, I would suggest contacting a US specialist who can easily work with you "from this side of the pond." <g>

Connie
  #6 (permalink)  
Old 04-26-2003, 06:24 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2003
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Hi Connie,
Do you have list/website of those TA that are disabled specialists? I would be interested in contacting someone in regards to shore excursions/tours when we're crusing. Thanks
  #7 (permalink)  
Old 04-28-2003, 04:52 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: UK
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Hi All!

I just wanna say a BIG THANK YOU! to all that answered my message!

I've printed your answers although when I decide what route to take, I may come back and ask for some more advice

Thanks again
TASH.

tashy x
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tashy x
  #8 (permalink)  
Old 04-30-2003, 07:18 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 10
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Hi Ashleysmm,

You can find a listing of disabled travel specialists at http://www.access-able.com by looking for travel agents in their database. Some of the agents listed handle cruise bookings.

Note that each of the specialists I know either doesn't charge or charges minimally for handling shore tours for clients whom they have booked on cruises despite that setting up the tours are often time-consuming and noncommissionable. At the same time, most (if not all) either won't handle these types of details for someone who didn't book their cruise through them or will charge hefty fees. If you booked directly with a cruise line and have not yet made your final payment, you might want to have a specialist "pick up" your cruise booking from the cruise line. That way, they can be stay on top of the accessibility details for you, watch for any new pricing promotions which might come up *and* take care of the shore excursions for you.

Any way that you handle it... have a wonderful vacation!

Connie
  #9 (permalink)  
Old 04-30-2003, 02:52 PM
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Hi Connie,

Thanks for the info. I will do some investigating.
 
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