Travel Made Easy: Big ship cruising, Part 2

If you’ve never taken an ocean cruise, let’s address the elephant in the room — seasickness. I’m one of those lucky people who doesn't get seasick. My husband is not so lucky. He found that a product called “seabands” purchased at a local pharmacy does the trick for him. For Tony, this is better than taking drugs or wearing patches. Following the packaged instructions, he places the bands on his wrist at a particular acupressure point and any feeling of seasickness goes away.  If the concern about seasickness still makes you wary, consider sticking to land-based vacations.

You’ve decided to cruise, where you want to go, which cruise line works best for you and now the details for your time on the ship.

Cabin location: For the mobility challenged traveler, I recommend a cabin close to elevators. No, you really don’t hear the people coming and going from the elevators (with very few exceptions for very noisy people). After a busy day of cruising, you will be happy to have the short walk back to your cabin instead of facing a long hallway.

Next detail, Cabins: Cabins sizes can vary from around 160 square feet to 300+ square feet. Picking the type of cabin depends on your personal preferences and finances. An interior cabin with no windows will be less expensive than a verandah cabin. Since seeing the ocean is a big part of the cruise, I prefer verandah cabins. If I don’t want to go up on deck to watch the ship's departure, I can have everything in front of me on the verandah.

Once you pick the location and type of the cabin, there are other considerations. Inside the cabin, check to that the cabin has a tub or shower. Most ships have showers stalls but a few ships still have the tub/shower combo and may not have the bars to assist entering and exiting the tub. Ask. While on the subject of bathrooms, all of the cabins bathrooms I have seen have a step up into the bathroom. Consider whether you can handle a step into/out of the bathroom. If you cannot, request a handicapped cabin which will a have a floor level entrance to get into the bathroom, and an accessible toilet and shower. There is no extra charge for handicapped cabins but some cruise lines will request a medical form to be filled out and submitted.

Shore excursions: For first-time cruisers, this is the trip you take when a ship arrives in port. Once you have signed up for the cruise, you will receive information on the excursions available for your departure based on the ports you will visit. First, check to see which ports will be docked and which will be tendered. Cruise confirmations or websites will usually list which ports are docked or tendered. If you are a person who has opted to use a scooter on the cruise, you cannot take the scooter on a tender boat. The shore excursion description will also have some kind of symbol to indicate the degree of physical difficulty of the excursion. If you still have a question as to the physical difficulty of an excursion, do not book the excursion until you board the ship and have a conversation with the Shore Excursion Desk. If you are going to that bucket list place and you can’t find the excursion that allows you to see the place of your dreams, talk to the shore excursion people or your travel agent because you may be able to set up a private (meaning more expensive) excursion that can accommodate your needs.

Travel Tip: For the mobility challenged, cruising is a great vacation option. For the larger ships (3,000-plus passengers) decide in advance if you will need a mobility scooter while on the ship. Scooters can be delivered right to the ship.

 

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About Kate DeLosso

Kate DeLosso is a travel professional with over 20 years of experience traveling the world on land and by ship, visiting over 30 countries with an emphasis on travel in Asia. Kate DeLosso Travel is a home based travel agency that helps individual travelers and groups explore the US, Europe and Asia. A number of years ago, Kate had stroke and had to re-learn how to walk, type and drive a car. With a mobility handicap, she became aware that travel was “different” for people with physical challenges. One of her missions has become to share the knowledge accumulated after 20 years of traveling the world as a mobility challenged person. Kate DeLosso is a Certified Travel Counselor, Special Interest Travel Specialist and an Accredited Cruise Counselor and founder of Kate DeLosso Travel. She has lived and worked in Chadds Ford since 1999.

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