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Thread: Advice on disabled cruising

  1. #1

    Advice on disabled cruising

    i have been told the p&0 and royal caribbean are the best when it comes to disabled cruising however i have heard horror storys about the bar prices, and tipping, on these ships.

    i was going to go with thomson and book an all incluisive package but they will only allow manual wheelchairs on there ships, not electric ones.

    Can anyone help

  2. #2
    Senior Member Stepheninleeds's Avatar
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    How can they prevent electric wheelchairs? They have to abide by the law too, do they not?
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    Stephen

  3. #3
    Senior Member andypandy's Avatar
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    The trouble is Stephen if they operate out of the UK then they dont have to abide by the DDA, but if I were the OP then I would certainly check this out further

  4. #4
    Senior Member sea queen's Avatar
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    Thomsons do apparently have some sort of a rule about powered wheelchairs as last year someone i know booked with them and then was told she couldn't take her powered wheelchair, can't remember all the details but she had to cancel the cruise.
    We use royal caribbean and yes the bar prices can be expensive and they also like pre-paid tipping! They are also more 'laid back' cruises in so much as on Formal nights many don't bother dressing up, but with P&O you would probably get a lot more fellow passengers dressing up and I believe some bars won't let you in on these nights if you haven't formal attire on -
    never cruised with a wheelchair user with P&O but have been on their ships with wheelchair users on.

    P&O encourage tipping but are not as strong on it as Royal Caribbean probably because they are an American company.
    However what you can rely on is that both of these companies will look after you very well as they do all their passengers.
    I have used Thomsons in the past but would just like to say there is no comparison between them and the other two. If I say boarding house or hotel it will give you some idea of the difference. Having said that we have enjoyed our cruises with thomsons but they are just not in the same league as the other two.
    Sea Queen

  5. #5
    Senior Member Stepheninleeds's Avatar
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    I knew someone would say that AP. But, if they are registered in the UK or do business in the UK, then do they not have to abide by our laws?

    I do not like this idea of forced tipping. It is an oxymoron. It is up to the individual who they tip & how much, & when. I think on something like a cruise ship, even in a restaurant, thee could be boxes placed where a person can put in what they wish. It can be done discreetly that way. There is no pressure.

    As to the formalwear, in a way I can understand that, but for some disabled people that is not always an option. I cannot wear shoes for instance. I am having some specially made for me, but they are not formal shoes, they are practical ones. I know that some people in wheelchairs cannot wear footwear at all. Also clothing can be an issue generally, & due to the way their body may contort or work formal clothing would not be an option.
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    Stephen

  6. #6
    Senior Member sea queen's Avatar
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    I am sure any cruise company would be ok with no footwear or even socks (black) on formal night for someone who had a disability, as for the formal wear it can just be a black suit, white shirt and dicky bow. For ladies just a long dress/skirt/trousers and sparkley top is fine, you don't have to be in full regalia. I always take a small selection of sparkley costume jewelry as well - I never take any expensive stuff.
    I wouldn't worry too much about the tipping either as many regular cruisers think it's not on for the cruise lines to dictate what/who to tip and many just give who/what they want at the end of the cruise. But --- just be aware that Royal caribbean will automatically add the money onto your cruise cost if you don't watch them --- as one irate gentleman found out on our Dubai to India cruise earlier this year. I can tell you he was NOT a happy bunny!!
    If the cruise companies paid the employees a better wage they wouldn't need the tipping to make up their wage (so other cruisers tell me) but then --- that would probably push up the cost of cruising! Can't win can we!
    Sea Queen

  7. #7
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    HI There, I am a regular disabled cruise passenger and my paartner is blind, I am also a specialist cruise travel agent who specialises in Cruise Holidays for disabled people. I have a business motto that Cruising is for everyone, indeed around 70% of my clientelle is disaled and I am constantly in contact with cruise lines arranging special needs assistance for clients and I am pleased to say I have never had to tell a client sorry I cannot find a cruise to suit your needs. So it is perfectly possible for disabled people to enjoy travelling on cruise ships. I argue that the majority of cruise ships are more accessible than many hotels ashore.

    I think the problem lies in many cases that high street travel agents are just not geared up for dealing with disabled travellers. They do not have the indepth knowledge or the regular contact with cruise lines special needs departments to fully assist disabled people get the best assistance for their needs. I always ensure I fully understand a clients requirements then I can find the right cruise for them and make sure they have a great holiday.

    Basil is correct in saying both P and O and Royal Caribbean do have some great ships that are very disabled friendly, others I woud reccomend are NCL who are probably the most forward thinking cruise line in terms of accessible feataures and assistance, and Cunard ships are always popular with disabled clients. The trouble with THomsons is that they have in Cruise Industry terms an aging fleet that was built in less enlightened times and they are rather hampered in what they can offer disabled clients in terms of accessibility. Having said that the majority of modern ships are being built with disabled travellers very much in mind.

    As for bar Prices reality is that the majority of cruise lines bar prices are about the same as hotel prices, I often send bar price lists to customers who ask this question and they are pleasantly surprised. Remember most cruise lines bar prices are in dollars. Bars on ships will add a gratuity as bar staff do not get a share of the general tips, but this is discretionary as is tipping generally. Yes many agents including myself will include the gratuities in their cruise price, this is so you do not have to a) carry cash on board. Ships are cashless environments so you will never use cash to pay for anything. b) Prepaid gratuities are shared by not just the customer facing staff but also by the hidden army of staff who go to making yoour cruise a great expereince such as chefs, plumbers, cleaners of the public areas etc too. So often people would forget to tip these folk and without them their cruise might be a very different expererience. c) If however you do not want to pre pay gratuities you can always ask your travel agent to remove the tips. You sshould always remember that like in a restaurant on land that charges a service charge you can always ask for it to be ammended or deducted if you receive poor service. I disagree with Sea Queen the vast majority of frequent cruise passengers actually comment that they prefer to pre pay their gratuities for the above reasons. But I always offer my clients the option to make the choice.

    Moving on to formalwear, those ships that do have dress codes on certain evenings will invariably be understanding of diosabled clients needs for comfort, but as I always say to clients o formal nights dress as you would for a special occaision and make adjustments that will be comfortable for you. My only advice on what not to combine a kilt with a wheelchair out on a windy deck. lol But there are cruiselines that operate a casual wear dresscode throughout the cruise, for example NCL.

    On my website I have a page that gives 10 top tips for disabled cruise travellers. http://www.silverservicecruises.co.u...isability.aspx

    I hope this heps.

  8. #8
    thanks for your help/reply's

    it was going to be a cruise for our silver wedding anniversary but i didnt want it to be spoiled because my wife had to push me around the ship or because we ended up with an enormous bar bill so i dont know what to do now

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    My best advice is to seek the advice of a Cruise travel specalist who specialises in accessible travel they can work with you to ensure your assistance needs are catered for. You are correct P and O, Royal Caribbean and most of the major lines have been phasing out the older ships in favoour of new ships that are more accessible to disabled people and given plenty of notice will be able to help you have a less stressful holiday. The lines with older ships for example Thomsons are not as accessible but you will find an accessible travel specialist will help you with this. If you have any questions please do feel free to contact me personally.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by basil brush View Post
    thanks for your help/reply's

    it was going to be a cruise for our silver wedding anniversary but i didnt want it to be spoiled because my wife had to push me around the ship or because we ended up with an enormous bar bill so i dont know what to do now
    On most ships the bar prices are roughly the same as a good standard hotel. I have bar price lists for some of the cruise lines and always happy to send them to clients so they can budget more accurately. On some ships there are drinks packages, ranging from a soft drinks package to all inclusive drinks packages. It is always worth asking your agent about this.

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