My husband and I intently read your Weekend Cruising article in The Miami Herald on Sunday, June 1, 2008. The article is great, however I feel that you should be aware of a very important fact, often overlooked until it pertains to the party involved.
My husband is handicapped due to a stroke he suffered almost twelve years ago and currently receives dialysis. He is paralyzed on his right side and uses a cane to walk short distances. Steps are difficult for him, especially in unfamiliar places. With his limitations, we must have an accessible room, primarily for the bathroom facilities whether on a cruise or in a hotel.
With that said, we have explored weekend cruises from Miami and/or Fort Lauderdale, as he can have his treatment Friday morning, leave on a cruise and return Monday, to return for dialysis. For us a four night cruise is not an option. The three night is perfect for us.
My husband and I have cruised extensively over the years and never realized the difficulties for handicapped individuals until we needed a handicapped accessible cabin. Most ships for the particular weekend (3 day) cruises only have inside cabins that are for passengers with disabilities - if you want an outside cabin with a balcony - they are non-existent. Not even the suites including mini/junior etc. have walk-in showers.
Please be aware of the following:
• Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas has two Superior Oceanview cabins that are accessible, but none with a balcony, as previously noted. We have sailed on this ship.
• Norwegian Cruise Line’s Sky does not even have an accessible outside cabin. Please note, they just introduced this ship here after being refurbished.
• Imperial Majesty has no outside cabins that are accessible.
It truly is a shame that many in the travel industry feel that travelers needing handicap accessible rooms should be satisfied with the lowest cost room available. I would encourage them to travel with a special needs person to understand our frustration at times.
I can appreciate her situation. I never realized how difficult it might be to travel or even shop with someone with limitations until my aging mother began spending much of her time in a wheelchair.
Do cruise ships do enough for passengers with disabilities? Have you had an experience, good or bad, traveling with someone with disabilities? Please let us know about it by commenting here.