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Cruising for the Disabled – Part 4 Tips on What to Do When You Have Booked Your Cruise
If, after reading my previous articles on cruising for those who have disabilities, you have decided to book your first cruise, then you will be about to have a wonderful holiday. But once you have booked your cruise there are still a few things to do which will make the whole experience easier and more enjoyable:
1. As soon as you have booked your cruise, let the cruise line that you will need a table in the dining room which has wheelchair access. Most cruise lines have dedicated areas in the dining room which have extra room around the table to make it easy for those with mobility difficulties to access their dining table. If you ask in good time you can be pre-assigned a suitable table.
Once you are onboard your cruise ship it is a very sensible idea to go down to the restaurant you have been assigned to, and check out where your table is. If your table should be in an unsuitable area then this is an ideal opportunity to speak to the Maitre d’ and request a move. Try to do this as soon as you embark as there will be a great many people asking to move tables, and there will be more opportunities to do this if you are one of the first in the line. Your newsletter which will be in your cabin will tell you where to find the Maitre d’ but it is usually outside one of the restaurants.
2. If you need special assistance for embarkation or disembarkation, let the cruise line know in good time. Whether you bring your own wheelchair or request one, you will be given priority boarding. When you arrive at the cruise terminal for embarkation there will be lifts which will take you up to the check-in level, which is where you will get on the ship.
3. Check with your cruise line if they allow you to bring an electric scooter. If not then you will need to bring a normal wheelchair. If you don’t have one they can be hired locally and be ready for you when you arrive on the ship.
4. If you are going to bring a service animal with you then make sure it has had all the necessary vaccinations in good time and send copies of the relevant documents before you embark. If you intend taking your service dog ashore then you need to get the required permits from each country you will visit. You will also have to provide evidence that such a service dog is medical necessity. Don’t forget to take copies of all these documents on board your ship.
5. Most importantly – have a great time! I am sure you will.
Just as with any holiday it takes a bit of planning and a lot of preparation but I am sure you will find it worthwhile. So, ‘bon voyage’ and have a great trip!
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Page added on: 5 October 2009
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