If you have been reading my recent blog posts then you know that I recently returned from an 8 day Caribbean cruise. During this cruise I visited some amazingly beautiful places such as Puerto Rico, Turks & Caicos, Virgin Islands and St. Maarten/St. Martin. As a wheelchair user, traveling can often be a bit of a headache. Especially when visiting five different countries. Can you even imagine the stress of trying to haul a wheelchair from country to country?! Well, it was actually rather easy for me because we cruised. This was my fifth cruise and I have gone on so many because it’s just so easy and stress-free. If you are a wheelchair user and haven’t cruised yet, what are you waiting for? Here are 5 reasons why cruising is the best way to travel if you have wheels for legs:
1) No worries about the wheelchair getting damaged
Many wheelchair users that I’ve spoken to in the past are afraid to travel because they have heard so many horror stories about wheelchairs getting damaged during flight. However, I’ve flown quite a lot and luckily, there have only been two instances where my chair was damaged. Both times were very minor and the airline repaired the damages immediately. While I haven’t experienced any major catastrophe yet (knock on wood!), I still worry every time that something could happen during a flight. Since you can stay in your wheelchair throughout the entire cruise, there are no worries about damages. The only thing to worry about is if there will be chocolate molten cake at dinner that night.
2) You can see several different places/countries without having to transfer in and out of a plane
One of my least favorite parts of flying is getting on and off the plane. I feel like I’m just another piece of baggage that is getting tossed around between transferring to the aisle chair, then to the plane seat, then back to the aisle chair, and back to my wheelchair upon landing. Needless to say, it isn’t a very fun process for me. If I were to fly to 4-5 different countries in one trip, I would have to be put in the dreaded aisle chair and tossed around a bazillion times. But on a cruise I can visit multiple places without ever having to leave the comforts of my royal chair-iot.
3) Same voltage as the USA
As I have mentioned before in my post about travel tips for wheelchair users, one of the more stressful things about traveling to a new country for me is dealing with voltage issues. As a wheelchair user, electricity is crucial for me. Without it I literally can’t do anything. When I visited Germany, as soon as we plugged my chair into the wall (with the proper adapter) the charger blew up. Not only was this a travesty for me, but it managed to put out the power in our entire hotel. Since then, I’ve been kind of terrified every time that I attempt to charge my chair in a new country. On a cruise, or at least the ones that leave from the USA anyway, the voltage is the same as America – 110 volts. So even though you are in foreign countries, you can still easily charge your chair after a long day of rolling around the islands.
4) You don’t have to carry your own luggage and medical equipment
When I travel, I tend to take quite a bit of luggage and equipment with me. I usually take at least one piece of luggage, a shower chair, and sometimes a hoyer lift as well. Since I can’t really carry anything myself, whoever is traveling with me has the honor of being loaded down with all of my crap (sorry!). It’s an almost impossible task for one person to carry it all. But here’s some great news: on a cruise there are people to help you! As soon as you enter the port upon arrival, you can drop all of your luggage off at the door and then go park. They tag all of your luggage so that it (hopefully) won’t get lost and then it is delivered to your stateroom within a few hours.
5) Everything is conveniently in one place!
Imagine for a minute that you’re at the casino and you want to go to dinner in a little while and then see a broadway style show after that. In any city throughout the world you would have to call an accessible taxi to take you from place to place and it wouldn’t hardly be worth the trouble. However, on a cruise you can do all of this and more without ever having to leave the ship. You can just hop on the nearest elevator and be anywhere within a few minutes. There’s a broad variety of activities to constantly choose from and it’s a great feeling to know that you don’t have to worry about finding and paying for an accessible taxi every time that you want to go somewhere.
As you can see, cruising is a terrific option for any wheelchair users that are wishing to travel. It’s extremely convenient, accessible, and most importantly FUN! Are you ready to book your cruise vacation yet?
P.S: I am available to go if you’d like to take me! 😉