Brilliance of the Seas Cruise Review by sheila512: Cruising the Mediterranean with a Mobility Disability
Overall Member Rating
Cruising the Mediterranean with a Mobility Disability
Destination: Europe - Western Mediterranean
In planning a cruise for someone with a movement disorder, I purposely sought a travel agent who had experience with travelers with disabilities, or so I thought. I also had many contacts with RCI online to assure information about taking the scooter and using it on excursions.
Let me first say that I had never spoken with anyone who traveled to Europe with a medical scooter, just a wheel chair. This was not an option as my husband has Parkinsons Disease and is too large for me to push, and he can not move himself manually. A power wheel chair would have probably been a better choice, as it is more stable.
Using the scooter on the ship was a wonderful experience. We got around easily and except for the humanity that would never move over for us to pass, we got around just fine, including in the dining room, the cafe and the movie theatre.
Our handicapped accessible cabin was large enough to keep the scooter inside and have a party. I have never seen a More larger cabin for an inside stateroom at this level. It had an automatic door and a very large bathroom with accessible shower. Our room stewardess was very accommodating.
We dined about equally in the dining room and the Windjammer Cafe..due to the fact that my husband never wanted to change into long pants for dinner, but that was our personal preference. The food in the Windjammer exceeded out expectations and the food in the dining room was below our expectations.
All ship services were great and although we did not participate in much, we enjoyed people watching and sitting on the deck. I fell in Florence and when I got back to the ship the medical services were not available and the room stewardess was off, so I went to the Windjammer Cafe and asked for ice. the gentleman there made me two great ice packs out of garbage bags...he went well above and beyond and my injuries healed quite fast.
As far as the excursions are concerned, this is were we had a breakdown. I strongly suggest that a notation be made that excludes medical scooters on excursions . While they are fine for even surfaces, they do not ride well on cobblestone and uneven pavement and are actually flimsy, compared to a wheel chair. We were not able to go to some places, due to the lack of available excursions to that particular area.
Some of the tour guides were quite insensitive to our needs and had to be reminded not to leave us on the bus and walk away when our equipment is under the bus and has to be taken out! At one point in Athens when I asked the tour guide where I could get onto the sidewalk where she had gone, she replied " Walk in the street and meet us there." This is not acceptable.
Our hotel in Barcelona was terrible for us. That was the travel agent's fault as she did not research if there were handrails and a ramp, not to mention a tub too high for even me to step into. The Hotel Dante was lovely, but very overpriced and not at all suitable for a disabled person.
We had a wonderful transfer company..Barcelona Day Tours, and they also took us on a 4 hour tour of Barcelona in a van. They picked us up in a van each time so I would not have to disassemble the scooter.
All in all we had a good time. I now know that traveling with disabilities means you must read between the lines and try and get in contact with others in your circumstances that have taken the trip you want. I reiterate, a medical scooter is NOT appropriate for land excursions, especially on uneven cobblestone or sand. ( One of the ship agents tried to get us to go to the beach as there would be no walking!)
Be realistic and don't bite off more than you can chew! Less
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