Thursday, 6 May 2010

Independence of the Seas for the disabled

As blogger seems to be well searched by Google, I have added this entry for other disabled people conteplating a cruise on Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas. I hope the information is useful for any disabled passenger as well as anyone specifically with MND Motor Neurone Disease ALS. Getting on and off the ship was easy enough, although depending on tides, it could be quite steep, but help was always on hand.

Getting around the ship was no problem. Automatic doors almost everywhere with the exception of deck 13 going to sports deck. The corridors down to the cabins are wide and wider still outside disabled cabins allowing the biggest chair or scooter to turn in. The door into the room is heavy with no automatic opener which means wheelchair users will need assistance. The disabled cabins are very spacious with room for wheelchair and hoist without them getting in the way. The shower room / toilet is also a good size but toilet and shower seat are small so getting on them with hoist sling on is tricky and if, like me you have body core weakness, they are not the easiest to sit on. There is also a small ridge on the door threshold making it hard to wheel a hoist in. The bed is comfortable, but although a large double, it is comprised of two singles so you can't sleep in the middle for extra security. There are both 110v US and 230v European sockets. There are alarm buttons in bedroom and bathroom but if your arms are as weak as mine they are unusable.

Lifts are big, easily accommodating 2 wheelchairs. Call buttons are well positioned and pressable with nose or forehead, but wheelchair users might struggle with buttons inside as they are positioned in the corner on either side of door (see blog for how I managed ).

Access around the dining areas was good, however my only real complaint with the ship was height of the buffet food selection. From a wheelchair it is difficult to see much of the food and the labels were high up making them difficult to read. For MND sufferers with eating difficulties, not being able to see the consistency of food is a real pain.

Finally, wheelchair spaces in the main theatre and ice rink are limited and with the relatively high number of disabled passengers, you need to get there early - upto an hour for ice shows and more popular theatre productions, but they are worth the wait.

Despite some of the issues, I think for disabled people cruises are a supurb holiday option, particularly if you can depart from and return to your own country. please read the preceding blog entries for more info on our holiday.

No comments: