Old 03-10-2011, 03:11 AM #1 (permalink)
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Default Anyone been on a cruise?

Hi - My fiance and I are looking for a fun trip to go on and now that he has ALS we thought a cruise might be the way to see the Caribbean. Have any of you done this with your ALS diagnosis or with someone who has ALS? Just curious before we spend the $$$.
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Old 03-10-2011, 07:38 AM #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Anyone been on a cruise?

Hi

I went on a cruise a couple of years after my diagnosis. I was pretty mobile. It was on a small boat and involved a lot of getting in and out of a small dinghy. I have never been on a big cruise boat but I know that sometimes even the big boats will use launches.

You mentioned that your boyfriend uses a cane to walk. I wonder if it might be stressful disembarking and embarking with all the other passengers at each port.

Might be more enjoyable and less stressful to pick a resort at one location and just relax by the beach in a recliner- watch the waves roll in.

From California, Mexico would be the best value- Los Cabos and Riviera Maya have some beautiful resorts.

But maybe the best option is Hawaii. You will be able to find a cheap package from California once Spring Break is over. Plus you'll still be in the US and have access to reliable and safe health care, which might not be the case in many Caribbean countries.

Good luck!
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Old 03-10-2011, 10:44 AM #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Anyone been on a cruise?

Thank you for your reply!
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Old 03-10-2011, 10:56 AM #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Anyone been on a cruise?

I was meaning to post about this, but hadn't gotten to it.
My family and I went on a cruise last month and it was a great experience. I'm pretty much wheelchair bound now and we were looking to do a family trip that did not involve flying so I could take my PWC, so we booked a cruise out of NYC for Florida and the Bahamas. The handicap stateroom had a nice big bathroom with plenty of grab bars and a balcony I could get the PWC on to. I can stand to transfer, but that's about it, and I'm tall, so I had some trouble getting off the built in shower chair and the toilet, but not horrible. No trouble getting around the ship or in the restaurants. Two of the three stops had piers, so no trouble getting off the boat there. The other stop used tenders, transfer boats, and was not setup for wheelchairs, but I knew that going in, so w sent the kids off on their own that day.
Sounds like your PALS is in better shape than I am, so I wouldn't think you would have any problem, and you can pick shore excursions to fit you abilities. It is a good way to see a bunch of places. I think you'd have a blast, and there are some good deals out there.
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Old 03-10-2011, 04:00 PM #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Anyone been on a cruise?

tande-
We have been on several cruises, the last in 2009 to the Caribbean after my husband was diagnosed in 2008. At that time, he was where I think your fiance is now (according to your post on other thread).

He was using a cane & AFO's, had a walker at home (but didn't take it out of the house). Walking was becoming more difficult & tiring for him, but he "wasn't ready" for a wheelchair- even a manual one. Consequently, he was staying home more. Not good.

We flew to Florida from Philadelphia, no problem then with that. (a little different now)
We arranged to have a manual wheelchair to use on the ship- I thought this would be a way to ease him into the idea of using a chair. (this is offered by most cruise lines)

I would not use a manual w/c though- most places it was easy to manuveur, but in the hallways (which are LONG) it was difficult to push due to carpet. Now, the crew are accommodating & will help when they see you but that is not all the time. And, it made my husband feel "handicapped & old".

Instead, make arrangements for a scooter (again, most lines offer this). Also, definitely book a wheelchair accessible room/cabin. Even if he is fine in your bathroom now, it would be helpful to have the seat in the shower as well as grabbars.
Even with calm seas, there is a slight rocking of the ship (everyone adjusts after the 1st day), but for someone with balance issues, this could be a problem. Better to be safe than sorry.

As Tom says, you can find out which outings you can manage. I personally like the days when the ship is docked & many are off. The pool area is not crowded, it is quiet & restful!

I would suggest if the ship leaves from Florida- and you fly there from CA?- to fly at least the day before the cruise sails, and stay overnight. I would think the flight alone would be tiring, and the day of boarding has a lot of excitement & activity.

Another possibility would be a cruise leaving from the West Coast. As rcharlton said, Cabos & the Mexican Riviera would be nice and I think there are many cruises offering that itinerary.

And, Tom, thanks for your comments. We just booked a cruise for May; will leave from north Jersey for the same reason as you- we will drive & take Jim's PWC.
Even though we have an accessible cabin, I had been debating taking a wheeled combo shower-commode chair with us. Will definitely give the loan closet a call & add that to our "carry-on luggage"!
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Old 04-04-2011, 01:02 PM #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Anyone been on a cruise?

Thank you everyone about sharing your "cruise" experiences and advice. We decided to go to Hawaii last week in May and stay at the Ritz and have a Honeymoon even though we are not yet married. We are both thinking this will be our last time to get away thus the splurging. It is so bittersweet being engaged to the man of my dreams who now has this horrible disease. I am glad to have this community to go to when I'm feeling down. Thanks.
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Old 04-05-2011, 01:14 PM #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Anyone been on a cruise?

The Ritz, eh? Well ooh la la!

Have a great trip!
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