In part one of this two part series, we discussed how one of Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyer's clients Nancy and Shawn Watters, ABI Survivor who requires wheelchair accessibility, recently went on a vacation that they thoroughly enjoyed and upon return decided to send information and tips to those travelling with Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI).
The Watters went on a Caribbean cruise on the Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas, out of Fort Lauderdale.
Ports & Excursions
One of the differences between a cruise and another vacation is that with a cruise you get to visit various locations/ports. Each ship offers a variety of excursions that are available at each port and generally the excursions will specify if they are accessible or not.
In Nassau Nancy did the Atlantis excursion, Shawn decided not attend and according to Nancy this was a good thing. Unfortunately this tour was not accessible. Not only were their steps to get down onto the beach, there was a hedge running along the paved path which completely obscured the view so Shawn wouldn't have even been able to watch his children play in the water from there.
St. Thomas and St. Maarten
At both locations Nancy and Shawn were able to enjoy the port areas, both were very beautiful. St. Maarten offers a water taxi that you can take to the nearby beach area or you have the option of walking to it, which takes around 20 minutes. The sidewalks are a bit bumpy but definitely manageable with a power wheelchair.
Days at sea are great for enjoying the ship and weather, if swimming is something you are interested in most ships offer lifts for the pool and hot tubs.
SCI Travel Tip #2: If you require assistance using the pool/hot tub lifts do not hesitate to ask any staff member, as they will assist you with this.
During their vacation the Watters experienced some issues with the back wheels on Shawn's chair. They contacted the front desk who sent staff to their room to pick it up to look at it. They did offer a transport chair to use in the interim, however, Shawn was unable to use it because there wasn't enough support. The chair ended up needing a new part and the staff were able to locate the required part and fix the chair. The ship didn't charge the Watters for anything.
Disembarkation was similar to embarkation, very quick and smooth. The Watters were escorted to a special courtesy desk and were able to meet up with the rest of their travel group within 20 minutes.
SCI Travel Tip #3: If possible, choose a very early time to disembark the ship, as this can be a timely process due to customs, volume of passengers, staff cutbacks etc.
Overall the Watters had a fantastic vacation, one which they said they would "do again and again." At Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers we really appreciate positive stories like this one. Traveling with SCI is different; however, companies such as Royal Caribbean are making it more possible.
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