A Guide for First-Time Cruisers with Special Needs
You’ve finally made the decision to go on your first cruise. Congratulations! Cruising can be a wonderful way to see the world, especially for travelers with limited mobility, special needs, or who are slow walkers.
As a first-time cruiser with special needs, you can accomplish a lot during the planning process that will make your trip easier and more enjoyable. Following are a few tips to ensure smooth sailing:
· We can’t stress it enough: Preparation is key! You may be surprised how far in advance you’ll need to book your cruise in order to secure the exact stateroom, destination and dates you desire. It’s not too early to start looking (or even booking) now.
· Consider using a travel agent who is an SNG Certified Accessible Travel AdvocateTM. Agents who have achieved this certification have the knowledge and skills to eliminate many planning hassles, and help you with any questions and/or concerns that you may have.
· Become well-acquainted with your ship. Many cruise lines provide virtual tours of their ships and sample staterooms. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the general layout and the entertainment, amenities, facilities, etc. that are offered onboard.
· Decide if you will require an accessible stateroom. In a previous blog entry, we have outlined some good tipsfor making this decision.
· Research the amenities in your stateroom and on the ship. Will you need supplemental oxygen, chargers, a wheelchair, etc.? If so, be sure that you are adequately prepared with all supplies you will need, or arrange for rental equipment through a provider such as Special Needs Group. Prior to your trip, be sure to inquire about the policies for bringing medications, equipment, wheelchairs, or oxygen onboard.
· Consider shore excursions. If you plan to go ashore, will you take advantage of activities organized by the cruise line, or will you arrange your own? Browse through the excursions that are offered and be sure to take note of any special requirements (age, physical requirements, scuba certifications, etc.) before finalizing the details.
· Find out if your ship will be tendering at any port. If so, inquire about the ship’s policies regarding power chairs, scooters, and wheelchairs.
· When the time for your trip approaches, be sure to check out our suggestions on what to pack.
From all of us at Special Needs Group, we wish you a wonderful first cruise!
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Special Needs Group / Special Needs at Seas is the leading global provider for Special Needs travel. We offer a broad range of Special Needs equipment for purchase and rental including wheelchairs, scooters, power chairs, oxygen, baby cribs, and more. We are recommended by ALL major cruise lines for superior service and value. Special Needs Group also services guests visiting hotels, resorts, theme parks and convention centers. For more info, visit www.specialneedsgroup.com.
"A drop of water falls in a lake, it goes unnoticed. It falls on a leaf of a lotus, it shines like a pearl. Choose the best place to shine" -L. Burnett
February 1, 2013