Friday, May 17, 2013

So Let Me Ask You This . . .

I have a question tonight I want to ask those of you with a lot of experience vacationing aboard cruise ships.  I know nothing about cruises and I'm in a bit of a quandry so I need some input.  First, though, the pattern giveaway!  The winner is . . . Brenda!  Brenda said, "Please enter me in your drawing. Looks like a great scrap pattern."  Brenda, please email me your address and I'll get it mailed out to you.

Now the cruise thing.  Here's the scenario:  Hubby and I have an opportunity to cruise to Alaska--a 7 day cruise.  Hubby is wheelchair bound.  He has circulation problems that mean he's probably not going to be able to hang around on deck for very long without getting cold, unless it's particularly warm out and I'm not sure about Alaska and being out on the ocean, even in the summer.  When he's in large rooms filled with a lot of noise--voices, clatter, etc.--his ears hurt.  We don't really gamble much or drink much.  Given all of these things, my assumption is that we'll be spending more time in our cabin than the typical cruise passengers.  I thought that would work out fine and we'd have a wonderful vacation anyway if we could get a room with a balcony or some type of view, but the closest we can get is an obscured ocean view (actually a very nice view of a lifeboat).  The idea of spending a lot of time for a week in a little room with not much to look at sounds kind of depressing, and as Hubby said tonight, the days when we'd be content playing strip backgammon for hours are long since past.


So maybe the problem is that I just don't know what there is for us to do on a cruise and I'm expecting the worst.  Or maybe my concerns are valid and we should make some other vacation plans.  What has your experience been?  Please feel free to email me rather than leave a comment if you'd prefer.  I appreciate your input--I know that putting my question out to all of you is certain to give me the feedback I need to make a decision.  Thanks!

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have only been on one cruise. So hopefully I am wrong ...... We do not gamble, smoke, or eat 24/7. My husband and I discovered that we are not cruise people. I know that many others find the cruise experience to be the perfect vacation. I wonder if you could find another avenue to experience Alaska. My step father is also in a wheelchair, I think going on a cruise would be a challenge for him. Not sure if this helps. Hopefully someone else has had a better experience regarding your situation. Barbara from GA

Libby said...

Oh, I have to ditto what the first comment said. Once, and only once, did we spend time on a cruise. I can say more but I kind of feel like the main thing people do when on a cruise is shop at each port. Sort of fun but hardly gives you the experience of visiting a new city or country. While on the ship there is just so much waiting. Waiting in line, waiting until it's time to go wait in line, waiting for a show to start, waiting for your assigned time to get off the boat, and so on.

Good luck.

Pam

JoAnne said...

We have not been on a cruise, but I have taken the ferry up the inside passage of Alaska twice (once going up to live there for 4 years, and once returning.) It was beautiful but we spent all of our time on deck looking for whales, otters, eagles, bears (along the shore) etc. It is a very smooth trip and gorgeous, but it was a bit chilly.

pcflamingo said...

My late husband and I went on two cruises - one to the Caribbean and one to Alaska. There were a FEW things to do on board besides eat, drink and gamble, but not much. The other big thing was the shore-side excursions once you landed somewhere. But if your hubby is wheelchair bound that will be problematic. From what I remember of Alaska shore side sightseeing opportunities, handicap accessibility was NOT a feature.

Anonymous said...

Given the problems the cruise lines are having, I would think about it long and hard. However, I had some friends that took that cruise (Alaska) and had a great time. If, you decide to go, I hope you have a very enjoyable trip.

Shelia

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

we have been to the cruise to Alaska and loved that cruise and we really are not cruise people but we both get around pretty well. We do not like large crowds and the drinking scene much ect but we found plenty of places to sit and watch wild life ect - we really watched for whales ect and lots of time you are close to the shore to watch for shore animals - that said the weather was a windy 55 almost the whole trip, cloudy, damp, rainy off and on. we spent a lot of time finding places inside near windows to watch the shore - you can find those places - I don't think if I was in a wheelchair though that I would a cruise all that much. There was a quite library with a view my husband remembers and other quite places scattered around on board - and it might be that we were there on a crappy weather week and maybe it would be really nice - the views were spectacular!

Cathy said...

I've been on several cruises, though not to Alaska. Cruise ships have lots of public spaces to use, many of which are empty or at least not crowded most of the time. Some are nicely enclosed spaces with windows, not an open deck where he might be cold. For example, there will be some sort of night club type lounge, rocking at night after dinner but open and quiet during the day. There will be some sort of library, always quiet, though it may not have good views. I enjoy sitting on the rear of the ship, where there is usally a more secluded deck area along with a covered bar area, rarely crowded.

I think the biggest issue on a cruise to Alaska will be that the excursions are not wheel-chair friendly so likely Hubby will not be able to go on them. To me, this would be the bigger issue as I don't think you will have trouble finding quiet places with a view on the ship.

Miss Jean said...

I've never been interested in a cruise as I don't do all the things associated with them. I would go on a quilt cruise but that would leave your husband with nothing to do and no one to do it with. I would, however, go on the cruise in Oregon that goes along the Columbia River Gorge. Doesn't sound like the Alaska cruise is your cup of tea and don't feel bad about it. They are not for everyone.

Rabid Quilter from CA said...

Our first cruise was 7-days to Alaska 2 summers ago. We went with 30 people with whom we shared a fun hobby. Since we are not gamblers, spa sorts or zumba dancers, without that hobby group, we would have been bored to tears. EVERY one of our hometown friends are BIG cruisers and KNEW we'd have a ball. We didn't, really and don't know if we'll go on another cruise. But if we do, we will definitely have a balcony. It's essential! With that said, there's plenty of places to 'chill' out of the weather: library, numerous 'hallway' seating areas with large windows, etc. BTW: it was HOT in Alaska the July we were there. Bottom line though, the port towns are owned by the cruise lines and are non-stop "sell, shop, spend" destinations. If you can get past that (which is difficult) the scenery is breathtaking!

Josie McRazie said...

Never cruised just want to tel Hubby I don't think you can EVER get past the days of strip backgammon! tell him he gave me a great giggle.

Belinda said...

It has been my experience that the cruise lines are well equipped to deal with those in wheelchairs. We went on an Alaska Cruise a couple of years ago, and found it to be wonderful. We did not have any trouble finding excursions that could accomodate a wheelchair (we found they happened to be less expensive then some of the others as well). The weather was amazing, we went in June, and it was perfect. Some afternoons we were able to sit on the deck in short sleeves. Other times, we needed nothing heavier then a light weight jacket. I think you should go!

Marei said...

Kim I have taken over 10 cruises -- 4 times to Alaska, both with the hubs, and with my mom who was in her mid-late 70's at the time. We LOVE cruising, BUT we are ambulatory and were all over the ship(s) and walked through all the towns we visited (by the way Juneau is all up hill)and used the stairs, etc.
My opinion....for what's it's worth...is don't spend your money on a cruise. It's not worth it to sit around in your cabin. You need to realize even the "large" cabins are not someplace you want to spend a week. The scenery of Alaska is truly magnificent but if I were in your shoes, a cruise would not be the way I experienced it.

cook said...

Hi Kim, Wow what downers! Cruising is great even for the handicapped. There is lots to do...cooking classes, lectures, trivia, entertainment. Something for everyone. We went to Alaska last summer and it was great. The train ride up to Denali was most interesting. Hope you try it. Have fun Janet

Anonymous said...

I don't know whaty cruise line you will be going on but I have cruised with Holland America and the crew treats everyone so well and are especially helpful for anyone with any kind of disablity. There are many quiet places on ships. The bar area is quiet during the day and there are many other areas to use. If he wants to go on excursions just ask at the excursion desk and they will be able to tell you which ones would be best. On my last cruise there were many wheel chair passengers and they all seems to be having a great time.

Barbara said...

My husband and I have only been on one cruise...and it was to Alaska. There are many quiet places to sit and relax all over the ship. One thing I would recommend is to cruise with Holland America as it's not a party ship like Carnival or some other cruise lines. I'd say the majority of people on our cruise were in their 40's and 50's.

Lori said...

We took a cruise to Alaska in the summer about 2 years ago. The scenery is stunning! The weather was cool not freezing. We had several days the sun was out, but cool. We don't gamble or do the night club scene, but still found plenty to do. I much prefer a summer carribean cruise because I love summer, but am very happy to have seen Alaska. The whale watching alone was worth the trip! There are plenty of places to get out of your cabin and find a quiet place to read and sight see, but I have to say having a balcony cabin was awesome!

Mary A said...

Hi Kim,
I've cruised a couple of times to Alaska and there's a big difference between the cruise lines. Often naturalists board the ships and give talks on the wildlife. In these days of handicap access laws, most ships and side trips accommodate wheelchairs. Lots of lounges with big windows to watch the world go by. Do it! Mary A

9patchnurse said...

Well, I'm no expert but I think you'll have a great time. I have been on one cruise and have booked another one with my hubs next month. The one I went on was a quilt cruise with my girlfriends. I NEVER wanted to cruise and I'm a real convert. We had a fabulous time but all agreed we wouldn't do the quilt part again. We also aren't party girls and found plenty of quiet spots. My advice is to skip the buffet, it is loud, crowded, and too much food. Room service breakfast is free and the dining room is wonderful. We had a favorite bar that was quiet with a good view with comfy seating. I can't say enough about the cruise staff! They were absolutely dedicated to taking care of us and making sure we had a good time. Next month my husband and I will go on his first cruise and I'm hoping it will be fun. We don't party or gamble and he almost never drinks but I still think there will be lots of fun. Good luck, I hope this helps you.

Lisa said...

I live in SE AK and everyone that I've met "down south" that has been on an AK cruise have loved it.

Even in the "hot" summer months it can be cold and rainy here. Dress warm in layers and plan on bringing a light weight rain coat.

Your ship will dock and the crew can assist in getting your husband down the ramp with his wheelchair. Ask ahead as to which towns will be easiest to get around in. I've seen people in wheelchairs in my SE AK hometown. The sidewalks are wide enough.

Plan on extra money for the shore trips. One idea is to get a cab, with a locally born driver, for a "local lore" tour. The term Native is used for Native Americans here.

Consider bringing some hand sewing/quilting to work on. It's a good way to meet new people.

Whatever you decide, congrats on 20 years with your company! That is a mile stone in this day and age!

dolls5000a said...

I was lucky enough to do the alask cruise about 15 years ago. Hubby was a musician on the cruise ship and I joined him for one week to do the Vancouver, Alaska cruise. I'm kind of quiet don't drink and don't like large crowds. I had a great time on the cruise. First off there is only one day where you are at open sea (I get seacsick)the rest of the time you are in a channel There wee plenty of quiet places to hide out on the ship, and there are always a few other people trying to find those quiet spots. Alask has over 300 days of some kind of periptation each year, so during the summer you might get a light rain for a few hours during the day. I didn't find the weather there that cold, just a light sweater is good. I wouldn't spend alot of time in my cabin, but would find a quiet corner that I could hide in and watch everyone.

Eileen C said...

GO!!! You will both have a fabulous time!!!!