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Whizbank

Navigator of the seas June 10-14. 50th birthday+traveling with mobility impaired person

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Who: me, age 49+, DH 72, visually and mobility impaired

Where: leaving Cincinnati for ft Lauderdale, Port of Miami, Monday morning embarkation on Navigator of the Seas

Who else: meeting 4 friends from HS with with either DH or DS of their own

Why: Celebrating the big 50. Girls did 40 trip to Vegas 10 yrs ago but wanted to bring others this time. Picked cruise since my hubby is both visually and mobility impaired and hoping cruise will work best

What else: I'm afraid of flying and heights. DH usually uses cane but for this adventure to bought a travel walker and arranged wheelchairs and rented on from special needs at sea which is supposed to be in our room. 1305, deck 10, accessible interior room

So, I figured people might be interested in hearing our adventures since we are going to overcome challenges. Since hubby is not totally in a wheelchair we may have some new insights into what to expect. 

Day 1-Saturday. Getting ready to leave Cincinnati. Decided to rent a hotel room near airport where I can leave the car and take shuttle to airport in morning. Managed to stuff everything in 1 carryon backpack, 1 large suitcase, 1 cpap machine duffel, and neck purse, since it's up to me to schlep everything while simultaneously not letting Dave run into anything or fall over something. No wheelchairs at hotel or shuttle so will need to walk slowly and carefully with travel walker (no seat, weight 7 pounds, folds up small small!) first arranged wheelchair at Airport. Flying first class on delta non stop to fll so Dave can be more comfortable. Mobility issues due to: various injuries caused by blind guy doing whatever he wanted while ignoring what could happen. As in, motorcycle rallies, dog showing, crew chief on pro race car, engine building etc. Ended up on front page of USA today years ago as only blind crew chief in drag racing. 5 yrs ago had major back surgery and now has a bunch of titanium pins and wires holding his back together. 

Other: my best friend and hubby are flying down with us, flying down a day early to stay at hotel in FLL, then taking a car to Port of Miami Monday morning. Against advice of everyone on these boards, traveling with birth certificates and id's since tax season (I'm a CPA) was overwhelming and never managed to get passports. Did buy travel insurance with evac and medical just in case. Will fill in more details as this adventure progresses. Send questions! 

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So we have started. Left house at 8 to drive down to holiday Inn, Mineola pike. Very nice hotel. Reserved a stay and park package for 1 night room, 5 nights parking for $149. Arrived, went in, and the poor lone girl at reservations didn't have any way to charge people as her ethernet was out. But, she was very nice, and when I reserved the room I asked for first floor by elevator and that's what we got, which is nice. Great customer service. The shuttle leaves every 1/2 hr so we can catch the 7:30am and be at airport in plenty of time for 9:50 flight. Dave was able to walk to room while I schlepped luggage, but in morning I definitely need to drive him and luggage to shuttle stand and then park. 

Lessons: leave him in car and scope out room first so we can go straight there. 

That's it for now, we need to get some 😴 

 

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Have a Happy Birthday and an amazing cruise! We'll also be following!

My MIL is now 80 and mobility impaired too (knee replacement a few years ago). We would love to take her on another cruise (my FIL has no desire to cruise 😱) and Navigator is on the short list if we can coordinate it with her!

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Made it to airport. Got to shuttle a little late but it was full anyway so they sent it back for us. Shuttle driver nice and helpful and friendly. Delta air crew already in shuttle and they nicely and automatically moved farther back and helped us climb in. 7 minutes to airport. Found a skycap to do curbside check-in and leave bag, he went and got a wheelchair to push us to wheelchair waiting area. Pusher came after about 5 minutes but another couple was ahead of us, and they didn't have precheck but we did so we need to wait for he to come back. So far so good. 

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OK, the pusher Ms Ginger was very nice and we had precheck so that went OK, though I should have frisked DH better before getting all the junk out of his pockets. They almost made him stand up to go through security but after we said he was blind too they decided to just go through with wheelchair and do a minor pat down. She took us to gate, checked in our boarding passes, and by then BF and BFH were there. We decided to fly 1st class to make Dave more comfortable and I upgraded their seats too. First on plane, first off plane. If you can afford 1st it's worth it. I just budgeted it in.  Pusher in FLL I didn't get his name but he speed demoned us to baggage claim and let us keep wheelchair. Left before I could tip him😥 Get bags, call for shuttle, made it to hotel

Observations. When the pushers come to get you, you go, and you go to next destination. No stopping, no rest stops, period. They have other people to help. So, plan that in 

FLL airport does not have a family restroom on baggage claim. Major fail in my opinion. We either had to get our bags and go back up to bathroom or wait, so we waited until hotel.  Check in was a breeze though and the accessible room at Springhill suites is very nice. 

Having BF and BFH was a major major help. Even though I planned for less luggage it was still a lot to keep track of and they were saviors. It's clear that if we do this again we either need to do it with another couple or bring a third person to help 

But everyone has been friendly and helpful and accommodating. 

Buying and bringing the travel walker was great. I almost left it at deplane but luckily BF was there to get it. But, it's light, it's small, and its helpful for between destinations like the hotel hallways. 

Now to rest. 

 

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OK, so we made it to port of Miami before noon. Porter right there to get luggage though a lot of people around. He directed us to wheelchairs across the street but when asked he called for one to come get us. That was great  the pusher knew exactly where to take us, checked in our documents, took us through security then turned us over to a royal caribbean pusher. Left before I could tip. Obviously need to tip immediately if I want to make sure they get them.  The royal caribbean pusher, whose name I didn't catch asked where we wanted to stay and wait for room to open at 1. We picked Windjammer so he took us up, a little bit of elevator waiting. He knew all the backways to get us there quickly and wasn't afraid to shave people out of the way. He got us to a table, said we could put wheelchair in hall when we got to stateroom and went on. I was able to tip him. Windjammer is OK to get around in with wheelchair as long as you pay attention. The tile floor is significantly easier than the carpet, though. Quit a few places on ship where you need to go backwards to clear thresholds. Met my friends, waited around and then went to stateroom a few minutes early on chance it was ready. I think we freaked steward out a little but he was just bringing in chocolate covered strawberries for us. Nice accessible room which ill take and post pictures of.  Voom instructions in room, easy to setup. 

Special needs at sea had already delivered rented wheelchair and 2 oxygen concentrators, not sure why 2.there is also a small fridge for medication and a sharps container though I did not request those, and a gallon of distilled water which I did request. The TV is playing the safety drill spy adventure. Have cruise compass and shore excursion book to post when I get home. 

So all in all it went pretty well. Dave is significantly more tired and weak today so that complicated things a bit. In real life we never plan back to back activities

I'll post some  pictures later. 

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So, the muster drill. Our cabin steward came by at 3:45 to tell us to get out to our station. Got Dave in wheelchair, took elevator to deck 4, asked where D17 was. Yellow vested lady directed me and asked if I needed help, I said no, but then yellow vested guy did and I just let them take Dave. We wheelchaired out to deck, they scanned our cards, then brought us back in to dining room lobby and just told us to sit there.  Eventually everyone made it to muster they sounded the alarm, explained what to do in a real emergency, and then the captain welcomed us aboard. Then we sat there while 2000 people left the dining room in front of us 

Observation: there is no set area for wheelchair users, they basically just check you in and then direct you to nearest seating area. 

Hopefully in a real emergency they have a mechanism to get you in actual lifeboat. 

Quite frankly, it would have worked exactly the same if we stayed in the room and just listened to the PA. I get that maritime law doesn't allow it, but it was a lot of effort to get down there and then sit inside and listen, no examples of how to put on life jacket or anything else useful. 

After we went out on deck and did sail away until we hit open water. 

I'm having trouble posting pictures. I bought the basic zoom package against @Matt's advice so I might have to rethink that. I'm going to try in a more public place and see if I have better signal.

Dinner at 8:30 with whole group in MTD

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Epic fail. I ordered oxygen but wasn't told and didn't ask about tubing. So, now I have 2 oxygen concentrators with no way to use them. My cabin steward said to call medical so I'm going down there tomorrow to see if I can get some.  If not, I wasted a bunch of money renting machines I can't use and Dave's not getting what he needs.  

The plugs being at the desk and his cpap needing to be by the bed means that I know have a cord stretched across the cabin where it's not really safe for a blind guy. Tomorrow I'm going to have to find some gaffers tape too. 

And Rc puts these lovely room service things in the room but no pens anywhere to fill them out. That seems slightly short sighted. And since I brought a very small purse I didn't put a pen in it. I considered writing it in blood but that seemed a little too dramatic. 🤪

Dave didn't make it to dinner but I ordered room service for him and that was fine. Got him setup and then I went to dinner with the rest of the gang. Everyone was happy with their meals.  The creme brulee wasn't quite set up enough but it still tasted good. 

More tomorrow. 

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11 hours ago, Whizbank said:

I ordered oxygen but wasn't told and didn't ask about tubing. So, now I have 2 oxygen concentrators with no way to use them. My cabin steward said to call medical so I'm going down there tomorrow to see if I can get some.  If not, I wasted a bunch of money renting machines I can't use and Dave's not getting what he needs.  

The plugs being at the desk and his cpap needing to be by the bed means that I know have a cord stretched across the cabin where it's not really safe for a blind guy. Tomorrow I'm going to have to find some gaffers tape too. 

Hopefully they had some tubing on the ship. If not, you should be able to get some at one of your port stops.

Tell your cabin steward to run the extension cord under the bed and tape the exposed part down, He/she will certainly do that for you.

I am a little late with this, but Happy Birthday! Your husband is so lucky to have you! Hope the rest of your cruise goes perfectly!

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11 hours ago, Whizbank said:

Epic fail. I ordered oxygen but wasn't told and didn't ask about tubing. So, now I have 2 oxygen concentrators with no way to use them. My cabin steward said to call medical so I'm going down there tomorrow to see if I can get some.  If not, I wasted a bunch of money renting machines I can't use and Dave's not getting what he needs.  

The plugs being at the desk and his cpap needing to be by the bed means that I know have a cord stretched across the cabin where it's not really safe for a blind guy. Tomorrow I'm going to have to find some gaffers tape too. 

And Rc puts these lovely room service things in the room but no pens anywhere to fill them out. That seems slightly short sighted. And since I brought a very small purse I didn't put a pen in it. I considered writing it in blood but that seemed a little too dramatic. 🤪

Dave didn't make it to dinner but I ordered room service for him and that was fine. Got him setup and then I went to dinner with the rest of the gang. Everyone was happy with their meals.  The creme brulee wasn't quite set up enough but it still tasted good. 

More tomorrow. 

If you ever go on another cruise try out Harmony, Symphony, or a new ship.. The new ships have plugs by the bed which makes it much easier.. 

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Slow start today.  The shower is great, hot water and plenty of room. The drainage system works quite well.  

Didn't pay attention to the room service times so missed breakfast. Nothing sounded good on room service menu so we got ourselves together and headed down to deck 5 to see what's what. Amazing how dead the ship is while everyone is in port.  Ended up at Cafe promenade. 

Tons of stuff. Dave got cheese pizza and a chocolate dessert. I got

A ham and cheese croissant with some kind of dressing on it

A vegetarian sandwich with eggplant, tomato, lettuce, cheese, and some dressing

Cheese and tomato salad

Fried artichokes

I didn't get the muffalata sandwich or the king Arthur or the shrimp roll, or the pepper salad, marinated spicy cheese, marinated olives, or stuffed potatoes

There are also 4 kinds of cookies, 6 kinds of desserts, cheese, vegetarian, and pepperoni pizza. 

Am I making everyone hungry? 

After all that Dave got Ben and Jerry's chocolate ice cream while I let stuff digest.  I think we will head up to deck 11 in a few. 

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Solarium was nice if hot. Pool deck is nice if both hot and loud. Lots of chairs today while people were in port. 

Observations. Pushing a wheelchair is hard work

Crossing over deck 5 to get to 1 set of elevators or the other is the easiest way to do it. Going down stateroom hallways is difficult as some areas are pretty narrow

Get used to walking backwards. The thresholds in most places are high and the wheelchair can't go over them going forward, only backward. Same with the elevators but they are squishy to turn around in. 

Elevators are really slow, often full, so plan ahead, it will take you longer to get anywhere

The spa is nice. They were very helpful with getting Dave in and out of wheelchair and helping him get dressed and undressed. It was a relaxing massage. 

Our MTD waiter is Josip and he's fabulous. Didn't bat an eyelash when Dave asked for grilled cheese, or when we left just as dessert came because Dave couldn't stay up anymore. Very understanding, and helpful. 

All of the staff has been great. Lots of the other passengers too, patient when we go slow or take up room. 

Haven't made it to medical to try to get oxygen tube. They are open weird hours and I didn't manage time too well today. But, there is always tomorrow. 

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