First cruise - simple questions

Aug 14th, 2011, 06:31 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 532
First cruise - simple questions

Sorry, I've tried searching for some answers but they're so generic I can't seem to find decent results. We're cruising for the first time in April (spring break) with extended family. DH and I will be with our two kids aged 6 & 3 at the time, along with my mom who is somewhat wheelchair reliant. On the periphery will be older adults and two young'uns aged 1 & 5. We're taking Freedom of the Seas - Royal Caribbean cruise to Labadee, Cozumel, Jamaica and Grand Cayman.

1) With the wheelchair, will we be allowed to disembark in the first group or will we still have to wait with the other hordes of people?
2) How easy is it to use a wheelchair when the boat is tendered? Or should she count on using a cane that day?
3) if we do shore excursions though another company (not via RCI) are we still allowed to disembark first?
4) Can you disembark anytime during the day, or are you restricted to committing to disembark at a set time. For instance, could we spend the morning having breakfast with the kids and going to the pool with them, then disembark after lunch for a few hours if the boat doesn’t depart until 8pm?
5) Any idea if the onboard medics are equipped with IV fluids? My DD occasionally gets dehydrated if she’s very ill, and I’m nervous that if she gets seasick she might spiral out of control. Historically all she’s generally needed is an IV drip for a few hours, so I’d prefer not to be evacuated for something that would be easily remedied.
6) Other tips / recommendations that will help us avoid/minimize long lines and make the trip more serene?
7) Do we have to have dinner in the dining room? With two small kids and a big group of people, I’d probably rather avoid a formal evening and be much more casual with our group in case our scheduled time doesn't work for everyone.

Thanks so much!!
hlphillips2 is offline  
Aug 14th, 2011, 07:30 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,739
Here is my take on your questions.

1) Disemebark is based on priority such as plane departure time, among other things. Wheelchair does not automatically disembark on the first group. You can ask for it, however.
The question is why do you want too rush off the ship?

2) When they tender people with wheelchairs, they typically have 2 crew members helping depending on the situation. My suggestion is to take a cane with you and still sit on the wheelchair. At the tender, crew will help you to the tender, and they will load and unload your wheel chair. My question would be how well the person can do without the wheel chair? Wheelcahir may limit the type of shore excursions.

3) If it is disembark. It is strictly walk off. No issues. If you have to tendered ashore, they will let the people who booked their excursions through them go ashore first, unless you are a "loyalty program elite member".

4) You can disembark anytime while the ship is in port. You can get off, come back on, get off again, as many time as you want, within the time while ship is in port.

5) The on board hospital is quite well eqipped. However, it will be very expensive. You are better off have them drinks lots of water if your DD occasionally gets dehydrated. Speak to your family physican and get sea-sickness pills before departure. Ginger generally works well.

6) With a mass market nega ship, there is no avoiding line ups. You maybe amazed at how fast the lines moves along. They move people in and out all the time. Just be patient.

7) You don't have to have dinner in the dining room. You can have dinner pretty well anywhere in the ship, including your cabin. Room services work quite nicely. SHips also offer baby sitting service, maybe have a baby sitter and then ahve a nice dinner? Or maybe take turn, ahve soemone else watch your kids so you can have dinner in the dining room. There are lots of possibilities.

Last but not least, when you book, ask for a wheelchair accessible cabin. Also, ships has kids program so you may want to check it out.

Good luck!
Eschew is offline  
Aug 14th, 2011, 07:53 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 19,868
1) are you asking about the final day or every port? will you require assistance for your mom, or you and your husband will handle the wheelchair?

2) if you fold the w/chair and your mom takes the steps, it will be much easier. Not all tenders are allowed to take a w/chair.

3) no, you will have to wait till the ship tours leave, after that you will go by the tender ticket number.

4) if docked, you walk on/off any time, even several times a day as you pleased. If tendered, you go after tour groups, come back any time, after the main crowds leave they don't give tender tickets, you can come back for lunch or break, and go off shore again.

5) don't know about equipment, but check w/insurance if you have worldwide coverage, and most likely you will pay out of pocket, so get the paperwork from the ship doctor to be reimbursed later.

6) Cruise Critic website has a "disabled cruises" page, you will get better advices there for your ship, by port, or by your health needs. Also visit there "family travel" as you have small children.

7) - of course not! Just let them know not to wait for you that day. You can go to the buffet, order room service, or there are other restaurants where you'll have a table just for your family.
Dayenu is offline  
Aug 14th, 2011, 08:01 PM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 4,121
Other tips / recommendations that will help us avoid/minimize long lines and make the trip more serene?

Sedation. You appear to be very worried.

Most of your questions have the word 'disembark' in them, one way or another. Do I detect a pattern? Let me answer them this way...

No - your occasionally wheel-chair bound Mum will probably not be a free pass for you and the other nine members of your extended family to disembark before everyone else so you can all get to your [non] RCI day-tour early.

You can eat where you like. You can get off any time you like. Your daughter is not going to get so seasick she spirals out of control, needing I.V. fluids and a helicopter. Yes, they have I.V. fluids. Medivac probably won't be necessary.

Trust me - I know these things.

Deep breathing...
dogster is offline  
Aug 15th, 2011, 09:32 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,466
If you think there might be problems along the way, you should consider getting trip insurance. Read the fine print to be sure it covers what you may need.
GBelle is offline  
Aug 15th, 2011, 09:59 AM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,076
I have only been on one (short) cruise, but it was on Royal Carribean, and DD DID wind up in the infirmary for IV fluids and IV antibiotics -as a pediatric RN for over 17 years, I can tell you that I was extremely impressed with their facilites, equipment and staff. I might suggest carrying a letter from her pediatrician stating that she has a tendency to get very dehydrated quickly and has required IV fluids in the past, therefore possibly saving you some time while they suggest oral rehydration?
Have fun!
txgirlinbda is offline  
Aug 15th, 2011, 10:10 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 532
Thanks all! Definitely planning on trip insurance. Most of the concerns are because I'm such a planner and want to keep everyone in our little group happy - trying to figure out shore excursions so that all 5 in our immediate family are included at least once. Big cruise ship wouldn't be our first choice but we didn't make the vacation decision, so we're going with the flow and trying to make it as fun as possible!
As for question #1, I was enquiring about disembarking at each port rather than the final destination. That we can get on & off anytime is a huge relief, as I was envisioning 4,000 people trying to dis- and embark at the same time each day (not the most relaxing visual for four days). So really that right there addresses the bulk of my issues yes, dogster, I can breathe easy now!
hlphillips2 is offline  
Aug 15th, 2011, 06:06 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 532
txgirlinbda - thank you so much! Great advice! We travel with Zofran for her occasional bouts, but it has once been ineffective so I want to be prepared. Having a letter would help immensely as even at our own ER it took half an hour to convince a resident to hook her up!
hlphillips2 is offline  
Aug 19th, 2011, 01:29 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 821
My very first thought when I read your questions, was that you should have asked either the cruise line or the travel agent that booked your cruise all these questions, first. It almost seems that you booked the cruise first and then had all these questions with answers that may have impacted whether you might have decided not to buy the cruise.

You might also make sure whatever tours you purchase have wheelchair capability.
jan47ete is offline  
Aug 19th, 2011, 08:41 PM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,076
OP did state that this vacation was not hers, but a group, decision and that it would not have been her first choice -sounds like she's just trying to make the best of it.
txgirlinbda is offline  
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