Tips and Recommendations to Cruise/Tour Alaska in a Wheelchair

Tips and Recommendations to Cruise/Tour Alaska in a Wheelchair

I was extremely anxious prior to using a 14-working day land tour/cruise to Alaska since I am confined to a wheelchair. Nevertheless I can stand, I do not wander at all. When travelling in a wheelchair, there is often a glitch with one thing that is intended to be ADA compliant and is just not.

Our journey began in Anchorage, and then took us to Copper Centre, Fairbanks, Denali Nationwide Park, Mt. McKinley and Talkeetna. After the land tour, we boarded the cruise ship in Whittier and travelled southbound by the Inland Passage to Vancouver, with port docking in Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan.

In general, the trip was amazing from an accessibility standpoint, even though there had been a handful of hiccups that we encountered alongside the way. I brought them to the cruise line’s interest and will share them with you.

The next is a summary of suggestions and tips I am producing from my individual personal knowledge if you are taking into consideration a excursion:

  • Never ever suppose that when somebody tells you a room, transportation, transfer, and so on. fulfills ADA criteria that it is. There is a large variance in interpretation and assumptions when one particular says it is “ADA compliant.” You will have to make a listing of unique queries that require specific answers from a vacation agent who truly is professional about your unique, required lodging.
  • When I commenced scheduling my excursion, I labored with cruise line right. I spoke with agents who essentially cruised on the ship we had been using, who could give me data about wheelchair-friendliness on the ship and aid me decide on a place. I also spoke with their access department about accessibility lodging about on-land lodge rooms, and factors these kinds of as shuttle/motor coach/railroad lifts. These folks have been incredibly valuable. I didn’t want to get the job done by means of an independent travel agency as I have realized from working experience that certain things really don’t constantly get answered effectively, or get “shed in translation” when dealing via a third-party.
  • I booked my journey nearly a year in progress, so that I could get precisely what I wanted. For instance, I desired a place on a deck that contained a buffet, grill, and outside swimming pools/seating/videos to get rid of elevator use. It also saved us $1400 by having an interior home–the outside open up deck was just exterior our door so we failed to want a home balcony.
  • We booked in September because there had been less crowds to navigate in the towns, and no younger children. I obtain that when I am in my scooter, I have to usually be searching out for other folks so lots of persons–especially young children-are not looking out for me. In addition, we failed to have to deal with mosquitoes at that time of calendar year, we saw the Northern Lights, attractive autumn colour, and the days have been cool–50-60 levels. The cooler temperatures have been fantastic for me considering the fact that my MS is really sensitive to warm, humid times, which happens generally in the summertime months in Alaska.
  • I sent a letter in producing to their Entry Department stating that I was “confined to a wheelchair”, hence needing lifts for all transport and a roll-in shower for all hotel rooms if readily available. I advise sending this sort of a letter if you are completely confined, as this will address you afterwards if troubles develop, which in my scenario it did.

For illustration, there were being 3 motor coaches that arrived that did not have lifts. The good news is, I am compact (125 lbs.) and my spouse is sturdy, so I was capable to be carried up into the mentor. Normally, I would have had to remain at the rear of which would have disrupted my vacation, and cancelled just one of my tours. In the long term, this is what I would do and what I would propose some others to do: Examine with the Tour desk at just about every hotel that you remain at to re-verify that a transportation with a elevate will be available for you for the future a number of times. You can also re-verify any other particular requires that you experienced asked for in advance of time, such as a roll-in shower. 2 times I was specified a area with out a roll-in shower, and later on identified out that this home was specified to anyone who failed to involve just one. If I had been travelling with my sister alternatively of my partner, I would not have been equipped to shower since she couldn’t raise me into a tub that experienced a chair put in it.

If you are a component-time wheelchair person, please notice that there are 5-7 measures going up into motor coaches and they are very steep.

The railroads had lifts, as did the separate tour buses in Denali National Park.

Incredibly, the accessibility in the Alaskan towns–even the smallest inland destinations–was extremely excellent. When I use a restroom, I require guidance from my hubby. We have been capable to come across a restroom that was big plenty of for both of those of us, even at the roadhouses we stopped to eat in for the duration of our journey. Note: the railroad restrooms are not able to accommodate two individuals, so if you are another person who involves a helper, you will want to prepare you in other means for the 5-6 hour journey.

If you are pondering about having a cruise or tour, I suggest to begin setting up your preparations a 12 months in progress since handicap available rooms are restricted and fill up speedy.

Lastly, since of the unpredictability of my MS, I opted to purchase journey insurance plan in case health difficulties transpired that would protect against me from likely.