Cruisin’

Saturday. I think I am packed except for toiletries. I guess I’m good. Find out once we get on the ship.

I have not done as much research for this trip as I have done for other trips. We planned it fairly quickly. Wanted to get it in before we got a puppy.

I will let you know how it all goes. I just looked up Best Ships for Cruisers with Disabilities. They reviewed the big ones: Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Disney, Holland America and Princess.

While most cruise lines are pretty good with physical impairments, visual impairment only got about one line of text in each case. Each of them offers Braille on some signs and audio books in the library. Most offer large print menus in the restaurant. In other words, in my not-so-humble opinion, they don’t put themselves out too much. (After all, do they even make elevators without Braille anymore?)

If you have a guide dog, he can also cruise. However, be careful which cruise line you choose. According to Do Cruise Ships Cater to Blindness?, Royal Caribbean will not let your dog off the ship! He has to stay aboard at all ports of call. Holland America has the same rule. Several others allow service animal to disembark as long as they have all their proper papers. Of course, finding out what exactly the proper documentation is your responsibility.

Princess has computers set up with JAWS and Holland America has a similar set-up called Window Eyes. That means you can search the web in their internet cafes and the computers will read it all to you.

Royal Caribbean provided sign language interpretation for the deaf. They also provide orientation tours for the visually impaired. However it appears none of them will provide anything in the way of orientation and mobility for the visually Impaired much beyond that initial guided walk around the ship.

In fact, the “Cater” article outright says some cruise lines strongly suggest, depending upon your level of impairment, you not cruise without a caregiver or, at minimum, a sighted companion. Although I would not want to cruise solo, that can put a definite crimp in some people’s style!

That said, there are ways to travel with disabilities, including visual impairment and blindness, and even if you don’t have a ready travel companion. Organizations like Access-Able and Mind’s Eye Travel come up in searches. While I have never used services from either agency, the owner of Mind’s Eye and at least one of her sighted guides were a year behind me in high school. I can vouch for the women so I am pretty sure I can also vouch for their program and services.

So, no, it may not be as easy as picking up your wallet and passport and going out the door, headed for parts unknown. (Although when I looked up ‘blind travel’ I discovered there are companies that will plan everything right down to choosing your destination. They don’t tell you where you are going until you get there!) However it is possible to travel when you are visually impaired. First leg of my trip is in about six hours.

Written October 29th, 2017

Next: Some of Yours

HOme

 

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Cruisin’
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