Last week we took a cruise, just like many thousands of other did. And, like many others traveling I cruised as a disabled person. This was our 10th cruise and our first with me being handicapped. It wasn’t bad at all.
We drove down to Jacksonville, FL the night before as soon as my husband got off from work. This was my first long trip in his new Ford F150 SuperCab. He had step-up rails installed shortly after purchase since I could not get into the truck otherwise. The rollator folded up and fit nicely in the back seat along with our luggage. The ride was fairly comfortable and we only stopped once on the four-hour drive. I was a little stiff from sitting so long.
The Hampton Inn was just a place to sleep and nothing spectacular one way or the other. We got up early and headed out after breakfast. The next six hours to Miami were uneventful with two stops. Once we got to the cruise terminal Gary let me out by the check-in line with our luggage while he parked the truck in the deck. I was very comfortable sitting on the rollator waiting for him.
The line through security went quickly. Due to my using the rollator I had to be patted down. The female security guard was polite and as nonintrusive as one can be in this circumstance. We went straight to handicap check-in and I was placed in a wheelchair. Once we got our room key I was whisked aboard all the way to the elevators. Gary pushed the rollator with our luggage stacked on top. It worked out very well.
The crew went out of their way to make sure that I and all of the other disabled passengers were well taken care of during the entire trip. I wish I could say the same for all of the other passengers. While most were friendly and polite, others were down right rude. We would be waiting for an elevator and other passengers would barge in front of us and we would end up having to wait for another one. This happened many times. And, it wasn’t like they had gotten there to wait before us either. I understand that there is sometimes a language barrier, so I tried not to let that influence my mood when some would not hold the elevator for us to board when we asked.
Asking folks to part to provide us room to move around them seemed to be a considerable inconvenience for most people. You would have thought that I asked them to cut off an arm. I always said ‘please’ and ‘excuse me’. What I got back was looks of disgust. It wasn’t as if I was trying to cut in line, I just wanted to pass by without running over their toes.
There was a handicap bathroom centrally located on the common floors. I saw many appearance-wise able bodied folks using it, especially the one by the casino bar. If my rollator could have fit through the tiny doors to the main bathroom I would have gladly tried to use it. There were several times that I was almost knocked down by a man that came barreling out of the door as I approached.
Both Grand Cayman and Belize were tender ports. While I’m sure I could have made it off the ship to each I remained on board. We were married in Belize and have already cruised to Grand Cayman previously. My husband got off at Belize to buy some Marie Sharps hot sauce and One Barrel rum. Due to rain at the Honduras and Mexican ports I did not get off the ship there either. Those were both pier ports so I know those would have been fine. There were many activities on the ship while in port. So, between those and my desire to rest and read a good book I enjoyed my time.
Debarkation back in Miami was very smooth and efficient. The line kept moving and I had my rollator to sit upon and rest as needed. I waited by the terminal while my husband retrieved his truck. He loaded us up and we headed home.
All in all, I am very pleased with how well I was able to take this cruise.