Cruise Ships - Travel Agent

From a community member:

Can you recommend a travel agent that is familiar with cruise ships and accessibility?

I am just starting as a travel agent with Expedia Cruises. I am familiar with Royal Caribbean cruise lines.

I have booked numerous trips through Debbie Rachard 480-812-5101.

She is amazing. We had an issue with our last cruise in our room/balcony. The ramp was ridiculous and didn’t allow my chair to get on the balcony. She contacted Royal Caribbean’s ADA department and wound up getting us 50% off the entire cruise. she is very knowledgeable and very nice.

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I do not have a specif8c travel agent as with an indeoendent agency but I can highky recommend Holland America Cruise Line for anyone who us physicalky handicapped. I have to use a scooter or a power chsir when traveling and they are so very accommodating. They will provide you with an agent who will handle all of yiur needs from leaving your home until your return. Their ratio of crew to passengers is about 1 to 4 abd thetlur shipos usually handie about 2,000+ passengers where some of thecotherckines have upwards of 8,000 passengers. I have traved several other lines and NONE of them even came close to tte care I receive on HAL. Lijewise other lines did not uave as good accessible facilities as HAL. I took my granddaughter on a cruise for her college graduation on RCC line. It was awful. I went in one ladies room and the handicapped stall was directly behind the door that opened into the restroom. I do literally mean directly behind. I used the restroom and unlocked the stall door and started to exit the stall only to have the stall door slammed back shut as someone pushed open the door to enter the restroom. I was startled and befote I could actually get out of the stall it hapoened a second time. I avoided that reatroom throughout tte rema8nsercof the.cruise and actually had to go to a different deck in ordrr to find a restroom that was handicapped accessible. This one actually topped the cake. We were on Freedom of tte Seas. I booked massages for my granddaughter and myself. During my massage I needed to use the restroom. Would tou believe they did not have a restroom within the spa? I had to wrsp tte sheet around me as a toga and get into my scooter and leave the spa and go out into the hallway to access a ladies room. I was so ticked off that I really didn’t get any benefit from my massage. I could not believe theur spa was so poorly designed that their guests hsd to be embarrassed by being in the public area of the ship wearing a sheet. I will NEVER use Royal Caribbean again. I was using a mobility scooter and had my granddaughter not been traveling with me I don’t kniw hiw I would have managed because othercthan 1 cocktail waitress and our 2 waiters at dinner the remainder of the crew never offered me assistance of any type. I tried using the casual duning facility for lunch our first day and because I was seated in my scooter I ciuld not read a single sign identifying any of the food bring offered. My granddaughter ended up preparing my plate for me before getting her own food. No one ofdeewd us a veverage ir as much as a glass of water. The din8ng staff seemed more interested in filiing up glasses of various beverages to sit on the shelf and in wip8ng fiwn counters than in actual serving. From thatcpoibt forward we ate kunch in the main dining room but that became boring as the menu was exactly the same each day so we ended up dining wherever we had docked for the day butc8f we were at sea we used the dining room. That is such a far cry from my HAL experiences. Upon my entry to the casual dining area on the 9th deck a crew member is immediately at my elbow asking if he/she may be of assistance. I have never had to carry my own plate(s) while at breakfast nor at lunch. By day 2 a waiter knows my beverage choice and brings water, juice and coffee to our table. On my Panama Canal cruise I had aniice young man who served my daughter and me at our furstckunch tten at breakfast the next mirning and again at lunch that day. We continued with wonderful service from him throughout our 22 days. He learned that I loved blueberries and one morning there were none on the fruit bar when my daughter went to get us some fresh fruit. He was serving our coffee when she returned to our tabke and tell me sorry but no blueberries today. He grinned and went ibto tteckutchen abd returned with a snall bowl of blueberries for me. He explained they were out but wiukd be taking on fresh foods as soon as we docked mid morning. They did not have enough on hand to put out a container of blueberries but he fixed me the small bowl and saved them for me. Now that is what I call great service. And it’s not just the dining crew and the cabin crew members who areclije that. I have even hsd officers offer me their assistance in gathering my foid choices for breakfast and lunch. I also enjiy the ability of sitting with different people each night at dinner. I hsve met so many interesting folks from all over the world and enjoyed getting to know them and learning about their home countries. I chose that option as I am a people person
I was not given an option on RCC. My granddaughter and I were seated at a 2 top for our entire cruise and only interacted with our 2 assigned waiters.
Even in my earlier days of cruising wgrn seating times and tables were assigned I always enjoyed being at a larger table where you met new people.
I wiuld h8ghky recommend you get in touch with HAL. You can go to their website ir you can call them toll free and you don’t need a middle man to handle arrangements as their agent can book flights, hotels, transportation, etc. I really enjoy cruising because I can visit multiple places and I only have to unpack once and I am not constantly getting in and out of hotels and various modes of transportation. I can also sekect to have my laundry done whike on-board and if I wish to just veg one day I can have room service 24/7. If I wish to go off the ship the excursion desk is most helpful in being honest with me as to what I can physically handle. I have only been told 1 time that the cruiseline recommended I not try to get off and back on. It was at a particular docking in Alaska and there was a very low tide and the ramp (gangplank) was at a very sharp angle going down from the ship to the dock. The crew was afraid I would lose control of the scooter going diwn and the scooter would not have the power to come back up such an incline l. I watched able bodied passengers having difficulty getting back on the ship and I agreed that it would be unsafe for me. I appreciated their assistance each time I left and returned so I was glad to take their sdvice and stay safe.
Go and try a cruise; I think you will enjoy it. I can’t wait to go again.

I have used Vacations to Go and have had no problems in accessibility on Princess and Holland America. I generally will visit the online website for the particular line before contacting my travel agent to see what accessible cabins are available. The ship deck plan will tell you whether there is a roll in shower or bathtub, and
The square footage and layout snd whether the balcony is accessible by wheelchair.if you do s dry run booking the cabin online eith Princess and they don’t have available balconies that are accessible sometimes an upgrade is provided to s suite with no additional cost. I strongly recommend arriving at the cruise port or transfer point the night before your cruise in case there are airline delays. Expect delays. Use the cruise line airport transfers. Princess provides accessible transportation to those who need it and booking airfare through the cruise line can save you money. I have s ocean cruise coming up on Viking and they are less tolerant of scooters on their ocean ships bit I contacted them directly and they approved my 70 lb foldable scooter. They will not allow any wheelchairs on the river cruises in Europe.