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Mobility Issues? No Problem!

November 14, 2018

Cruises

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Do you want to travel but have mobility issues? (don’t we all sometimes?) Need a little extra help? You don’t have to stay at home! We can help you plan a wonderful journey on a river cruise.

Senior couple on vacation on a Danube river cruiseMy husband Alan and I have both seen more than a few summers(!) and, in addition, Alan has had two knee replacements, so we want to make travel easy for both of us.

We just returned from a seven-night Danube river cruise on the beautiful AMA Waterways ship AMAViola, and found that a river cruise has all of the excitement of visiting interesting places with much less anxiety. Worried about stairs?  There is a glass elevator which goes to all guest levels.  It may be necessary to go up stairs to the sun deck to disembark if there is another ship docked next to your ship.  We experienced that only once.  At present, however, it is not recommended that a traveler who is dependent on a wheelchair travel on a European river cruise.

The guest room corridors can be quite long, but choosing a cabin close to the elevator minimizes your walk. We can help you choose the stateroom which will be most comfortable for your needs.  Inside the cabin there are chairs for your comfort.  There is a large stand-in shower and a shower chair will be provided on request. There is a low threshold into the shower which would require one step.

A gentle walkers option is offered for almost every excursion. In most cases, this includes a vehicle to transport you to the site to be visited. For example, instead of walking up a steep hill to a castle, we were driven in a minivan directly to the gate.  In another instance, we rode a mini-train to the town center. However, there may be some walking required. In that case, you can use the Nordic walking sticks provided. On some ships, there is s foldable electric scooter available for guests. We have seen a few guests who have brought their own rollator walkers and they manage very well. Occasionally, a tour or excursion is truly not suited to gentle walkers. In that case, you can relax in the ship’s lounge and enjoy the scenery and some snacks!

You will find that the AMAViola crew goes above and beyond to assist their guests. When Alan walked into the dining room, a server brought him a Diet Coke without his even asking. Another waiter brought an assortment of pastries to the table so that he didn’t have to go to the breakfast buffet. If a crew member saw him walking on the gangplank, they offered a supporting arm.

One recommendation that I give to everyone whether they have limited mobility or not – pack lightly! Buy yourself a spinner suitcase that you can manage. Make it small enough that you never have to worry about your luggage being overweight. If you need it, there is laundry service on the ship at very reasonable prices.

Note: look for a blog from me in the near future about how I pack for a 2-3 week trip to Europe. There is also an excellent video by Jennie on The Travel Mechanic Blog, CLICK HERE. She is my packing hero!

Now all you need to do is to pack your bag, grab your passport and you’re on your way! Give us a call today 803-335-1411 – Bon Voyage!

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