I had been very nervous before a 14-day land tour/cruise to Alaska since i am limited to some motorized wheel chair. Though I’m able to stand, I don’t walk whatsoever. When travelling inside a motorized wheel chair, there’s always a glitch with something which should be ADA compliant and is not.
Our trip started in Anchorage, after which required us to Copper Center, Fairbanks, Denali Park, Mt. McKinley and Talkeetna. Following the land tour, we boarded the cruiseship in Whittier and travelled southbound with the Inland Passage to Vancouver, with port docking in Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan.
Overall, the trip was wonderful from your ease of access perspective, even though there were a couple of hiccups that people experienced on the way. I introduced these to the cruise line’s attention and can share all of them with you.
This is a listing of tips and suggestions I’m making from my very own personal expertise if you’re thinking about a visit:
Never think that if somebody informs a room, transport, transfer, etc. meets ADA standards that it’s. There’s a large variance in interpretation and assumptions when one states it’s “ADA compliant.” You have to create a list of specific questions that need specific solutions from the tour operator nobody knows regarding your specific, needed accommodations.
After I began planning my trip, I labored with cruise line directly. I spoken with agents who really cruised around the ship i was taking, who could produce information on motorized wheel chair-ambiance around the ship which help me select a room. I additionally spoken with their access department about ease of access accommodations regarding on-land rooms in hotels, and items like shuttle/coachOrtrain lifts. We were holding very useful. I did not want to exercise a completely independent travel agent when i have discovered from experience that exact everything doesn’t always get clarified correctly, or get “lost in translation” when dealing via a third-party.
I booked my trip several months ahead of time, to ensure that I possibly could get precisely what I needed. For instance, I needed an area on the deck that contained a buffet, grill, and outdoors pools/seating/movies to get rid of elevator usage. Additionally, it saved us $1400 through getting an inside room–the outside open deck only agreed to be outdoors our door therefore we did not require a room balcony.
We booked in September since there were less crowds to navigate within the towns, with no youthful children. I’ve found that whenever I’m within my scooter, I must continually be searching out for other people a lot of people–especially kids-aren’t searching out for me personally. Additionally, we did not suffer from nasty flying bugs in those days of the year, we had the Northern Lights, gorgeous fall color, and also the days were awesome–50-60 levels. The cooler temperatures were great for me since my MS is extremely responsive to warm, damp days, which occurs frequently within the summer time several weeks in Alaska.
I sent instructions on paper for their Access Department proclaiming that I had been “limited to some motorized wheel chair”, therefore requiring lifts for those transport along with a roll-in shower for those rooms in hotels if available. I suggest delivering this type of letter if you’re totally limited, because this covers you later if problems develop, which within my situation it did.
For instance, there have been three motor coaches that showed up that didn’t have lifts. Fortunately, I’m small (125 lbs.) and my hubby is powerful, and so i could be transported up in to the coach. Otherwise, I’d have experienced to remain behind which may have disrupted my trip, and cancelled certainly one of my tours. Later on, this is exactly what I’d do and just what I would suggest others to complete: Seek advice from the Tour desk at each hotel that you simply remain at to re-make sure a transport having a lift is going to be for you for the following a few days. You may also re-confirm every other special needs you had requested in advance, like a roll-in shower. Two times I had been given an area with no roll-in shower, and then learned that this room was handed to a person who did not require one. If I used to be travelling with my sister rather of my hubby, I wouldn’t have had the ability to shower since she could not lift me right into a tub which had a seat place in it.
If you’re a part-time motorized wheel chair user, please be aware that you will find 5-7 steps rising into motor coaches and they’re quite steep.
The railroads had lifts, as did the separate tour buses in Denali Park.
Amazingly, the ease of access within the Alaskan towns–the tiniest inland places–was excellent. After I make use of a rest room, I want the help of my husband. We could look for a rest room which was big enough for the two of us, even in the roadhouses we stopped to consume in during our journey. Note: the railroad restrooms cannot accommodate two persons, so if you’re somebody that needs a assistant, you will have to get ready in different ways for that 5-6 hour ride.
If you are looking at going for a cruise or tour, I would recommend to begin planning your plans annually ahead of time because handicap accessible rooms are restricted and fill fast.