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accessiblewheelchairAbout Cruise Tenders

 

 

 


 

 



by choosing a
cruise professional,
rather than
an Internet website,
you're receiving
an extra value added
package as a bonus:
personal contact
with a real person,
personal service,
genuine feedback,
and
product knowledge

 


 

if you're
not comfortable
with your agents'
answers,
their knowledge
of accessibility,
or their initial
conversation,
pay attention
to the alarm
bells that are
sounding
between your
ears

 


 

while there are many
knowledgeable cruise
specialists in the
travel industry,
to make the most
of your cruise,
you need to
select an agent who
specializes in
accessible cruises

 


 

It's important that
you play fair,
with a sense of value -
who you question
about accessibility,
and who you make
your reservation with
should be
the same person

 


 

the mutual exchange
of personal information
builds trust
and allows your
cruise professional
access to information
that will allow them
to foresee pitfalls,
anticipate obstacles,
and to provide you
with the best
overall cruise
experience possible

 


 

think of the
process of
selecting a cruise ship
as similar to
selecting a
land based hotel.
Ask yourself,
who your neighbors
will be at sea,
what will your surroundings
look like,
are children onboard,
and what activities
will the ship offer

 


 

discover and understand
your expectations
for taking a cruise,
then select
the ship
and the itinerary
accordingly

 


 

the cost of
inside staterooms
is reduced more frequently
than the cost of outside
staterooms. The location
onboard ship with the
least motion is mid-ship.
This point is half way
between the
front (bow) and rear (aft),
midway between the
left side (port) and the right
side (starboard),
and midway between
the top deck and
bottom deck of the ship

 


 

Specialty cruises,
limited departures,
and holiday cruise
are most expensive
and their cost
seldom reduces.
Voyages that are sailed
throughout the season
are least expensive
at the beginning
and the end
of the season
and their cost
is more likely
to reduce
based on
popularity


 

SECRETS OF A SUCCESSFUL
ACCESSIBLE CRUISE


The secrets for having a successful and accessible cruise experience depend a lot more on making the right decisions, early on in your cruise planning, than it does choosing a new ship with big doorways and wheelchair accessible staterooms.

From the moment you decide to go on a cruise, your cruise experience begins. From that point on, "your earliest decisions are the ones that count the most." Making good decisions early in your planning will decide the difference between the experience of a lifetime and a bad experience that lasts a lifetime.

The first step you need to take is to ask a cruise professional for assistance. The Internet might ake a tempting invition to just point, click and pay, but succumbing to this temptation will fail to give you the detailed information you need about accessibility onboard the ship, and on land when the ship stops at the various ports-of-call.

Chances are you'd also like someone to know more about your personal needs and about your abilities. Not because telling someone about yourself makes you feel better - because you're looking for genuine feedback from someone who will reassure you that the decisions you're making are correct. Beyond that, the prices you find on the websites of the major Internet resellers differ little, or are exactly the same as the price you can obtain from a cruise professional. The Secret here: by choosing a cruise professional, rather than an Internet website, you're receiving a extra value added package as a bonus: personal contact with a real person, personal service, genuine feedback, and product knowledge. Often times, the person who's helping you has already sailed on the ship and the itinerary that interests you - and firsthand experience counts for a lot.

Now that you've decided to work with a live person instead of the Internet, the next important choices are to decide; where you look for advice, who you ask for assistance, and where you make your reservation.

When it's comes time to get detailed information about destinations, particular ships, and prices, it's time to locate a cruise professional. In your local area, sellers of travel are most likely travel agencies. Here travel agents work as "generalists" selling all kinds of travel including airline tickets, rail tickets, vacation packages, car rentals and cruises. There are also agencies designated "cruise only" agencies. Like their title suggests, these agencies only sell cruises. The Secret: while there are many knowledgeable cruise specialists in the travel industry, to make the most of your cruise, you need to select an agent who specializes in accessible cruises. Hopefully, after reading this article, and reviewing our website, you realize that Accessible Journeys is such an expert and you bring your business to us. But if you want to look further, it's best to ask to probing questions that will help your determine how much a prospective agent knows about helping a person with a disability.
 - How long have they been selling cruises?
 - How long have they been working at their current agency?
 - How long has the agency they're working for been selling travel?
 - How many times have they (your prospective agent) cruised?
 - What ships have they sailed on?
 - How many days were their individual cruises?

 - Have they inspected ships specifically for accessibility, and how many?
 - How long have they been selling accessible cruises ?
 - How many wheelchair travelers have they sent sailing?
The answers to these questions should give you a good sense of an agents background and abilty to help a person with special needs. They should also tell you if you proceed further. The secret is: if you're not comfortable with your agents' answers, their knowledge of accessibility, or their initial conversation, pay attention to the alarm bells that are sounding between your ears. Their telling you: "STOP - DO NOT PROCEED" and "DANGER - GO NO FURTHER." Take heed.
If this is the case, listen to the internal warming; be respectful to yourself and the prospective agent and continue with your search to find someone you're comfortable with who's knowledgeable about accessible cruises.

When you find an agent, make a commitment to do business with them, engage their services, and ask them to collect prices for you and mail you a cruise brochure. Until then, don't be guilty of squandering an agent's time and resources by asking them to collect prices for you or to mail you a brochure if you're not committed to doing business with them.

In the course of attempting to locate a suitable agent, it's possible that you could find two likable agents, with differing talents, from different agencies, and you're faced with the dilemma of deciding which one you should work with. If you get to that point, you need to ask yourself: "am I looking for the best price, or am I looking for someone with the most knowledgeable service?" As a consumer, you have a right to compare prices. At the same time, if you require someone to expend time and resources on your behalf, you have the responsibility to be honest and to avoid any deceptions. If you need to use two agents for a price comparison - then confine your inquiries to price comparisons! It's not appropriate to be prying information from either agent about accessible resources and accessibility if price is your primary concern. In fact in this instant, just use the internet.

On the other hand, if you' re greatest requirement is to have access to resources and knowledgeable about accessibility - then it's not appropriate to be using two agents! What you're looking for is knowledge and service - and the agency offering you the service your require should be the only agency you support with your time, inquiries, and patronage. The Secret: it's important that you play fair, with a sense of value - who you question about accessibility, and who you make your reservation with should be the same person.

If you are using two cruise professionals for a price comparison then tell each one what you are doing. By making your disclosure to each agent you're allowing each agent the opportunity to make an informed choice. Some agents enjoy the challenge and will work harder and more creatively to obtain your business. Others might find this situation is too risky and too costly (in the form of man hours and telephone time) and will decline to continue. Whatever the outcome, in all instances, be up front, tell the truth and be honest.

When you find a cruise professional that you are committed to working with, the need to establish good communication is critical. Take the time to tell your agent about yourself and your needs. Don't fear rejection and hold back information. Nothing hampers a professional agent more than a client who keeps secrets. While you may feel hesitant to discuss intimate and personal details with someone other than your family, or your physician, it is important that you discuss the full range of your needs with the person planning your cruise. This includes your requirements for bathroom equipment, your ADL's (tasks of Adult Daily Living), dietary intolerance and your transfer preferences.

The Secret: the mutual exchange of personal information builds trust and allows your cruise professional access to information that will allow them to foresee pitfalls, anticipate obstacles, and to provide you with the best overall cruise experience possible.

 
Now that that's out of the way, it's time to get down to the details of what you imagined this article was all about - choosing the ship you'll take. The choice of your cruise ship should perfectly fit your needs, abilities, your lifestyle and budget. With so many ships available their differences are more than decor. Some cruise lines look for the "young, sun and fun crowd" while others covet mature travelers preferring dinner theaters and Broadway performances. The Secret: to think of the process of selecting a cruise ship as similar to selecting a land based hotel. Ask yourself, who your neighbors will be at sea, what will your surroundings look like, are children onboard, and what activities will the ship offer?
At this point in the process it's critical that you uncover, discuss, and clarify what your expectations are for taking a cruise. Do you want to visit foreign lands? Do you want a quiet, romantic time spent with a significant other? Are you looking for a family vacation with your children? Or, do you simply want to relax with no responsibilities and no cell phone interruptions for seven days? Knowing your expectation allows your cruise professional to offer tailored suggestions, and to critique the realistic outcome of your choices. You may have looked through dozens of cruise brochures and found the cruise that looks perfect for you - but if your main goal is to relax, is it realistic to expect that you'll be able to relax on a ship catering to the young, sun and fun crowd over college break? Or, would you enjoy yourself on a week long flotilla featuring formal evening dining and big-band concerts when nothing suits you better than sipping a pina colotta and listening to Jimmy buffet? Don't under estimate the influence of the crowd you'll be sailing with. "Birds of a feather flock together" is sound advice when it comes to choosing a ship.

Other obvious considerations for ship selection are the cruise itinerary and the price. In the simplest terms, cruise itineraries cater to the two types of passengers: destination passengers and resort passengers. A destination passenger needs to get off the ship. How often and where they get off is very important. In the other camp is the resort passenger. The resort passenger likes nothing more then being onboard the ship and "living the life." This passenger takes a cruise because they enjoy the atmosphere of being on the ship, they love that someone feeds them and pampers them constantly. This makes the need to get off the ship one of the lowest priorities. The Secret: discover and understand your expectations for taking a cruise, then select the ship and the itinerary accordingly.

When it comes to the price of a cruise, there are a few elementary guidelines. The age of the ship influences the price. Newer and brand new ships are more expensive than older ones. Shorter duration cruises are more expensive (the cost per day/per person) than longer voyages. Holiday cruises are specially priced, as are one of a kind sailing's and limited seasonal itineraries (offering only 1 or 2 departures).

Onboard ship, different categories of staterooms also command different rates. On a simple scale, inside staterooms are the least expensive. Topping these are outside staterooms (they have a window with a view), following these are staterooms that have a private balcony. The categories that are more expensive than the outside rooms with a balcony are the mini-suites and suites. And, at the top of the wrung, not necessarily at the top of the ship, are "the big name suits" such as the "Owners Suite," the "Presidential Suite," and the like. Other influences on price are the location of the stateroom onboard ship, the sailing itinerary, the popularity of the itinerary, and the duration of the voyage. The Secret: the cost of inside staterooms is reduced more frequently than the cost of outside staterooms. The location onboard ship with the least motion is mid-ship. This point is half way between the front (bow) and rear (aft), midway between the left side (port) and the right side (starboard), and midway between the top deck and bottom deck of the ship.

If the time of year has the most influence on your plans, there are certain times of the year when cruises are more popular in some locations than in others. During winter in North America cruises focuse on sailing in warm weather climates like the Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii, South America, and the South Pacific. In the summer cruises in Alaska, The Mediterranean, Europe and the Baltic's are popular, while exotic passages to Asia and Canada/New England tend to occur in the Spring and Fall between these two seasons. The Secret: specialty cruises, limited departures, and holiday cruises are most expensive and their cost seldom reduces. Voyages that are sailed throughout the season are least expensive at the beginning and the end of the season and their cost is more likely to reduce based on popularity.

 
It's no wonder that more travelers in wheelchairs are discovering the pleasures of an unpack-once cruise vacation. Where else can you find exciting destinations, luxurious surroundings, continuous activities, and sumptuous meals in one all-inclusive vacation ? This year call a cruise planner at Accessible Journeys and choose to cruise.

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