You know that feeling you get when you step off the plane into a new destination? It’s a sense of wonder and excitement about what is to come. It opens your mind and your senses for new experiences. When you gift the gift of travel, you’re offering more than just another tie or iPhone - you’re offering experiences that will last a lifetime. But what if you'd like to purchase travel for yourself and a family member who has limited mobility or uses an alternative form of communication? There are a host of options to choose from.
World Travel’s Marti Alexander says, “There are many different locations and forms of travel that cater to people with unique needs. In fact, all cruise ships sailing in U.S. waters are compliant with the ADA which allows for easy access to staterooms and around the ship.” She highly recommends Symphony of the Seas cruise ship by Royal Caribbean. There are accessible cabins with wide staterooms and ramped thresholds, and roll-in showers and turning spaces. The cruise ship’s public areas are also accessible with automatic doors, lifts for pools and whirlpools, and lowered playing tables at the casinos. The theaters provide listening devices and there is Braille/tactile signage in the public spaces. The ship is currently based in Miami and sails to the eastern Caribbean including Sint Maarten, Saint Kitts and Puerto Rico.
Alexander also recommends CocoCay Island in the Bahamas which is a beautiful island that is largely accessible with beach chair lifts for the Oasis Lagoon freshwater pool, the wave pool in the Thrill Waterpark and the infinity pool at the Coco Beach Club. There are hardscape paths to every cabana as well.
If mountains are more to your liking, Alexander recommends the Canadian Rockies by rail. The Rocky Mountaineer provides wheelchair access and transportation by golf cart at most stops. Scenic tours of Lake Louise, Banff and Jasper National Park make this an unforgettable journey.
The Vatican Museum in Rome, Italy, is easily accessible and provide lifts so that everyone has access to the Cupola to admire the magnificent frescoes of the Sistine Chapel famously designed and developed by Michelangelo. Alexander also recommends stops at the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon.
Toni Gregg of Spears Travel has found that Celebrity Cruises and Tauck Tours are very receptive to people with disabilities. Carol Faversham of Spears added that a company called Special Needs Group can provide cruise line passengers with mobility or oxygen assistance. “When my clients arrive to the cruise ship, a wheelchair is waiting. The company picks it up when they a done with the cruise. It’s very convenient and reliable.”
Many other travelers take a family member or a nurse to provide support to those with limited mobility. First Call Medical Staffing provides travel support to people needing minimal assistance (companions) to full assistance (skilled care). Leah Blackburn of First Call says, “Many of our healthcare professionals come with multistate licensures allowing them to provide skilled nurse in 29 states. The care we provide runs the gamut from companionship to mobility assistance, medication management, feeding tubes and more.” In fact, First Call has sent caregivers and nurses to travel by private jet, commercial airlines, car and cruise ships all over the world.
Opening up someone’s world with travel is one of the best gifts to give. Now, where do you get started? Just reach out to one of our experts listed below and consider purchasing a few extras including a TSA PreCheck and City Guidebook by Lonely Plant.
Travel, cruises and tours
Marti Alexander, World Travel
918.743.8856 x262, WorldTravelToday.com
Toni Gregg and Carole Faversham, Spears Travel
Traveling caregivers and nurses
Leah Blackburn, First Call Medical Staffing
Cruise wheelchair and air services
Travel gift resources