Exploring Accessible Adventures: From Historic Ships to Seas - Ken and Cheryl's Journey

Uncategorized Feb 02, 2024

First post of the series

A Leisurely Stroll & Cruise Embarkation:

From Hilton to Holland America Koningsdam As the sun began to paint the sky on a beautiful morning, Cheryl and I peered out from our breakfast spot at the Hilton Homewood Suites Bayside, the Holland America Koningsdam ship in sight, seemingly inviting us for an adventure. Inspired by the serene setting, we decided to walk to the port, embracing the journey ahead.

The Scenic Route to the Port

The hotel clerk estimated our walk to be a brief ten minutes. However, we were not in any rush, choosing instead to soak in the picturesque San Diego waterfront. Our path from the hotel to the port was not only accessible but also an opportunity to capture the essence of our surroundings on camera.

With Cheryl navigating her Whill Model F scooter, equipped with an action camera, and me managing our luggage, we embarked on our mini-adventure. Our stroll was a blend of calm waters, gentle sailboats, and the bustling docks, each...

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Wheelchair Adventures Across the Pacific: An 18-Day Journey to Hawaii with Holland America's Koningsdam

Uncategorized Feb 01, 2024

18 Days of Wheelchair Accessible Travel to Hawaii on Holland America's Koningsdam

Join us on an 18-day journey to Hawaii, showcasing wheelchair-friendly travel experiences aboard the Holland America Koningsdam. In this blog series, we're dedicated to highlighting accessible travel options, sharing the effectiveness of our decisions each day.

Day 1: From Tampa to San Diego with Accessibility Insights

Our journey began with a drive to Tampa Airport, where we took advantage of Florida's accessible vehicle parking privileges. Our car, equipped with a mobility device lift, allows for free parking—a huge plus for travelers with disabilities.

Choosing the Right Mobility Device for Travel

For this Hawaiian adventure, we're using the Whill Model F. It's akin to Cheryl's regular Whill Ci2 but boasts a lighter frame and foldability, crucial for tender ports. Our luggage includes two backpacks and two large roller bags for our 19-night trip. We've cleverly arranged one backpack to ride on...

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Norwegian Viva Cruise: A Comprehensive Accessibility Review - Part 1

Uncategorized Dec 03, 2023

Norwegian Viva Accessibility Review

The Norwegian Viva is the sister ship to the Norwegian Prima.  The accessibility onboard is very similar.  We had the privilege of touring the public areas in the haven, but did not get to see the accessible room there.

We boarded early as visitors to film cabin tours while the ship was basically empty.  Once we finished filming we got checked in and filmed some of the public areas.

Hudson’s Restaurant is one of the main dining rooms on board, and it was open for lunch on embarkation day. Most people don’t know a restaurant is open for lunch that day and they dash to the buffet, which becomes overcrowded and inconvenient, especially with any kind of mobility device. 

Lunch in Hudson’s

On NCL, we always find the open dining room and get our trip started with a very relaxing and enjoyable sit-down meal. In Hudson’s we were seated immediately as the restaurant was mostly empty and were given...

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Boarding and our Room on the Ascent

Uncategorized Nov 29, 2023

Arrival and Boarding

We stayed at the Holiday Inn Expresss on SE 17th street.  It is only about 15 minutes from the cruise port.  We left the hotel about 10 minutes till 11:00 and then went to the port, we dropped our bags, parked the car and went back to the terminal.

Our first view of the Celebrity Ascent

Check in was a breeze, we had completed all our paperwork in advance.  After passing through security, we had our photo taken by an agent with a tablet, and were told we could proceed to the ship.  They scanned us on as we left the terminal area and we went up the ramp to the ship.  We dropped our backpacks in the room which was not ready and were in the Oceanview Café by 12:00.

Welcome cake in Ocean View Cafe

Port Everglades from the Ocean View cafe

We were booked into an accessible concierge class cabin and didn’t know that we could have had lunch in the Tuscan dining room.  We did find all we wanted to eat in the Oceanview...

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Unlocking a World of Opportunities: Catering to Baby Boomers and Disabled Travelers in the Travel and Leisure Industry

Introduction

In the sprawling landscape of the travel and leisure sector, two demographics emerge with a promise of untapped potential - Baby Boomers and disabled travelers. With a combined annual spending of over $178 billion on leisure travel alone, these segments present a significant market opportunity waiting to be explored.

Values in $Billions

An Untapped Market Opportunity

Recent data underscores a promising growth trajectory in both markets. The Baby Boomer cohort, comprising individuals aged 60 and over, is expected to more than double globally from 841 million in 2013 to over 2 billion by 2050. Their penchant for luxury travel accounts for a whopping 80% of the market share, translating to over $120 billion in annual expenditure.

Growth Trends in Baby Boomer and Disabled Traveler Segments

On the flip side, the disabled travelers market is gaining traction rapidly. The economic impact of this demographic continues to burgeon, with adults dedicating $58.7...

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Why Should You Never Cruise Without a Passport and Insurance?

cruise insurance passport Sep 22, 2023

Cruising is one of the most luxurious and relaxing ways to see the world. But what happens when unexpected events turn your dream vacation into a nightmare? The importance of cruising with a valid passport and comprehensive travel insurance cannot be overstated. Let's dive into why.

1. The Risk of Being Denied Boarding

Imagine arriving at the port, bags packed, ready for your cruise adventure, only to be denied boarding. This nightmare became a reality for a woman in 2017, when she was denied boarding on a Carnival Cruise from Miami because she lacked proper identification. The result? She missed the entire cruise.

2. The Nightmare of Being Stranded Abroad

During a recent incident with a cruise ship needing repairs, the cruise line chartered flight for the passengers to fly home.  The passengers on the ship that did not fly home were denied permission to leave the ship for the airport in the Dominican Republic ...

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Navigating the Seas of Accessibility: An Exclusive Chat with Virgin Voyages' Alex Zeitz

When it comes to accessible travel, Virgin Voyages is making waves in the industry. Recently, I had the distinct pleasure of sitting down with Alex Zeitz, the director of crew and sailor experience at Virgin Voyages. Our conversation delved deep into their commitment to accessibility, upcoming itineraries, and the overall sailor experience. Here's a peek into our enlightening discussion.

Meeting Alex Zeitz

Right from the start, Alex's passion for Virgin Voyages shone through. Residing in New York City, he shared insights about how Virgin Voyages operates, emphasizing the flexibility offered to him to stay connected with the ships and their many journeys.

Prioritizing Accessibility

Virgin Voyages is not just about luxury and exotic destinations; they are deeply committed to inclusivity. One of the most pressing questions I had was about the accessibility efforts Virgin Voyages has made. Alex provided a comprehensive overview, detailing the design and amenities onboard. From...

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Majestic Colonial Resort Room 4108: A Wheelchair-Accessible Haven?

Uncategorized Sep 15, 2023

Have you ever wondered about the accessibility features of the Majestic Colonial Resort? Cheryl and I had the pleasure of staying in Room 4107, and we were thoroughly impressed. For wheelchair travelers, this room might be a game-changer.

Ease of Entry
Navigating to our room was a breeze with a broad sidewalk that accommodated both scooters and wheelchairs. The unique wrist band unlocked the door, which opened inwards effortlessly. With a width of 34”, it's safe to say that the majority of mobility devices could pass through with ease.

The Exceptional Bathroom
Divided into two functional areas, the bathroom offers both style and accessibility. While the garden tub may require a lift and isn't readily accessible, the vanity boasts ample space underneath for wheelchair users. The sink controls are not just within easy reach, but also designed as a user-friendly lever.

The real gem? A spacious wet room. Beside the toilet, you'll find ample space for transfers and a handy drop-down...

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Our Journey from West Palm Beach to Miami with Brightline

Getting to the Miami Brightline Station: A Memorable Journey

Embarking from West Palm Beach

On our way to the Dominican Republic, Cheryl and I opted for a unique experience with Brightline, starting at West Palm Beach. Following a fantastic tour of the expansive Orlando station, our excitement grew to see how West Palm Beach compared. With GPS guidance, we effortlessly arrived and parked on the 9th floor of the garage.

Parking Features & Accessibility

Navigating the neatly organized multi-tiered parking structure was a breeze. With dedicated spaces for Brightline passengers and impressive handicapped spots and charging stations for electric vehicles, we felt catered to. However, a note for solo wheelchair users: the stiff door closer might be challenging. Thankfully, crossing the street was seamless, leading us to the station's inviting automatic doors.

Stiff Door                             ...

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Getting to New Orleans and the stay there

Uncategorized Jul 21, 2023

 

We made arrangements for one of our young friends to watch the house, and she was nice enough to take us to the airport.  We flew out of Greensboro, NC to Atlanta and then to New Orleans on Delta.  We like Greensboro because the lines for the TSA checkpoint are never very long.  We were TSA pre-check for the outbound flight which makes the process even easier.  With the wheelchair, they had to swipe it to check for explosives.  Since my wife has numerous metal parts, she always sets off the alarm, and it only took a few seconds for the manual pat down and then we were off to the gate.  One thing I forgot to do was to notify the airline that we needed assistance.  Cheryl just walked the wheelchair down the ramp, and that worked without issue.
 

The flights went off without a hitch, and we were into New Orleans a little before noon on Wednesday.  We caught a taxi to the hotel, and I think the driver ripped us off...

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