I'll write about this holiday in 2 blogs. The first being all about the cruise, and the second more about the details of preparing for it.
My year of 2018 is starting off with one big bang, and that is I'm going on a cruise to New Zealand! My gorgeous Mum is going, as well as a lovely friend of mine, who will be staying with me and helping me out when I need it.
Friends of mine had told me about this cruise to New Zealand, and how they'd seen people in wheelchairs on board. Not to mention how fabulous the cruise was for them, and that there was so much to do on the ship and on land at the ports. So I decided that we needed a holiday and that this might be the only way I could do it. It's been 14 years since Mum had one, and 10 years for me. I started to entertain the idea and see if it would be possible, as I have so many special needs. I always felt that it would present to many obstacles and not be possible.
May 2016 the journey began, I had no idea where to start. I first asked a travel agent friend of ours who was unable to help other than name which ship was a good one to go on. Then I called into a travel agency near home who specialise and only do cruises. They had no idea how to help me or what direction to steer me in. I googled like crazy to see if there was anything online for people in wheelchairs that would make it easier for me, however there was nothing. Another dear friend gave me a big book/brochure she'd come across at a travel agency she'd gone to. I looked at the brochure and their website but the cruises they had were very expensive. I then remembered that friends had been on the cruise, so asked them which boat they'd been on. That led me to look at Princess Cruises online to get a little bit of an idea of the cruises that were available.
Luckily I am pretty competent when it comes to looking around at websites and researching things on the internet, plus I enjoy it, so I started to look at their site. I looked at what cruise types were available, where they left from, how long they were for, what was available for people in wheelchairs, and of course the cost. My final move was to call Princess Cruises.
Through May to September 2016 I kept see sawing between entertaining the idea of a cruise, then feeling that it would too hard with my needs. The result being that I didn't do much about it other than every now and then I'd look at the cruise site. By the time September 2016 came around, I thought no, I'M GOING FOR IT! I called Princess Cruises and spoke to a fabulous lady based in Sydney, who gave me heaps of information and steered me in the direction of looking at certain pages on the website. I got different costings, wrote them down, and then spoke to Mum about the idea and details. My instinct was telling me to GO FOT IT, I'D WORK OUT ALL THE DETAILS LATER. The one thing that works in my favour is that my mind still works, I'm great at problem solving and coming up with solutions. The cruise also left from Melbourne so I wouldn't need to fly anywhere, which I didn't want to do. The deal was that I wanted Mum to have a total rest from caring for me, so she'd have her own cabin. I'd then invite a friend who was able to assist with my needs in the morning, at night time, then any ad hoc needs during the day. After getting the price and doing my costings I knew it'd be possible. Although It'd take me 1.4 years to save for it, it’d be worth it. WE BOOKED IT IN SEPTEMBER 2016 for 13 nights from Melbourne
THE TOTAL AMOUNT FOR MY SPECIAL WHEELCHAIR CABIN, WITH A PORTAL WINDOW - $ 5,138.00.
THE DEPOSIT - $ 912.00.
BALANCE DUE to be paid in total by OCTOBER 2017.
Looking at these figures I decided that it was possible to save the amount needed, and have some left over for excursions and spending. WOOOHOOO!
THE BOAT WE ARE GOING ON IS CALLED "THE GOLDEN PRINCESS". Below is the link to the site for the ship if you are interested in looking at it.
THE CRUISE DETAILS -
- Day 1 - The ship leaves from Port Melbourne where all the cruise ships come into, and the Tasmanian ferry is frequently seen.
- Day two, three and four we are at sea for three days.
LET THE PAMPERING BEGIN - On day two I have booked a Shellac manicure, followed by a deep tissue massage (my feet, legs, back, neck and head) on day three. I'll stay in the wheelchair (as I'm unable to walk), and the massage therapist can work on the areas mentioned above as he wheelchair tilts back.
- Day 5 - Auckland is the first stop. I can't wait as I HAVE A COUSIN who lives there and I haven't seen her since she was a little girl. So, we'll get to meet her and her family. As well as wonderful friends who we grew up with in South Africa who also live there. It'll be SOOOO EXCITING. The ship is there between 1 pm - 8 pm.
- Day 6 - Next stop Tauranga where we are doing a fabulous excursion. I can't remember and can't get in to see it on the booking today. I can remember that it's about a 9 hour excursion. I have to go on the excursions in a manual wheelchair. I'm not sure why but will be able to say why when I get back.
- Day 7 is Gisborne. Unfortunately the ship can't pull into the port so I'm unable to get off. They use smaller boats for people to get into to go to land. Mum is off on an excursion, and I've booked in for a fancy facial!
- Day 8 we pull into Wellington. Here we are doing a bus ride around the city for 3 hours or so in the morning. Then we'll venture off on our own. I've researched all the things we can do for the afternoon, it'll be fun!
- Day 9 Akaroa where again I am unable to go to shore. The next pampering session is another deep tissue massage!
- Day 10 Dunedin. Sadly there were only three wheelchair accessible excursions I could go on, and they have very limited spots. I missed out on this excursion although Mum is on it. So we'll be doing our own thing which is fine.
- Day 11 we spend the day cruising to and through the Fiordland National Park which is supposed to be stunning. I can't wait for that!
- Last but least two days spend on the ocean relaxing, and finally back home.
1st TIME ON A CRUISE
1ST TIME TO NEW ZEALAND
1ST HOLIDAY AS A PAREPLEGIC
1ST HOLIDAY IN 10 YEARS
In a wheelchair permanently since early 2010 due to a disease called NMO. I am loving getting out and about in my wheels. My blogs capture my journey.