Cruising for a Good Time

On September 17, my fiancée and I headed from Columbus, Ohio to Fort Lauderdale, Florida to take a cruise on the Allure of the Sea. We flew Southwest Airlines, as they are the most "chair-friendly" airline. Upon landing, we took a bus with a lift from the airport to the pier. Within 15 minutes of arriving at the pier, we were on board Allure. Due to Hurricane Irma, our route changed to the Western Caribbean, but I had never seen the ocean before so it was all the same to me!

Chris aboard the Allure of the Sea cruise ship

Getting to the Cruise Ship

If you are planning a trip, I recommend you do your research with the airlines ahead of time and make sure they know you need an aisle chair, help from gate to gate, etc. Patience at the airports is key. We've had airlines damage chairs, so my personal recommendation would be to only use Southwest if possible. Pack catheters and any meds in your carry-on bag. Make sure transportation from the airport to the pier is truly accessible with a lift if you need one.

Use the Royal Caribbean "luggage valet system" for disembarking. It costs a few dollars, but you simply put your luggage outside your cabin door on the last night and it arrives at your final destination... no carrying your own luggage!

Setting Sail

Getting around the cruise ship wasn't a problem. There are 12 elevators on each deck, so we rarely had to wait. The ship itself is truly accessible. There are distinct "neighborhoods" on board, each with a different feel but all wide enough to roll through. Barrier-free dining and ample bar space is the norm. The pool can get crowded on sea days. The main pool was fitted with a lift. Although Allure carries 6,000 passengers, you never feel crowded. We had an accessible room with roll-in shower and a balcony that was sizable on Deck 6. Our room steward made sure we had everything we needed at all times. The ship is very accessible from the time you embark until you disembark.

Chris's balcony on the cruise ship

Let the ship know if you need any help. They told us "all things are possible if you ask." Who would think you could get air in your wheelchair's tires on a ship in the middle of the ocean? We thought, "Well, let's ask." Mo, our room steward, looked at us funny at first (English was his third language), then said, "It will be fine." Mo left and returned with a hand pump and proceeded to fill the tires the old fashioned way. We couldn't help but be impressed by his diligence and his willingness to go above and beyond. They work 18-hour days with five hours of sleep per night, and always have a smile for everyone. If everyone had this work ethic and disposition the world would be a better place!

Chris and his fiancée aboard the Allure of the Sea cruise ship

We stayed on board the ship except for Falmouth, Jamaica, where we went shopping near the pier. We heard that some cities had high curb cuts, uneven surfaces, etc., so for a first cruise we didn't chance it. There was so much to do we never got to all of it! So we booked another cruise for 2018 on the same ship. Don't be afraid to get out and try things! Live life! Cruising is a great, fun, safe way to see the world. You don't know what is out there until you try.

About the Author

Chris Anderson

Chris Anderson is originally from Wisconsin but currently resides with his fiancée in a subrub of Dayton, Ohio. He likes to hunt, cook, and be outdoors. He is a huge fan of NASCAR and football. Travel is a newfound love and more is planned for the future. Chris was injured in a car accident in 2002 and has been a longtime Quickie fan.

Chris's ride is a Quickie Q7

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Date: 10/24/2017 12:00:00 AM

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