A Cruise of Recuperation, Relaxation and Recovery.
Cabin 8234 (Handicap)
There are some who have come to this page in search of our May 24th cruise, including Half Moon Cay. Unfortunately that trip was not taken. In fact this trip was “last minute” and I’m afraid that there were very few photos taken. I have approached this particular trip entry from a different point of view and here is why –
Life can change from one moment to the next
and that became true for us at the beginning of May. One Friday morning we awoke to discover that John had suffered a stroke sometime during the night. He was alert but had extreme weakness and inability to move his left side except by an inch or so. It is through the excellent care of so many doctors and nurses at the Veterans Hospital in Syracuse, NY that he has come so far in his recovery. He was on the Acute Rehabilitation ward where they worked with him up to four hours a day on therapy.
Perhaps it is because the personnel working within veterans hospitals truly understand what makes these military men and women “tick,” but when we mentioned having to cancel a cruise, they began talking with John about what it’s like on a cruise ship. Yup, the Chief kind of lit up as he talked about the Serenity area, how well he sleeps at night, etc. etc. (you can imagine the rest). By that stage all of us were in agreement, John could definitely consider taking a cruise to continue his recovery. He worked so very hard towards that goal, it looked like it would become a reality. John’s plan was to use his walker to go to the dining room, but use his wheelchair for longer distances on the ship. We knew he would sleep good at night, exercise the way he was shown in the hospital, and just get some much needed rest. We would only be getting off at one port (Port Canaveral) to visit our daughter and her family.
Through the help of our PVP, Marsha, we were able to cancel the May 24th cruise and re-book for June 7th. It should be noted here that we usually purchase the travel insurance and after this, we probably always will purchase it. Marsha is the best – she was able to secure a great cabin that would accommodate the wheelchair. Cabin 8234 is near the aft elevators on the port side. It would be an easy trip to use the walker down to the Main Dining Room on Deck 2 Aft. (Early and Late dining are on Deck 2 while the YTD is on Deck 3).
We’ve never cruised on the Pride before, although we suspected it would be very similar to her sister ship, the Legend (we definitely like the Legend). Baltimore is about six hours away from us (maybe 7 — don’t forget I was driving!) I was more nervous about a new port and how it was set up as far as parking is concerned, where the entrance was, where do I pay for parking, where do I leave the luggage – I can think of lots of things I worry about. But I found a great aerial shot of the port and then read some reviews in Cruise Critic that answered many of my questions.
The parking lot is surprisingly easy to maneuver around in and they do a great job of organizing and telling you where you should be.
We were most fortunate (and early), so we found a great parking spot near the crosswalk. Up until that point everybody else had been putting the wheelchair in the back and taking it out, so this was to be my first time wrestling with it. It just was one of those moments when you grit your teeth and go for it – after all, you can’t get on the ship until you empty the car out. But it was great that we had already dropped off the luggage, that made things a lot easier.
We wheeled John over to the entrance and were directed to the far right corner where the Platinum/Diamond room is located. Somewhat small room with only two desks and a few chairs. We waited for awhile and then checked-in with our paperwork. A representative took us to the doorway and pointed to the area we would be going to next. Now here is where I raised my eyebrows a bit — I’m dragging carry-on bags and pushing John’s wheelchair. I had to ask the woman if there was someone who could help me. Her answer was “Well, let me see if I can find anyone.” It took awhile to finally get a rep to help us. A crew member named “Alan” came to our rescue and pushed John all the way up. He was such a nice young man (then again, they all look young to me!). I’m just surprised that there wasn’t more help in the terminal itself, but I guess it might have been an off-day, who knows? I heard that magic ding of my S&S card going in and my spirits rose to the rooftop! Which way do we go? Which way do we go? So many choices!
Lunch was calling us! We had breakfast somewhere in Pennsylvania at an ungodly hour at a McDonalds with only drive-thru service. So it was indeed time for lunch. Spotted a great table in the buffet area near the window and John held our spot while I went foraging for nourishment. I was standing in the Grille line waiting for our sandwiches. An outside bar waiter came up behind me and asked me something — I didn’t understand. He repeated “Do you want a chicken drink?” To which I replied “a what?” He repeated again “do want a chicken drink? That man over there says you want a chicken drink” and points to John. Then the fog in my brain begins to clear; John was ordering our “first drink on board” drinks. Traditionally that is a Funship Freddy for John and a Yellow Bird for me. John couldn’t remember the name of my drink but he knew it was either a bird or a chicken. I suppose that’s close enough — the chicken drink.
Next Stop – Check Out the Cabin
Marsha, our PVP, had given us a description of the “modified” cabin as compared with a “handicap” cabin. Although there is more than enough room for the wheel chair, there would be no room to really use a scooter and get it turned around. We were okay with that. She described the doorway as being 35″ wide, with a wheel-in shower; however, the balcony did have an approximately 7″ lip. (I think I’ve seen photos online that show a little ramp over the lip, but I’m not sure if it came with cabin or if you had to ask the steward). John was good and only went out on the balcony when I was around and it was easy to get the walker over the doorway and out on the balcony.
I had thought there would be many photos online of this cabin because it is so special, so I didn’t take a lot of photos (other than the bathroom area and balcony). Perhaps some of these views will help you.
Suggestion – but then everybody is different.
When we made the reservation we asked that the beds be in a “king size” configuration. And that worked out okay, except John obviously had to have the open side closest to the bathroom. Which left the wall to me. Anytime I wanted to stretch out on the bed I had to either crawl up from the bottom or crab-walk along side the wall. The wall pathway was not without dangers; all that side-stepping I kept hitting my head on the wall or my knees or knocking myself over onto the bed. Then one day after we were home, I saw a photo of the bed made up as twins with a space in between. That was my great “DUH!” moment — that would have made getting in and out of bed so much easier (and less painful). But of course it’s up to the individual, so choose wisely.
Bathroom in Depth
Here is a very important part of this review for someone who truly needs to see what the bathroom facilities look like in the cabin.
Now on to the Balcony (“bowling alley”)
I was standing in front of the balcony door when I took this photo, so it doesn’t truly show you how long the actual balcony measures. This balcony was wonderful and gave John the opportunity to just “be at peace” and listen to the water. It was a great place also to do some walking with his walker.
Here’s another photo from the far end by the lounge chairs looking back. One picture may have a better perspective on it.
This blog is taking just a bit of time to work on and I know there are people who might be interested in reading the Fun Times for this itinerary. I’m going to post all the Fun Times that I collected (in pdf format).
060815 Sea Day
060915 Sea Day
061015 Port Canaveral
061315 Sea Day
The following pdf’s are the “tear-out” part of the Fun Times. I only copied the side that had the opening/closing times of restaurants and such. Hopefully this will still be of value to you — enjoy!
Information from Onboard
Click here Fun Ashore Excursion Booklet
Most of the excursion stay the same in the various ports, with a few exceptions. It’s always nice to decide ahead of time what you might like to enjoy.
Click on the links below for a PDF version:
Touring the Ship, Viewing the Port and Muster Drill
We did a brief tour of the ship and took a few photos. Having been on the Legend several times and the Pride being a sister ship in the same class, it was easy to find our way around. Each area may go by a different name, but the locations are very similar. John says it makes it easier for me to find the casino — yup, I suppose it does!
Sunset Garden (Deck 3, Forward)
What a great place to take a leisurely walk inside and enjoy some quiet time. It’s also a wonderful spot for pre-arranged meetings with friends and family. You can look out at the water and watch the sunset, sunrise, passing ships!
This is our favorite stop to make at night before we head to the cabin. The drink selection is out of the ordinary and you just want to try everything you see (the adult version of a candy store). Each time we passed through the area, there were people enjoying themselves; there was always a crowd.
They’re alcoholic, yes…but they taste so refreshing that you sure do feel like a whole new person. John’s choice is usually The Quick Fix, he loves the absinthe flavor. I tend to go mild with something along the lines of a Cosmopolitan.
Love the decorations they have. I tried to get around to the various displays but there was usually an activity going on while I was passing through.
Wandering on the Deck
As I mentioned before, we’ve never been to the Port of Baltimore (Cruise Maryland). It was interesting to see the ships that were docked in the general area of the Pride.
I have two brothers who were Navy and a husband who was Coast Guard, so everyone is curious about the different ships that we see. There were two in port that I could see (and read the ship’s name).
This is a vessel that lays cables underwater for SubCom, the Reliance. It is, according to their website, specifically designed and constructed for cable maintenance and construction. If you look at the equipment on the aft deck, the fact that its job is to lay cable underwater makes sense.
The next ship, the Cape Wrath, made me so curious. It looked military but it didn’t have a name that I recognized.
Half the fun of researching the things we see while traveling is that I learn so much. I immediately hit up the ultimate research tool — the Internet– and found the answers I was looking for:
MV Cape Wrath was originally built as a commercial ship in 1982 and sold to the Grace Marine Company, It served as a merchant ship until it was purchased by the US Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration on 7 April 1993. From there it was later transferred to the Maritime Administrations Ready reserve fleet and assigned to Maryland. Since then it has been activated to serve in bringing vehicles and supplies to Europe where they are air lifted to troops engaged in Iraq andAfghanistan. from Wikipedia
Time to Muster
It took a little bit of doing to find out where we should go for the muster drill since John was in a wheelchair. We asked several crew but didn’t quite get the correct answer. As it turns out (and I can’t remember who told us), we were to meet in the Alchemy Bar area.
Beyond the high table and chairs seen here is an area of very comfy chairs and sofas. This is where we all gathered for our muster drill. Two things kind of surprised me, but then I’m getting older maybe it shouldn’t surprise me: 1) lots of people stopped by and decided to have a seat there instead of going to their muster area (but I think they may have been honest mistakes), 2) Absolutely incredible how many people were wandering through the lounge area LONG after the drill had begun. Granted, I am not “my brother’s keeper” but when the time comes to go for the boats (heaven forbid), they are the ones who are going to go hysterical and start shoving everyone aside, grabbing lifejackets out of people’s hands, etc. (I can get dramatic, can’t I??) Sorry about that, I’m a teacher.
It’s Me Again
It’s been a long time since I entered anything on this page, but I still have some great photos. Couldn’t see letting them go to waste, so let my try posting a few and see if they are of interest to you.
Click on Page 2 below and we’ll start again