I am often asked which cruise line and destination are my favorites; 16 years ago I took my first cruise aboard Holland America to the Pacific Northwest. The crew was the happiest people on earth and within a few days they knew my name and pronounced it correctly; quite the feat, with a name like Tarita! I loved the entertainment and the food was endless!! Someone told me that there are two types of people; the ones that become cruise addicts, and the ones that after a few days, want to walk the plank!
I became the one that became a cruise addict, as I unpacked once and visited many places.
Having a disability was never a concern in the early stages of MS; however, 18 years later it is foremost in my decision making. Every cruise that I have taken has been accessible; however, some received a better grade than others’. Holland America, RCCL and Celebrity provided exceptional facilities for us ‘disabled’. I pay very close attention to many things; being a Travel Agent, it was my job to learn the dynamics of cruise lines & destinations.
Alaska is a favorite of mine and I have been a few times! Enjoying fresh, hot steaming pea soup on the deck as I watched the glaciers as they were caving was an amazing experience! The wildlife and discussions with the park ranger was a great quality that set Holland America apart. They are among the very few cruise lines that can visit Glacier Bay National Park’ this is a ‘must see’ destination for those who love nature.
Europe is a romantic destination and Gondola trips in Venice are something that us romance lover’s dream of; however, having MS rendered me with balance issues. I had horrific thoughts of spending time in the water! I was amazed when I formed a relationship with a fabulous accessible service provider, who could assist you in a wheelchair to board the boat! Europe was becoming an accessible romantic destination; and my cruise with RCCL was all that I dreamed of! I have become spoiled and love having a balcony cabin onboard; enjoying a cup of tea in the morning on my verandah was lovely. I have learned in my years in this wonderful industry that one needs to smell a destination, taste a destination to truly envelope themselves; which was not difficult in Paris(the smell of the bakeries still makes my mouth water!)
We all love the feel of sand, the smell of the ocean and a visit to the Mexican Riviera aboard Holland America is a seamless trip; however, there are ports that require a tender* (small boats that take you ashore) Holland America has a wonderful mechanism that lowers you into the tender, and provided that the tides cooperate, is a great system! There is always a helping hand with HAL (Holland America), and as strange as it may sound; it is comforting to feel that they ‘have your back’.
I have visited many cruise ships and each cruise line has its own personality and we will find the best match for your needs. I smile as I learn something new every day in the accessible world of travel that I am enjoying.
It is difficult to choose a favorite cruise line; we each have specific needs and desires based on our age etc. The only thing that I can say with 100% certainty is that travel is inclusive-not exclusive.’