A Personal Experience of Cruising with a Neurological Condition

As mentioned in my previous post, I concluded that in my opinion cruises are a perfect option for those with disabilities due to the excellent accessibility of cruise ships by large companies such as Royal Caribbean and the wonderful care that the staff provide for those passengers with a disability. It is also preferable to using air travel because of the lack of waiting around for hours in a large airport. However, as the first post was a general overview of cruising with a disability, I wanted to write another post, writing about my own experiences of going on a cruise with a neurological condition.

As regular readers will know, one of the main symptoms that I experience as a result of the brain stem lesion is dizziness and problems with my balance. As a result, I was hesitant about going on a cruise because of the severity of these issues that have been increasingly become worse recently. In fact, a few days before leaving for the holiday, I was in floods of tears stating that I couldn’t face going on the cruise because of how sick I have been feeling.

Read full article https://brainlesionandme.com/2014/05/30/a-personal-experience-of-cruising-with-a-neurological-condition/

I found this account helpful because with my specific
type of ataxia, I feel I can relate. Sharing basic common symptoms is one thing but it’s the variations that throw a spanner in the works.xB

I went on a cruise a few years ago (after a National Ataxia Foundation conference )
we left from Miami)

it was great, I was surprised how I really quickly got used to the motion !

it was actually like the movements of the ship were in sync. with my Ataxia !

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I went on a cruise last year. While everybody was complaining about the motion, I didn’t notice a thing! Walking felt completely natural, like it was on a normal day. No extra problems at all. The only thing that threw me a bit was the jet lag, due to the 11 hours time difference…

I went on a cruise in May this year and had no problem with motion but it was a problem waiting for the lift. I use a rollator and walking the length of the ship was good exercise. However at times of fatigue particularly in the evening after playing black jack and drinking gin, it was a real problem.

Patsy, gambling and drinking gin. I can see where ‘miles’ of flat area would be ideal for a nice saunter around. But, it would never cross my mind there’d be a queue for lifts. Lucky you have a seat on your rollator.:slightly_smiling_face:xB

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Gosh Patsy, I find the same thing. And I don’t even have Ataxia! LOL

Seriously, I’m interested that the motion isn’t more difficult for people with Ataxia. I would have thought just the opposite. Does anyone have an idea why that might be?

What an interesting thread: I don’t have Ataxia, rather, I have severe Psoriatic Arthritis. Cruise ships are my favourite holiday environment ever! The convenience and accessibility is incredible. The queues, though, are challenging. I use a mobility scooter, so in the interest of safety I keep well back to avoid others running into me (which happens a lot more that me running into them). Trouble is, people then cut in and it often takes me a long time to manage to board a lift. OK, so what’s my hurry? I just wait patiently, smile lots and chat. Occasionally someone else gets very irate on my behalf, and orders people aside because I was there first. And that’s OK too. :blush:

This is a fun thread, Alan! Thanks for starting it.

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LOL Beryl, now you [and everyone else] know my weaknesses. :smile:

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I’ve always had to contend with jet lag, just the 5hr difference between here and Florida floors me. This year I was fatigued actually travelling there. Then, I travelled on to San Antonio. It can take 2 weeks to pull myself together afterwards, with ataxia symptoms relapsing at the same time.

Ataxia is a strange condition to understand, and even when you experience the symptoms, it’s often difficult to put the sensation into words. I’ve often thought I would function better mentally if I chose to use a wheelchair or mobility scooter. That’s because while sitting down I’m not multitasking, I feel normal, I could take on the world.

Of course I’m thankful I can still walk but because of vestibular symptoms, I inhabit a very disorientating world.
What I know about cruise ships is limited to what I’ve seen on TV, and friends experiences. When the NAF Convention was held in Las Vegas I was horrified, simply because of my specific vestibular problems. Bright lights, noise and crowds, combined they are a nightmare. It can be exhausting just trying to function in that sort of situation. The nearest I come to that is a visit to the supermarket, senses are overloaded, there’s just too much to have to focus on. I miss being able to look at new clothes, just glancing along a rail and knowing if something appeals. These days I have to spend ages scrutinising things individually, it’s tiring and I rapidly lose interest.

That is the hard truth about just one type of ataxia. It’s not simply a balance problem.xB

I took the inland passage cruse to Alaska,and had my scooter. Everyone was helpful and had a good cruise.

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How timely is this post! I’m leaving for barcelona next week. I have SCA3 and use a walker exclusively both indoors and outdoors. I have taken two cruises one Mediterranean cruise two years ago where I took only a cane and then I took a Caribbean cruise last march break. This cruise will be a bit different as I plan on taking my wheelchair as fatigue takes over rather quickly now. The thing that stresses me the most are the excursions that my family are taking. Noted the cruise line royal Caribbean is very accomadating as having accessible excursions but some of them are just bus tours which would be very boring for my 13 year old son and wife. I am having them do some active excursions while I hang out on the ship. Anyway I hope it goes well We plan on staying in barcelona for an extra week.
Wish me luck!!

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Good luck! I alsocruised the inside paasage to Alaska. Everyone was helpful. Very enjoyable. I got the room with the balcony. Glad I did. I used The wheelchair which was very useful. Have fun!

I have been to Barcelona a few times, its great.
As a wheelchair user although access was good, it was abit fustrating looking for lifts and ramps ! ( signs are NOT used)
Its a busy city
But like any tourist place
Common sense rules

(keep valueables out of sight/safe
Bwware of tourist scams)

Enjoy the trip


I think I could be swayed ( forgive the pun) :wink:xB

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Did you go to monserat as a wheelchair user. Right now my wife and son are booked for a tour of the monastery. Any other tours you recommend.

Thank you,


[ Surname and telephone number have been removed from this post by Seenie for Jesse’s online safety. Please PM him and ask for his number that way. To message him, click on his avatar (picture) and then on the blue message button. The screen you get looks like a public post screen, but don’t worry: if you see a grey envelope icon, it means that the communication is private.)

I went on the hop on hop off city tour (Barcelona is very hilly in parts)

went on the cable car, brilliant views

some of the old town can be cobble stones

visit Barcelona (by my good friend Alan Broadbent


Have a great time.

Totally agree with your notes about Barcelona, Alan. I was there on my mobility scooter, and it was quite do-able. Another caution: if you have mobility problems, cross streets only at traffic lights, and always when others are crossing as well. There are some very crazy drivers there! The other thing that cannot be stressed enough is that Barcelona is one of the grand capitals of pickpocketing. Wear your valuables close to you, and out of sight. My husband had his new iPhone stolen from his shirt pocket, right from under his chin. I (and several others) saw it happen, and the perps were gone before anyone could even open their mouth. They are SO skilled and incredibly fast

Driving in cities needs to be done with gritted teeth. Paris was nerve racking, and I wasn’t even the driver! Re pickpocketing etc. Many years ago prior to my first visit to the US (early 1990s) I saw reports on TV about tourists being targeted and mugged, even in holiday accommodation. Someone had a necklace ripped off while visiting a prominent tourist attraction. It’s so easy to relax and be laid back, be lulled into a false sense of security, after all it’s a holiday! xB

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