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My Legally Blind Cruise Experience

As I said before, I had been planning a cruise for about a month. However, I did not quite plan for a Nor’easter! When the staff is taking photos of the height of the waves, you know things are bad.

Motion sickness

I don’t like turbulence. I can get seasick in a bathtub. However, experiencing all of the “delightful” sensations of a cruise is something that adds to the experience….maybe. Did I mention I am prone to motion sickness?

The ship rocking and rolling got me to thinking. The proprioceptive and vestibular sensations I am receiving as the ship crests a wave and slides down the other side are real and valid. They are not always something we notice but they are real and valid and should be acknowledged…and not only in offerings to the “porcelain god” in the bathroom!

Extra seasick sensations

So, a reason to travel with legal blindness may be to experience the proprioceptive and vestibule sensations. When I get home – if we get home; it is nasty out here – I will be able to discuss all of the stomach-dropping and stomach-churning I experienced riding out a Nor’easter. And I have only tossed my cookies once…so far. I get seasick; you know.

The beauty of hearing

Then there is hearing. The stage show was canceled last evening. It is sort of hard to perform a choreographed dance routine when the stage keeps dropping out from under you…or alternately rises up to meet you. I get that. Anyway there was a live band and I went down to listen.

During what they consider the prime time for people to be in the shopping area, they play upbeat, generally Latin, dance music. I joined a staff member in a few steps of the passé. It was a cruise ship version of dancing in the streets. Hearing what is going on – and dancing if the spirit moves you – is something else you can do while traveling with a vision impairment.

Massages and bumping into walls

Touch? There are different possibilities for this one. The possibilities range from feeling the smooth, crisp sheets on the bed to feeling the jets in the hot tub. However, I have also been feeling the hard surfaces of the walls more than I care to. I run into them! This cruise it has been hard to tell the drunk from the sober by walking prowess alone. I now know what a pinball ball feels like!

I need to sign up for a massage, too. That is another touch experience you may want to have on a cruise.

Smell and taste aren’t too far away

Smell and taste are easy ones for you to experience. The spa area smells like herbs and flowers. The buffet smells absolutely delicious! There is a wide variety of international dishes available for you to sample. Go ahead, be adventurous! That is, as long as you think you can, unlike me, keep exotic foods down. Seasickness, you know. I try not to tempt fate.

Accessibility services on a cruise

If you have ever cruised, you will recall there are many cruise patrons that have obvious forms of disability. In addition to the wheelchairs and Jazzies – look out! Stop going so fast on that thing!! I have seen one woman with a white cane and another with a guide dog. The woman with the cane whom I saw was being led to guest services by a sighted guide, a staff member. I don’t think they go as far as providing an indentured servant to you for the week, but they obviously provide some services, including occasional mobility assistance and a poochie potty somewhere on deck. I would tell you what the other services are, but every time I ask for a list of accessibility options, I get orthopedic and mobility concerns being addressed in the literature. Very little about vision.

I think that is about it for now. The port of Boston is closed until noon so we’ll be hangin’ somewhere out in the Atlantic. Giantonormous waves and all. In the meantime, I am going to go out and check on some shore excursion nonsense. Would you like to place bets on how many times I run into the wall?!?😛

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