Limited-mobility cruise lover

I became handicapped (I am a limited walker) in 1967, at the age of 41. Rather than spending the next 39 or 40 years in a nursing home, wallowing in self-pity and bemoaning my fate, I have — with my indefatigable wife — traveled to China, done Elderhostels with homestays in Mexico and France, spent eight months roaming around Europe at will and taken innumerable cruises.

Cruises are superb. You don’t have to pack and unpack as you move from hotel to hotel to hotel; the hotel does the moving while you remain conveniently located in the same quarters all the time.

Crews aboard cruisers are accommodating and go out of their way to help those who are physically limited to have the same experiences as those without such limitations.

On our last cruise, I got (with sympathetic assistance from caring fellow passengers and staff) to participate in what was for me an unthinkable adventure: I joined others as crew on a former America’s Cup racing sloop. I became a participant, not an observer.

This was an optional excursion at St. Maarten offered by Holland America Line on a cruise from Barcelona to Ft. Lauderdale in November ’05. A motor launch took us in sailboats, and my walker was kept on the launch and ready for me when we returned to shore.

I thank all of the people who are sympathetic to the needs of those who wish to experience life as fully as their more fortunate peers. Thanks, too, to Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Cunard Line, Carnival Cruise Lines and all of the other companies that enable people with canes, walkers and wheelchairs to travel the world.

Lenox, MA