Here’s a beautiful look at a cruise experience from one of my favorite clients and guest-poster, George!
When my 92-year-old Mom announced we should take a family trip, Mom, my brother, his wife, Janet and I decided on a cruise with Regent Seven Seas.
A limo service drove us the 30 minutes from our south Florida home to the cruise dock– easy. Luggage was dropped off at the curb, no schlepping involved– easy. We were quickly processed on board and enjoyed lunch while our three suites on the concierge deck of the 490 passenger Navigator of the Sea, were readied– easy. And we were soon to learn what it was like traveling with a nonagenarian– it’s a breeze.
Although many guests were older, the ship didn’t feel like a floating retirement center. We met many young couples and a few honeymooners. Yet, gregarious Mom soon began meeting her age peers. Several of them found cruising to be such a joy that they had booked three sequential cruises, staying on board for nearly a month. Many of them had aches and pains, (Mom has stage-three cancer) but these elderly people were drinking life to the dregs. They were delightful companions and often great raconteurs.
The appeals of a high-end cruise for older travelers are obvious. Excellent food whenever you want it with sanitary standards to defeat Montezuma’s Revenge. The bed always made, and your suite kept spotless. New countries and vistas popping up every dawn. Live entertainment at nearly any waking hour. And mostly urbane, interesting, congenial fellow travelers.
Some benefits were less obvious. Regent’s all inclusive philosophy simplified on-board life. We were able to easily make last minute swaps of shore tours to meet the changing weather with no concerns for cost since everything was included. And, although alcohol was also fully included, we never encountered an inebriated passenger, something in stark contrast to life aboard one of the “Fun Ships” of the Carnival line. There is something to be said for maturity.
Mom found the in-room safe a challenge (the security person arrived to open it within three minutes of our call) until we explained the somewhat vague instructions. Remembering where to go on board and how to get there took some getting used to– ships are not laid out like towns. While everything on board was ADA compliant, gangways and shore excursions were not. And once ashore, bathrooms were sometimes hard to find, a stress to aged bladders. But nothing stopped Mom.
Cozumel was blistering hot, and Mom needed to cool in the shade while insisting that Janet and I continue our explorations. We were reluctant to just leave her alone on a bench in Mexico, but when Mom insists, that is the end of the discussion. Fifteen minutes later we came back to see Mom on the bench showing pictures of her great granddaughters to two amused Mexican grandmas. Abuelas must have some sort of Esperanto they all understand.
And that seems to sum it up. A quality cruise line can provide a perfect, low stress, safe vacation for even nonagenarians and make a multi-generational vacation a snap to organize…especially with Deb and the Edge of Wonder Travels team!