We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Cruise with 81 year old mother

Dartmouth, United...
Level Contributor
626 posts
96 reviews
Save Topic
Cruise with 81 year old mother

Hi looking to book a cruise in the med. Please can you advise as a starting which will be a good airport for us to fly into/out off. I see that P & O do cruises from Rome, but the airport gets some bad comments. I am looking to keep my stress levels as low as possible. Any views on Barcelona?

Then any recommendations for a cruise line suitable for an 81 year old lady, who is very traditional and very fussy.

Many thanks

Chatham, Ontario
Destination Expert
for Cruises
Level Contributor
5,277 posts
47 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Cruise with 81 year old mother

Bless you for taking this on. I did it numerous times. My mother's last cruise was her best, even though she went against medical advice (Alzheimer's disease).

Let me assure you: no matter which airport you fly into or out of, it will be BRUTAL. Mom is gone now, but every time I travel with my 90 year old Dad, he finds a new way to stress me. While you may still wish to look for the "friendiiest" airport, you need to concentrate on coping strategies: order a wheelchair even if she doesn't normally need one, pack your carry on to have everything she may ask for right there, etc.

I suggest you fly in a minimum of two days before your embarkation: if the ship leaves Wednesday, arrive Monday. That will not allow you any time to investigate the port. It will mere allow you and your mother to

As a North American, I'm not the best person to reply on UK lines. (C'mon, you lot: pitch in! )

I know your traditional mother would raise an eyebrow at my crassness, but...I must ask about budget. Also about her mobility and her interests.

Swan Hellenic Line, and Minerva's air of a Home Counties country house is quite traditional. However, there's an emphasis on learning history and culture.

http://www.swanhellenic.com/

It's may be possible to visit Minerva this summer in Portsmouth if you sign up right away. It's very difficult to get a tour of a cruise ship, so I highly recommend this, no matter what cruise you decide upon. This would be a drivable one day trip, wouldn't it?

www.swanhellenic.com/news.html?newsid=13986

The Swan Hellenic prices aren't for luxury, although there is solid comfort. Many shore excursions are included, something not featured on other lines. Other inclusions, too. What do you think of those prices?

If your mother isn't the intellectual sort, a Princess or Queen category cabin on Cunard will provide a separate dining room from hoi polloi, impeccable service, and a very formal, traditional experience. Dressing for dinner. However, that grade of cabin will also cost at least twice as much as a Thomson cruise.

Here's another idea: what about a cruise which at least begins in Southampton?

vacationstogo.com/fastdeal.cfm?deal=35904

Would your mother be interested in cruising the Baltic or Norway, to eliminate the need to fly, and travel round trip from England?

Finally: mobility. Your mother's ability or inability to walk is utterly vital in picking a cruise. Even if she doesn't normally require assistance, having a wheelchair to deal with exhaustion is a wise idea. Travel always involves walking longer distances than you expect. Can she easily get in and out of a bus for tours?

Both the Baltic and Norway are very for the mobility impaired. Towns are compact and accessible.

Greece, Turkey, and eastern Med destinations are the most challenging for anyone mobility impaired.

Wigan, United...
Level Contributor
2,667 posts
128 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Cruise with 81 year old mother

Excellent reply Fannish.

To add : I wouldnt touch a cruise out of Rome with a barge pole in your position. Its a nightmare getting from Rome itself to the port.

Barcelona however is a walk in the park.

ON, Canada
Level Contributor
13,026 posts
44 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Cruise with 81 year old mother

<<" I wouldnt touch a cruise out of Rome with a barge pole in your position. Its a nightmare getting from Rome itself to the port.">>

There are reputable private drivers in Rome who will drive you to your hotel, the cruise port, or wherever you need to go. It makes travelling pretty easy ... but it depends on what your budget will afford.

Agree - excellent info from Fannish. Only one other suggestion - consult a travel agent who specializes in cruising to see if you can come up with a ship and itinerary that will work for you and your mother. I think this is especially important if you are new to cruising ... there are so many cruises to choose from and it's easy to make a mistake trying to plan it all on your own.

Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
2 posts
26 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Cruise with 81 year old mother

Fannish, very informative post.

I have a query related to this topic.

I am currently in the process of booking a cruise for my parents living in Montreal to visit me in Singapore. Both are still active and have taken a cruise before although it will be the first time they will be embarking on such a long cruise. My aim is to organize a trip that won't be stressful for them. Any advice regarding someone (just like me) arranging and booking on behalf of parents or relatives?

My second query is more specific. The budget is about 12K USD (for 2 pax for the cruise itself) for the Holland America ms Amsterdam journey from Seattle to Singapore in Sept 2014. It will be the first time my parents cruise on Holland America and would like any advise regarding the booking. I saw a good deal on CostcoTravel (offering $1000 credit per cabin) however only US residents can book via Costco. Any other suggestions when would be the best time to book?

Thanks

Chatham, Ontario
Destination Expert
for Cruises
Level Contributor
5,277 posts
47 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Cruise with 81 year old mother

gaminemaymay, one of the issues here is the performance of the C$. It's expected to keep dropping in 2014. It's perfectly possible for you to get a great deal in US$ then find currency exchange has erased the savings, and eaten into the budget even more.

So, unless your parents are among the Canadians who have US$ securities/bank accounts, and already have US$12K IN HAND, you might do better booking in Canada in C$.

I've used CAA and Cruise Holidays, and they've quoted me a fixed price in C$, guaranteed not to increase by final payment date.

That said, Cruise Specialists of Seattle book more long HAL cruises than any other single agency. While the cruise FARE will be the same, the difference will lay in the perqs.

Cruise Specialists will have their own voyage host for this sailing, which could make arranging details very easy indeed for your parents.

cruisespecialists.com/escorted-cruises.aspx

If booking in US$, I would put them at the top of the list. You will know they are being taken care of. This also answers the first part of your query, I think, about making things easy for them.

Please message me if you have more questions you think I can help with.

Chatham, Ontario
Destination Expert
for Cruises
Level Contributor
5,277 posts
47 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Cruise with 81 year old mother

If I was doing this for my parents, I'd book with Cruise Specialists, and ignore the price issue. Having an agent RIGHT ON THE SHIP that they can ask for help for anything from their onboard account to what to do about a crisis? That's "priceless", as the credit card ads say.

I also didn't answer your question about when to book. NOW! Availability is limited on these premium itineraries.

Then, monitor for price drops, which the agency should be able to get for you, or an "upgrade" to a "better" category now advertised for the price you paid. HAL does a lot of category price bingo, featuring one sub category and then another.

But you can deal with that later.

GET THEM BOOKED.

The price on these Grand Voyages usually rises, not falls.

Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
2 posts
26 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Cruise with 81 year old mother

Thanks Fannish for your valuable advice! Will do.

London, England
Level Contributor
8,446 posts
75 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Cruise with 81 year old mother

P&O and Fred Olsen are more geared to a British clientele as you say your Mum is 'old school'. They both have cruises departing from British ports which makes life easier. It also means you don't have the weight restrictions that airlines impose.

Having arrived and departed at both Rome and Barcelona airports quite a number of times I would choose Barcelona. Also, the cruises leave from Barcelona itself, rather than Rome where they leave from Civitivecchia. A Taxi from BCN airport to the centre costs 30 Euros, or the Aerobus is 5.90.

Dartmouth, United...
Level Contributor
626 posts
96 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Cruise with 81 year old mother

Thanks for all your replies. I have booked P & O from Southampton , totally avoiding all airports!!!

I will consider Barcelona for next cruise if we survive this one . LOL

Arroyo de la Miel...
Level Contributor
3,732 posts
218 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Cruise with 81 year old mother

I would recommend sailing from Southampton with P&O, so you've done the right thing IMO treetops with your booking. You can either park at Southampton or use Eavesway Travel coaches that have many pick ups around the UK.

Have a super time!