Can’t tender ashore for wheelchair-bound

Wheelchair-bound(people who can’t get out of their wheelchairs to aboard tenders) it seems will not be able to go ashore in Grand Cayman or Princess Cay, both tender ports. Wouldn’t be innovative of Princess Cruises to have at the least one tender on each ship that is accessible for wheelchair-bound to go ashore directly without having to get out of their wheelchairs to board a tender. My son , Mike, is wheelchair-bound and will not be able to go ashore in both Grand Cayman and Princess Cay because he is unable to walk. I had to cancel two Princess tours because there was no tender to go ashore because of the afore mentioned situation- no “fully” accessible tender. I booked two tours outside of the Princess tours because none of them were available by Princess offering a lift van in Cozumel and Jamaica both non- tender ports. Looking forward to seeing the smile on my son’s face in our Regal Princess fcruise. I was just hoping we would have been able to go to Stingray City and The Dolphin Encounter offered by Princess but had to cancel because even if we were able to tender ashore there is no lift vans available in Princess Tours to transfer to the tours.

Tags: Grand Cayman I

16 Answers

You would think in now day and age that a wheelchair bound person would be able to go ashore by a wheelchair tender accomodating people who can’t get out of their chairs to get on a tender????

Yes, it would be innovative of Princess Cruises to offer at least one tender on each of its 18 ships to have a “fully” accessible tender to go ashore.

I think most people will agree in now day and age that such an accessible tender would be modified to accommodate wheelchair non-walking people.

It is surprising that the cruise industry hasn't found a way to overcome this obstacle yet, but it wasn't that many years ago the there was less availability for widespread cruising in a wheelchair.  Sometimes progress is slow.  Hope you enjoy the cruise in spite of this frustration.

I'm sorry that tendering is not possible for those that are wheelchair or scooter bound, but there is a true safety issue involved during the transfer, not a lack of accessibility once on the tender or at dock area. As someone that has spent a good amount of time (not my whole life but a least two-tenths of it) having to use mobility aids or been confined to a wheelchair after surgeries for up to a year at a time I know both sides of the coin on this issue.

When tendering, even when healthy & not encumbered, it's not always a straight forward action like entering or exiting the cruise ship at a dock. Most tenders are just about double the size of the lifeboats and must be boarded from the crew deck or nearer to the water line like at a pilot entry. Even then there is almost always a differential in the entry opening and where the deck of the tender is, sometimes as much a foot or 2 higher or lower than the egress from the cruise ship. Even though a ramp is place over the gap between the ship and the boat, the 2 vessels are still moving differently in relation to each other, occasionally bumping into each other causing sudden jarring even in smooth seas which can rattle the ramp or even make it jump. A small wave that doesn't affect the cruise ship might have the tender rise or fall another foot or 2 without warning. (If swells cause more movement than that, the tendering procedure usually gets suspended any way.)

Now with that explained the only way to transfer someone that is not able to walk and adjust to these changing "terrain" conditions would be to use a sling or cage lift on a boom arm. Even that would have it's own issues, like the disabled person being able to be calm during what can be a long lift as it would not be quick like using a pool entry sling, but almost more like a cargo transfer and being able to do without their personal chair use one supplied by the port. Then you would also need the tender company (usually a division or the Island's Port Authority or a sub-contractor to them) to have crew available that is trained to receive and send back someone making this type of medical transfer. This is one of the reason's that even when near a island's shore but not their dock, a helicopter is used for a medical evacuation rather than sending a a pilot or coast guard boat to tender the sick or injured person (though one might be sent for healthy family members to join them). 

Good post Mary red

I understand all what you said but my main point was that a tender that was made especially safe for transferring a  wheelchair-bound person I’m sure could be designed to make it safe.

maryred, it is so good to see you on this forum.  I have missed your comments and insight.  You are one smart lady.

I hope that the cruise lines find a way to fix this problem. 

With more people using scooters and wheelchairs on cruises, hopefully the industry will see the need for more accessibility on the tenders.

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