San Juan Port - Mobility Issues

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by DietCokeMommy, Mar 13, 2019.

  1. DietCokeMommy

    DietCokeMommy Mouseketeer

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    My parents have decided to join us on our southern caribbean cruise next January, which I'm excited about. However, I'm worried about the boarding process. We cruised out of SJ last year and we stood in line for an hour with our bags before we went through security. My mom's had both knees and hips replaced and can't stand for an hour. We were already planning to get to the port around 12:30/1 so we could avoid the line, but I've heard due to the way they do things in SJ we may not able to avoid it after all.

    Does anyone know if there's any way around the line in SJ? Can my mom go inside and sit while the rest of us go through with the bags and then grab her to go through the scanners? She will not consider a wheel chair or ECV. Is it just a matter of getting there later?
     
  2. Snowwhyt

    Snowwhyt I've felt the Magic each time I visit!

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    My father is much like your mother with regard to wheelchair transportation. I was able to explain to my father that a wheelchair did not have to be a 24 hour, seven day a week sentence just because we brought it with. Wheelchairs do not have an all or nothing requirement. I explained that a wheelchair can be checked frequently at vacation destinations, just like a coat can be checked. We wanted to be able to do a lot of things in a single day and that it didn’t seem to make sense to waste his energy on walking fast through town to get to a destination. That he would have no problem getting around our adventures and he would be able to leave a wheelchair checked at the museum or a vacation event that we have gone to.
    When we went to Alaska we wished we had taken a wheelchair because he fell so far behind struggling to walking so quickly behind the Disney employee and it was only a boat ride. He was embarrassed because he could see that the lady was waiting for him after everyone had already gotten on the boat. When we got off the boat we were able to walk at a leisurely pace through town and he sat down on a few chairs here in there and everything was wonderful.
    I also explained that it would be helpful for us to take a wheelchair and learn some of the problems that could occur. Learning what we can/can’t do with the wheelchair gives the ability to have her travel longer with the family and realize that some difficult things can still be handled.
    We were able to learn that if we were going on a Washington DC. Subway system it was helpful to have Dad stand close to the door and walk in with my mother while my daughter and I would follow with the wheelchair. We tried to push my dad on the subway and the doors almost closed on him we had to let the train go by and catch the next train. From that we learned with a time restraint of those automatic doors he needed to be able to walk on. We also learned that by using the elevators for handicap in the subways homeless people would defecate in there, yuck! My daughter and I decided the best method at that time I would be bringing the wheelchair down the escalator with her in front and me behind holding the empty wheelchair.
    Shuttle bus drivers frequently put the wheelchair in the back luggage area for us and my dad would walk up and take a seat on the bus.
    Ask her to consider how long her rebound time is when she has overdone it. Does it ruin the rest of her day, or does it ruin three days? If she standing in line for an hour before boarding with all the walking that will be required from transportation to terminal and then from the terminal to the ship, does she think there’s a chance that she’ll end up passing on some of the day or evenings events or go to bed early? A wheelchair is mighty handy to help carry additional items and give the opportunity to have a child ride on the wheelchair with grandma.
    Good luck explain the part time chair opportunity and the lost vacation opportunity and hopefully she’ll change her mind.
     
    bumbershoot likes this.
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  4. DietCokeMommy

    DietCokeMommy Mouseketeer

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    Yeah, like I said my mom doesn’t do wheelchairs. She and my dad will mostly stay on the ship, maybe get off and walk around and shop a little. No excursions. They’re just going to hang out with us and see the kids. And as non Disney people I’m not even sure if they’ll do any of the shows or anything.
     
  5. TortoiseTaughtUs

    TortoiseTaughtUs Earning My Ears

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    What kind of chair did you get? We have to get one for my father-in-law for the first time. Have you traveled with the wheelchair in any Caribbean ports?
     
  6. CaLuCa

    CaLuCa Mouseketeer

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    We sailed out of SJ February 4. I believe we got in the line to give our bags around 1230, and our wait was only 20 minutes. It was very quick moving. We had to wait for DH to return from dropping off the rental, so we waited inside at the chairs for almost an hour. Since we were Silver, our line was walk up by that point and then walk on the ship.
     
  7. cadien

    cadien DIS Veteran

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    We cruised out of SJ last month. We arrived at about 1:00 and there was no line to drop off bags at all. We waited about 15 minutes inside to check in, but nothing outdoors.
     
  8. Snowwhyt

    Snowwhyt I've felt the Magic each time I visit!

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    My father has had a wheelchair 2X in the past 3 years. Once when we went to Washington DC for an entire week because is all walking. A second time when we went to the state fair and stayed for 8 hours. (Mom sat in the chair about 2 of those hours.)

    Would your mother consider one of those walkers with the seat on it for just waiting in line? I would hate to see her be in pain for the rest of the day just trying to get on the ship. My father has never used a wheelchair on the ship although we could’ve used one in Alaska when we tried to go to the Bearing Sea Boat. But out of the seven day cruise that was the only time it would’ve been nice to have. He walked through the towns of Skagway, Ketchikan and Juneau Alaska.

    There’s a lot to see at the fort in San Juan and is such a long walk to get to the fort though.
    If you like I might be able to find a picture that we took of the long walk to get to the fort.
     
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  9. Snowwhyt

    Snowwhyt I've felt the Magic each time I visit!

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    We actually have had three different wheelchairs and found a seat cushion to be very important. We picked up wheelchairs and various spots usually garage sales. If you find one you like sometimes you can get a bike store to lube up the wheels tighten loose places and whatever needs to happen to get them in better working order.
    If I could make a recommendation for a wheelchair I would say go to a rental place and try a few out. Also check garage sales and see if you can pick one up there. If possible see if your father could borrow one from somebody. If the seats not long enough or too short his legs may fall asleep, if there’s not enough padding it may be difficult on his bones. Try a wheelchair out at a mall, sport show, camper show, boat show, Garden show just do something where you going to be in the chair for a couple hours interested in something while you move.
     
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  10. DietCokeMommy

    DietCokeMommy Mouseketeer

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    my husband and kids and I are staying in Puerto Rico for several days after the cruise and we’ll go see the fort then. We’ve been there before, I know it’s a long way. My parents won’t be interested in doing that with us, given the amount of walking.

    My mom uses a cane when she needs to, but never a walker. She’d rather just not do stuff, and that’s her choice. And my dad’s currently in remission from pancreatic cancer so he doesn’t really need to be wearing himself out either.
     
  11. lanejudy

    lanejudy Moderator Moderator

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    Since she uses a cane, would she consider a “seat-cane?” It a cane with a folding tripod seat. I’m not familiar with the long boarding line in SJ, but if it has stops/starts rather than just constant slowing move, the seat-cane might be an option for her.

    Enjoy your cruise!
     
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  12. Snowwhyt

    Snowwhyt I've felt the Magic each time I visit!

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    I understand, breaks my heart and I hope I never get that way. Maybe that’s why I’m so passionate about this. I broke my hip in 5 places when I was 24 years old and I’m afraid that my traveling opportunities will end before my mind has stopped wanting to go. In January I went on the Wonder to Jamaica and visited Dunns River Falls and I knew halfway through I’m never going to do this again in my life because it was so hard on my hip. But I’m glad I took the opportunity to experience this adventure with my 19-year-old daughter once. My legs were trembling a little at times, but it was a bucket list item so I’m glad I went. I’m 55 now, and in a few more years I would have to get off the trail at the more difficult parts.
     

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