Taking my grandma on a cruise! We need your advice please.

Hi everybody. I'm taking my mom and 86 yo grandmother on an Alaskan cruise and really do need your advice. Because grandma is fairly affected by her Parkinson's we're trying to plan things out very carefully. From what we've learned so far it seems like we should be looking toward Holland America as a cruise line.

Well, instead of going into a lot of questions maybe I should just say what our priorities are and then see what you guys have to say.

- Although grandma can stand fairly well and be on her feet for up to 5 min at a time, we're really prioritizing ease of movement on the ship for grandma which will probably happen by way of wheel chair about 1/2 the time.

- Secondly, we're looking for an environment grandma will be overall comfortable in, which for the most part means a low key environment. I'm sure the glitz and general activity on a Carnival ship would be way too much.

- Third, she's not going to be able to get off the ship at ports, so we're looking for the best big ship route with the very best 'from ship' views. We had to give up on the idea of an inside passage route due to the possibility of smaller ships rocking.

- Fourth, I know we're at somewhat of a cost disadvantage with an odd number of us going. I'd like to get mom and grandma a great room w/ a balcony, and get myself just the cheapest room on the ship, a single if possible. But if the cheapest I can get is a cheap double I'll probably just stay with mom and grandma the whole time, say if they have a couch.

- For entertainment, just real simple stuff would do the trick. Some kind of show would be nice. Actually, anything too loud or flashy would overwhelm a Parkinson's patient.

At this point I should say thanks for reading all of this and wrap up.

We're wanting to go when its potentially the warmest in August, and we're still entirely flexible. With our priorities in mind, what cruise line, cruise date, ship, and course/port of calls would be good for us? And of course all of your opinions are so greatly appreciated! Thanks.

~~_/) ~~


Well-Known Member
What a wonderful thing you are planning to do for your Mom & Grandmom!

I can't give you many answers to your questions but wonder where you would be sailing from? And maybe think of getting a wheelchair in the port you would be sailing from as the walk to the ship would be quite exhausting. And get a handicapped room on board. So there would be lots of room for the 3 of you. I find that an ocean view is good. I don't care for a balcony. The one time that we got a balcony we didn't use it enough to warrant the extra cost.


Krazy Kruizers

Holland America Specialist
Welcomw to Cruise @ddicts!!

My DH also has Parkinson's -- has gotten a little worse this past year because of some personal issues at home. But he isn't as bad as your grandmother from you have described.

Keep in mind that Alaskan cruises that sail out of Seattle do not take the inside passage -- they head for the Pacific which can be rough at times until you hit the first port of call. And then rough as you head back to Seattle on the last sea day. The Inside Passages are the best for ship not to rock much -- but these cruises sail out of Vancouver.

HAL has some type of show 6 nights of a 7 day cruise -- there will be 2 production shows. We raely go to them anymore as they are repeat shows for us. Other than the production shows, there will be comedians, jugglers, singers, etc -- varies by ship.

On HAL your choices of cruises for 7 days out of Seatte are Oosterdam, Zaandam and Rotterdam.

You should really consider 3 people to a cabin -- balcony cabins can handle this -- otherwise you will find that HAL will charge anywhere from 150% to 200% for a cabin for a solo cruiser.

You didn't mention if your grandmother needs to have a handicapped cabin -- this could also be a factor in what type of cabin you book.

Here is a link to HAL's site for handicapped people:

Cruise Planning & Advice, Preparation | Cruise Tips and Info | Holland America Line

The first couple of weeks in August will be the warmest -- especially the first week.. Among the various cruises that we have done in Alaska, we did cruise one year at the end of Augusy and the first part of September -- had a lot of rain.


Awaiting results of mental evaluation
Same advice as above. Go with Holland America. The line is much more experienced with older clientele and the entertainment is geared to them, i.e. - not as much flash, bang, pop and gee-whiz. Much classier. I would also recommend a triple or quad capable cabin. Check into getting adjoining outsides or verandahs. Same size, but have an internal connecting door. And. don't disregard the possibility of a Deluxe Suite. Lots of room and a significant increast in amenities. Yes, more expensive, but the cost of three in a deluxe suite is about the same as two verandah cabins.


Forum Manager
Staff member
I travel with a grandma all the time :)

She is not quite as old as yours but ...oh enough about me.

I would also recommend HAl BUT

If you want "Inside" with a big ship that does leave Seattle. Look at the Infinity from Celebrity.
It also has one less port because it does the Inside and as she would not be getting off who cares..
I assume you are talking about NEXT year so regardless of which ship you are looking at make sure that there are no surprises from year to year Itineraries.
Any of the ships that leave from Vancouver on a seven day cruise would do a lot more of the Inside and they are all "Bigger" ships also. The ride is a lot smoother from a Vancouver return trip perspective. But as I said above the Infinity would do that also.
I highly recommend the Infinity from personal experience.
Thanks popcorn! Grandma says her only requirement is a step in shower and a shower seat so it looks like we'll have a lot more options in picking a room now. I've gotten advice that a balcony may tend to be underused, but as Mom and Grandma stay inside most of the time I figure the room will get a lot of use, so I better get the balcony just in case.

Hi Krazy! Thanks for the sailing from Seattle advice. I sure wish there was a ship and route we could design ourselves! Thanks for letting me know which of the HAL ships sail out of Seattle. I'm able to give them a good look over now. Before I didn't realize there were 3 person cabins, but now that I do I'm sure that's what we'll schedule for.

Thanks Calgon1! Good to hear HAL's entertainment is geared for my Grandma.

BSeabob, thanks, I wish I was talking about next year. Trying to schedule for this year so I'm tyring to get everything done here ASAP! We're not def set on a round trip out of Seattle, that just sort of seemed the easiest for us to negotiate. Vancouver would still be an option for us, hopefully!