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  • I survived my cruise

    I have just returned from a 7 day caribbean cruise on RCL Explorer of the seas. This is my first cruise since my IC pain returned. I also have Crohn's disease(inflammatory bowel disease). Cruising with two painful incurable diseases is tough, and I knew I had to make careful choices. The first choice was itinerary. I chose a cruise where the onshore excursions didn't involve long distances without restrooms. On past cruises, to the southern Caribbean, I had to go hours without a restroom. For insurance, I wore Serenity guards anytime I was on shore. They are made with a thin styrofoam bottom, and were not very comfortable in the tropical heat, but I knew I could pee into them if I couldn't get to a restroom in time. I have a shrunken bladder from over 30 years of my IC being undiagnosed or treated. I ate yogurt every day to try to prevent yeast infections from wearing such pads in the heat. My cruise itinerary was Labadee, Haiti, Ocho Rios Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel, Mexico. I never had to go more than an hour without a restroom on this cruise. This was not the case on past excursions into rainforests in the southern Caribbean. I wore the pads on all taxi rides, airplanes and at airports. Airport security is much more involved in this post 9/11 era. I didn't want to wet my pants while standing in long lines. The embarcation and debarcation were much easier on RCL than on Carnival. Restrooms were always available. I had more trouble with food on RCL, than I expected. On Carnival, I would just ask the waiter to delete sauces or seasonings that I couldn't tolerate. On Explorer of the Seas, I was told the sauces couldn't be deleted. Salad dressings were limited to 3 types per day, and were often hot and spicy. One example was chilled pear soup with cranberry garnish. I asked them to delete the cranberries, since they were just a garnish. It arrived full of cranberries. It was tough watching people drinking anything they wanted, from those fancy tropical drinks to orange juice for breakfast, and lemonade for lunch. I was good, and stuck to water, but it would be so nice to leave my limitations at home. My pain meds, helped make going on this cruise possible. Without them I couldn't have done it. Careful planning is the key to managing going on a cruise. I have been to most of the islands in the Caribbean, and if anyone has questions about them, feel free to email me.

  • #2
    I am so happy for you Darlene that everything worked out You told us everything except... did you have a good time ??????

    My husband finally saw this year that I just can't do it. For 10 years now I have been pushing and pushing with the trips we win from supply houses and this winter 1/2 way thru the vacation, he apoligized to me and told me we were all done. I couldn't even come back with a smart alik remard to that one wink

    I have a map of the caribbiean and I have map tack's all over the places we've been and I can promise you.....every tack represents at least one potty stop blink blink

    I am SOOOOOOOO glad that you made it
    teri
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Courage does not always roar. Sometimes, it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow".

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    • #3
      Teri, It wasn't easy. My Crohn's disease was really acting up. I cut my usual dosage of immune suppresant in half, because of the SARS scare. I stopped taking it at all, a few months ago, but my Crohn's got so bad, I started vomiting, along with uncontrollable diarrhea. Not something I would want to do, waiting in a line, or at dinner. Cruise ships now have SARS screening before being allowed to board. Anyone coming from a country, or going through an airport in an area where SARS is present, must have their temperature taken every day. Our table mates came through Toronto airport, and had to do the temperature thing. Tropical heat can be really dehydrating. I tried to drink a lot of water, to keep my urine from becomming too concentrated, but my Crohn's uses that extra water to give me diarrhea. My watch broke early in the cruise, so I had to ask my husband to keep alert about allowing enough time to return to the ship. I do not have his stamina, due to fighting IC and Crohn,s. I had to keep telling him to slow down. I can walk , but not all that fast. The dehydrating effects of diarrhea, and the dry mouth from meds I take for both diseases, made walking uphill a terrible experience. This was at Dunn's River Falls, a very hilly area. I needed to walk slower, but the taxi was going to leave without me. By the time I arrived, my mouth was so dry, it stuck to my teeth, and I could barely talk. So, back to your question, did I enjoy myself? Time spent on board was good. Shore excursions caused some problems. Grand Cayman, a very flat island, was no problem. The shows on Explorer of the Seas were very good, and I knew restrooms were always available. Traveling with restrooms being the center of my world is tough, but I won't let IC and Crohn's win!

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      • #4
        Darlene,
        What did you think of Jamaica? The bathrooms there I thought were pretty gross. But we didn't go very far since I wasn't sure where the bathrooms were. Glad to hear you survived the cruise!
        Jaime
        Tons of support,
        Jaime

        IC angel helping families in need for the holidays. [email protected]

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        • #5
          Sanitation standards are poor in Jamaica. I saw diapers being changed on picnic tables where people eat. On past trips, where I stayed on the island, I got food poisoning and a uti from the pool, which caused a long IC flare. The water was milky, a sure sign of poor water treatment. I now bring pool test strips from a pool store to test pools at hotels. Suprisingly, in the US, the chlorine is sometimes too high to be safe.

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          • #6
            HI Darlene

            I was interested in your cruise and what you said about it. My husband and I did the Hawaiian cruise last October and it was the best vacation we have ever had. We went with Royal Caribbean. The restrooms on the Islands were nice and clean too. We didn't do any of the cruise excursions but rented our own car and did our own thing. We bought a book on the Islands and knew which beaches etc had clean restrooms.

            As we enjoyed the cruise so much, we decided to try a caribbean cruise either this or next year. We would like to go with RC again, but when I got booklets on the island, they all say keep away from public restrooms. This has now put me off going. Anyone been to any of the islands and is it true about the restrooms? I can only go about an hour between loo visits.

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            • #7
              Traysmum. Hawaii is part of the US, our 50th state. Restrooms are cleaner there than in the Caribbean. The one I used in Haiti (RCL's private island Labadee), had NO TOILET PAPER! It is nearly impossible to know what the restroom situation will be like on an excursion. RCL strongly suggests you book your excursion on your computerized stateroom TV. In other words, there is no one available to answer questions. Even similar tours on different islands can be very different. For example, I took a land and sea tour on ST. Marteen and on Grand Cayman. This includes a semi submersible boat tour over coral reefs, and a land tour. On St. Marteen, I had to go nearly 3 hours without a restroom. The boat had no restroom available to tourists. On Grand Cayman, the boat was much larger, and did have an available restroom. I never had to go over 1 hour without a restroom on Cayman. Because there is no way to know, in advance, what conditions will be like on tours, I strongly suggest wearing heavy duty pads or a diaper. Bring extra pads, paper toilet seat covers and toilet paper for insurance. This will bring peace of mind, and prevent obvious accidents.

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              • #8
                Traveling requires you to be prepared and flexible for whatever conditions you might come across, and that definitely includes access to restrooms. Most of the islands in the Caribbean are very poor -- even much of Puerto Rico outside of the resorts, San Juan or Ponce -- so sanitary facilities can definitely be an issue. No toilet paper is usually the least of the problems when traveling to third world countries. In India, I had to squat over a hole in the floor in a dark, windowless room full of mosquitos (a room, that mind you, also doubled as the shower for the family.) But I've gone backpacking, where you have to find your own well-concealed spot behind a bush to do your business, so I know how to rough it if I have to. And I always bring my own toilet paper. I've been fortunate enough to have never had a bad flare while on a trip (I did get a UTI once though, but a hospital was nearby) but I can appreciate what it takes to plan a trip in such a way to maximize your time and limit your discomfort. There are times where I am hesitant to do certain things if I can't be sure there are some facilities nearby.
                Namaste

                "You must be the change you want to see in the world." - Mahatma Gandhi

                "The most important medicine is tender love and care" - Mother Teresa

                Proud mother of Ahleia, born on April 9, 2007

                -----------------------
                Diagnosed with:
                IC, OAB, Congenital urethral stricture, IBS, Vulvar vestibulitis, Heart murmur, Congenital cervical stenosis...but otherwise doing great!

                Meds:
                Currently in remission, but took the following for 3 years: Elmiron 200 mg., Elavil 25 mg., Detrol LA 4mg, Ovcon-35

                Health treatments/practices:
                Kripalu yoga, Chiropractic, Massage therapy and Reiki

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