Helpful Bermuda Cruise Review AND Tips For People With Cancer.

The best Bermuda cruise review with useful and relevant tips for successful travel with someone who has cancer. 

When my dad was first diagnosed with Lung Cancer, we figured we had two choices…

 We could spend our time stressed and worried about the things we couldn’t change -or-

We could go out and enjoy life today because we had no idea what might happen tomorrow.

We chose option two. 
Cruise ship sailing into port.  Text says Helpful Bermuda Cruise reveiw and tips for people with cancer.

We started a bucket list, just a few things he wanted to see and do.  And we planned them on days he was feeling good.

One of our most incredible adventures? A 7-day cruise on Norwegian Cruise Lines from New York City to Bermuda…

When the idea of a last minute cruise first came up, daddy was really excited about the whole idea.  

“There’s this museum,” he said, “that looks like a castle and it’s full of rich history about Bermuda.”  “I hope I can get off the ship, I would love to spend a few hours there.” 

I was nervous about throwing this whole thing together at the last minute, but he was so excited about the idea of this.  

So, we met with Dr. Veach.  “It’s happening kind of fast, I said, “what if we waited to go until January, and planned it out a little better?”

Dr. Veach was pretty clear… “haven’t we learned anything? He feels good now, you should go now.”

“Besides”, he said, “you guys have been driving back and forth for over a year so often you practically live here.”

“Couldn’t EVERYONE use a break?”

Well, when you put it that way…

Two weeks later, we grabbed a last-minute cruise on the Norwegian Cruise Line Escape, from New York to Bermuda.  

Heads up:  Feeling overwhelmed by everything that comes with this disease?

The Cancer Binder Pack will walk you through the quick and easy system we used to organize our medical information.  Step-by-step instructions, printable forms, and monthly calendar pages so you can ALWAYS find what you need when you need it. 

And, the best part… it’s 100% FREE when you sign up for our weekly emails which are packed full of quick tips and inspiration to help you keep going through this insanely stressful situation (from someone who is living it)…

You can get the Cancer Binder Pack here…

We had the MOST AMAZING TIME on this cruise, seriously it was a wonderful experience … but cruising with cancer does require some adjustments.

I’ve read other Bermuda cruise reviews but I realized some useful tips to help deal with the cancer aspect of a trip like this was greatly needed.

Skip Hurrican Season

Be aware of the time of year.

We’ve done hurricane season cruises and that would have been a disaster for my dad at this point. There were 14ft waves, the boat was rocking all the time, and there were a few nights that it wasn’t even safe to go outside.

The main show that we wanted to see (broadway style) was canceled because it wasn’t safe for the actors to be doing gymnastics while the boat was rocking. Winter months, summer break, or spring are a great time to go.

Talk With Your Doctor

They can help you consider any emergencies or complications you might encounter during the trip (so you can plan ahead).   

Doctors and nurses have great ideas to help you feel strong and energized, and they can help you sort out any symptoms and side effects to watch for (and what to do about them).  

Your doctor also may be able to make medication adjustments that can give you an extra boost (and less exhaustion) so you can feel better during your adventures.   

Keeping your doctor in the loop has a ton of benefits for safe travel.  And their help is indispensable when it comes to having fun, higher energy levels, and less exhaustion.  

You definitely want them on your side when it comes to your excursions.

Sign Up for Handicap Boarding and Disembarkment

Staff member pushing an empty wheelchair.

Getting on and off the ship is a huge amount of uphill (or downhill) walking.  HINT:  getting on and off in Bermuda is less difficult.

When you first board the ship, you have to go through long lines, several checkpoints (security, customs, check-in…), and then there is a large ramp from the ground, that goes up to the ship with a pretty steep incline.  It’s a lot, especially if your energy levels are sapped.  

Don’t get me wrong, it’s organized and orderly, but it’s also a ton of standing, waiting, and walking which can be really difficult and stressful.

My mom attempted to disembark from the ship without handicapped assistance and it was a long complicated process.  About halfway through she was completely wiped and barely able to make it.  Then when we got outside, there was no place to sit and thousands of people waiting.  

Schedule the handicapped boarding.

Handicap boarding keeps your party together and gives you a dedicated staff member to handle the wheelchair.  

  1.  You get through easier.  There is a dedicated line for wheelchairs so you are not smashed in with 1,000 people trying to get through.  
  2. You have a staff member to help you through the process.  They can tell you what documents you need at each stop point and what’s coming up next so you can be ready.
  3. You have a dedicated staff member to do the pushing (who knows where to go).  They get you exactly where you need to go. 

It’s a TON of Walking

This ship is big, I mean massive.  To be able to walk the entire ship, every day, you need to be in pretty decent shape.  We walked between 7 and 10 miles every day.  And most of that was just bouncing around and checking things out.

Walking that much would be impossible for my dad.  Cancer is exhausting and saps your energy anyway but he was also dealing with some mobility issues that would make this much walking crazy.

Basically, we would waste all of his energy walking to the “fun stuff” and by the time we got there, he would never get to do any of the fun things. ?

Why a Wheelchair Was a Bad Idea

We had a plan though.  We would use a wheelchair, which sounded like a great idea until we got there…

 There are a few issues with a manual wheelchair being your mobility plan.

  1.  It takes a huge amount of walking and energy to push the wheelchair. Miles of walking.  Meaning the majority of someone’s vacation is going to be spent pushing the wheelchair, everywhere.
  1. Cruise ships are not completely handicapped accessible. The rugs (on basically every floor) make pushing the wheelchair more difficult.  Walking down the hallway to your room is particularly difficult as the hallways are extremely narrow anyway, and then there are carts and housekeeping items that block your passage.
  1. Buffets and heavily attended areas are REALLY difficult to maneuver. The buffet on this ship, for example, is literally packed all the time.  It was a nightmare trying to navigate this.  We tried to switch to a walker for the buffet, but that was even worse. We used one of the specialty restaurants and the Manhattan dining room after the first day which made it MUCH easier for us to navigate.
  1. We had an interior stateroom.  Probably the smallest room on the ship.  But unless you specifically order a handicapped room (which are huge) most rooms are going to be like a Cracker Jack box. The space in our room with 4 people was tight, like really cramped.  Storing a wheelchair and a walker in an incredibly tight space is difficult.  

Plus, once you get to Bermuda, you’ll want to see even more and that will require even more walking. FYI… my husband and I walked about 20,000 steps (10 miles) in one day in Bermuda.

The Brillant Solution to the Wheelchair Dilemma 

daddy exploring Bermuda on his scooter.

The (brilliant!) solution to the wheelchair dilemma is a scooter.

This rentable device saved my vacation, and it was worth every single penny.

It’s a compact electric scooter that gave my dad the ability to see the entire ship while preserving his energy for the fun stuff.

He became totally independent with this scooter.  And that’s something he hadn’t had in a while.

The scooter is small enough to fit everywhere on the ship and easily cruise through all the carts ect, that are parked in the hallways PLUS you can take it off the ship to tour Bermuda (note: if you’re planning shore excursions I would ask about the scooter, we spent our time sight-seeing the Royal Naval Dockyard on our own).

We used the scooter for everthing, so my dad could go wherever he wanted and had the opportunity to see everything…but he could also save his energy for the things he really wanted to do.

The Rooms

We had an inside stateroom.  Probably the smallest room on the ship.  But unless you specifically order a handicapped room (which are huge) most rooms are going to be like a Cracker Jack box. 

The space in our room with 4 people was tight, like really cramped.  Storing a wheelchair and a walker in an incredibly tight space is difficult. 

Make Your Vacation Easier

Splurge for the bigger room.  Because we got this cruise at the last minute, and we were looking for cheap, so we decided to go with the most inexpensive package available.  Which included the smallest room available to fit four adults, two with significant mobility issues, all of our luggage, a wheelchair and a walker.

About 5 minutes in that room, I was straight-up panicking and begging them for another option.  So, of course, they didn’t have one.

It worked out!  We totally made it.  But it was cramped, and we would have been much more comfortable with some extra room.

Don’t make the same mistake we did.  A little extra space, would have been incredible.  However, my husband and I still talk about the time we ordered room service at 1:30 in the morning and ate it (on the scooter) in the hallway. Some good memories were made in that room.  

The Beds

super hard, uncomfortable beds

The beds are hard which is great if that’s what you’re used to.  I prefer a much softer bed.  You can request an egg crate which helped a little but not a whole lot.  It was a bit  like sleeping on a rock.

For our next cruise, we are definitely grabbing these… 

It’s a camping mattress which rolls up and clips together like a sleeping bag.  The three inch mattress is designed to give you a lot of support since these are made for people who are camping (aka sleeping on the floor).

If You Need Special Equipment

Go for the handicapped room, there are bars in the shower and the whole room is designed to be accessible.  It’s a HUGE room and I’ve heard you can request a toilet seat riser if you need one.  We brought our own though, and it fit perfectly!

Ask for any additional equipment you need.

Toilet seat risers, shower chairs, etc. were available when you contacted guest services.

My dad was hard of hearing and so they presented us with a pager that would go off with any messages or announcements made by the crew.  It was a complete waste of time, we used it once and then pulled the battery!

We couldn’t shut the sound off, so those of us who could hear were awoken early the next morning to a very loud and annoying and constant beeping that pretty much told us that there were a lot of activities happening on the ship today.

You Can Buy a Cane On the Ship.

My mom left her cane at home when we cruised on the Norwegian Joy and by the time we realized it we were already rushing to meet our transportation to the city.  She was very anxious about the cane.  

Once we boarded the ship, we spoke to guest services who contacted medical services and we were able to purchase a cane through them immediately for $30.  

You ARE NOT able to get one in the gift shop, so if you’re missing something, contact guest services.

Bring Water Bottles

Rum and tequila are free flowing on a cruise.  You can get them any time of the day or night.  But water… now that’s harder to come by.

So what happens when you’re super thirsty or you need water to take your meds?  It’s hard to get enough water to keep yourself hydrated unless you plan ahead.

There are no bottles of water available in the gift shops… but they do offer a “delivery” of water bottles (6 liter bottles) for a crazy amount of money (like $30 or something).

Here’s an easier and much cheaper fix!

Grab one of these water bottles and bring them on the ship.  They can be filled up at the buffet every day and kept in the fridge.  Since the buffet is open around the clock

You can fill them up whenever you run out.

 One person can run up to the cafe and fill up all the bottles with fresh water.

Note: The cafe asks that you don’t stick water bottles directly under the water dispenser, so grab a glass and transfer the water to the bottles.

The Cusine

Delicious cuisine

The food was amazing! There are options for every palate and you can literally spend the entire week tasting new things you’ve always wanted to try.

They no longer have a main dining room, now there are 4 that you can choose from (without additional cost). However, all 4 had the exact same menu each night so it really just came down to the waitstaff. Our favorite was the Manhattan Dining Room.

There are specialty dining options which did have an additional cost. A hibachi, a steakhouse, a seafood place… we did the hibachi and the steakhouse as we got them mostly free as part of our offer and they were OUT OF THIS WORLD. The hibachi was great, but the steakhouse was on a whole other level. You will not be sorry of you try them. They were incredible.

The wait staff are phenomenal and they ask you at literally every meal if you have any allergies.  Usually, more than one person asks you.  

If you have any food allergies or special requirements this is a good place to be, because it seems like they are on top of it!

Getting off the Ship

When it’s time to get off the ship in Bermuda, the “traffic” on the ship is insane.  Every elevator is packed, there’s droves of people coming down the stairs and if you manage to make it to the disembarking station, there are a lot of people backed up as far as you can see.

Wait about an hour and ½ before getting off.  Head up to the buffet, grab some lunch and then head out.  We did this and there were only 3 other people waiting to get off.  We were off the boat in 5 minutes. It’s a much easier, stress free way to begin your adventure in Bermuda.  



We spent 3 days docked in Bermuda.   I wasn’t sure about three full days in Bermuda, with no other stops.

My take on cruising had always been that the major draw of a cruise vacation is your ability to see multiple destinations.  So, I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about going to one destination for that long.  Well, it turns out, I am a huge fan!

And it was fabulous for my parents too.  It gave me a chance the first day to check the place out and determine the best way to move around out there BEFORE my dad got off.  

So, on the second day when we headed out to explore Bermuda with daddy, we already had a solid game plan for touring.  Staying in one place was IDEAL for cruising with cancer.

Cruises that stop at multiple destinations are a mad dash to see everything within the 6-8-hour time frame.  This trip was much more relaxed and easy to manage.  

It was so much better to have enough time to actually see this place. To have enough time to really explore, shop, and enjoy the destination much better than attempting to fly through it in 6 hours.

Three days in Bermuda was fantastic. It had the most beautiful beaches, the Royal Naval Dockyard, and historic St. George. On my next trip, I’ve heard Horseshoe Bay Beach is a must-do, so I’ve added it to my bucket list.

At the time of this writing, Bermuda only requires covid tests (you submit your test results) if you’re NOT vaccinated for COVID, but the rules are changing at this point daily. You must submit a travel authorization beforehand though and they email you back with approval.

It was better for us to have an idea of where daddy wanted to go so we could check out all of the logistics of how we could get there… Things are not always handicap accessible.

The best part, almost everything on the boat remained open while we were docked.  

The restaurants, the pool, the spa, some planned activities are all running, in case you decide to stay back.  So, the first afternoon when we returned from off-ship, my husband and I were the only two people in the Hot Tubs (on a ship of 4,000 people, that was pretty awesome!).

Which means you could have the ship to yourself while everyone else was exploring.  

Check out Medjetassist

Make sure Medjetassisst is in place so that if God forbid you end up in an emergency situation and need to return to U.S. You can.  This membership is a 24/7 emergency travel evacuation plan that will get you to YOUR doctor in the event of an emergency that takes place 100 Miles from your home (including international).

If you are cruising with either cancer or another diagnosis that can create issues for you, this is a really great safety plan.  This way you don’t have to worry about a medical crisis on vacation.  

You’ve already ensured that there will be trained medical professionals ready to air lift you out of there.  And for about $150 for the whole year of coverage… that’s a good plan.

You can find out more about Medjetassist here…

Look for Handicapped Bathrooms On The Ship

These are great.  These one-person bathrooms (rather than multiple tiny stalls) can be found all over the ship.  You push a button and the doors open automatically to a large bathroom that can easily accommodate a wheelchair, scooter or two people.

Two words of caution:

The doors are really heavy almost to the point of being dangerous.  I attempted to stop one from closing and it practically knocked me over.  Be prepared to go in and prepared to leave as soon as the doors open.  

Once they start closing get out of the way.

Make sure you lock the door!  If you don’t, anyone who pushes the button after you go in can accidentally reveal you to the world… (Ask me how we know).

Things to do…

Cruise ship

Sea day was my favorite. No pressure to do anything and every thing was open. There were extra charges for things like Bingo, and Deal or No Deal, but there were a TON of free activities too. And there were AMAZING singers and live music everywhere.

The activities on the cruise were fantastic and created for everyone so you’ll be in good shape even if you have to preserve your energy.  

Several of the movies on board had closed captioning, so even if you are hearing impaired you can enjoy the movies, Bingo had large visual cues that were easy to see, and there was plenty of time to “do stuff” and rest.

The Casino had some different rules for the card games.  At the Let it Ride table the casino rule on the ship is you can only use one hand to look at your cards.  My dad has some significant dexterity issues and wasn’t able to make the one hand work.  With some help from the dealer and the Pit Boss, we were able to get an exception.

Activities were at your pace and your interest and included a full water park, mini golf, game shows, bingo, Salsa dancing, slot tournaments, Broadway shows, comedy shows, karaoke and, much more.

A cruise experience is a FANTASTIC way to check some things off your bucket list.  All in all, this cruise was one of the best vacations we have ever had!

And once we figured out exactly what we needed to be successful, everything was smooth sailing.  With a little bit of prep and you will be totally prepared for the vacation of a lifetime!

P.S.  Feeling overwhelmed by everything that comes with this disease?

The Cancer Binder Pack will walk you through the quick and easy system we used to organize our medical information.  Step-by-step instructions, printable forms, and monthly calendar pages so you can ALWAYS find what you need when you need it. 

And, the best part… it’s 100% FREE when you sign up for our weekly emails which are packed full of quick tips and inspiration to help you keep going through this insanely stressful situation (from someone who is living it)…

You can get the Cancer Binder Pack here…

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