Cruise Through the Challenges of Parkinson’s Disease

Life presents challenges to all of us. But for our client, Annabelle, who has Parkinson’s disease, every day presents a challenge to be overcome. When she asked Complete Care Strategies about taking a cruise, our challenge was to make it happen!


Cruises are often ideal vacations for someone with Parkinson’s disease. The schedule is leisurely, handicapped cabins are available, and a cruise avoids multiple hotel changes common to other tour groups. There are many onboard activities a person with Parkinson’s disease can enjoy without supervision and it’s a fun way to participate in new things.



Annabelle Sets Sail

In January of this year, The Parkinson Research Foundation (PRF) hosted an educational cruise in order to give Parkinson’s patients, caregivers, and loved ones unrivaled access to experts in the movement disorder field. Annabelle and her team of caregivers set sail out of Port Canaveral, Florida, aboard Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas ship, and embarked on a seven-night adventure through the Western Caribbean. The patients left the port knowing Parkinson’s experts were on board. But the best part of the cruise was that they formed meaningful connections, experienced exciting new adventures, and were educated on therapies and treatments designed to improve the quality of their lives. It was off the charts for everyone who participated!



Is Cruising Right for You or A Loved One?

Some people have cruise phobias. Here are some Solutions, FAQ’s and Tips for traveling the ocean blue.


Phobia: The cabin may be too tiny.

Solution: Ask for a larger cabin with a view. Handicapped accessible cabins (usually larger) are also available.


Phobia: You are fearful of seasickness.

Solution: There are many over-the-counter and prescription remedies to combat seasickness. And because of the large size of the ship, they feel stable, not rocky.


Phobia: You may eat too much food and gain weight.

Solution: Choose sit-down dining instead of cafeteria-style meals or buffets to prevent over-eating.

On this type cruise, you’ll learn new activities while enjoying the ocean air, watching glorious sunsets and relaxing. Strangers may become friends who will both inspire and amaze you!


Q. Do I have to participate in all of the functions?

A. No, you do not.


Q. What sort of documents do I need to bring with me?

A. Your passport, a photo ID and your sea pass.


Tips for Those Traveling with Parkinson’s Disease:

  1. Pack all meds and an ID card in carry-on luggage stating who with you has Parkinson’s. It should also contain health insurance cards, doctors’ names and phone numbers, as well as incontinence supplies if necessary
  2. Carry a supply of snacks and drinks with a collapsible water cup for administering medications
  3. The person with PD should drink plenty of fluids and rest on the day before leaving and after arriving. Less fluids on the day of travel will reduce bathroom visits
  4. If a time change occurs, medications should be taken as prescribed, with the same number of hours between doses
  5. Pace the itinerary to avoid overtiredness and immobility. It’s a good idea to plan only one or two special events daily, not to start the days too early, and to allow extra time for dressing, eating and walking



We Make Dreams Come True.

Complete Care Strategies will help plan, coordinate, and then accompany clients with health care challenges on a trip such as this, and other vacation destinations. Life is for living!  Let us show you how to make the memories of a lifetime for your loved one.


Lois Young-Tulin

Lois Young-Tulin, PhD, is an Assistant Geriatric Care Manager at Complete Care Strategies