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Cruise Advice: Singapore Wheelchair Access Tips



Singapore is considered the most accessible destination in Asia. The country has a very thorough set of policies regarding accessibility, providing barrier-free access to its citizens as well as visitors from around the world. The policies have been in place for more than 20 years, so it is not surprising to find Singapore being rated as one of the best accessible travel destinations in the world.

The country also has a lot to offer. Whether you love a nice day at the park or an exciting night playing casino games, there is a long list of excitements waiting for you on your next visit to the country.

Getting Around Singapore

Photo: Flickr/Bernard Spragg. NZ

Singapore is basically one big city with a very reliable public transportation system. The city’s MRT system is what you will be using the most to get around. All MRT stations have barrier-free facilities that make accessible travel a breeze. You will always find a ramp and lifts, no matter which station you visit. There are also an ample number of wheelchair-friendly toilets and supporting facilities to use.

What’s interesting is the way the MRT system is designed. As a traveler, you will be able to access popular tourist destinations and some of the hottest spots in Singapore without a problem. A friend of mine who is doing social work in the country as part of his online masters in social work course from Rutgers Online also found the MRT system to be very accessible.

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Even when you can’t reach a destination by MRT, there are plenty of buses and taxis from MRT stations, as well as other spots across the country. Having spent almost a year in Singapore, the MSW online student I talked about earlier suggests a London taxi or the all-in-one SPACE taxi, since both are big enough to accommodate a wheelchair.

Places to Visit in Singapore

Universal Studio Singapore is one of the best destinations to visit if you’re in the country. It is a theme park on Sentosa Island, which is part of the Resorts World Sentosa. You can spend a few days on the island and have plenty of time to enjoy all the rides in the Universal Studio.

Gardens by the Bay is another spectacular attraction to visit. It is a staggering 101 hectares of reclaimed land that was transformed into this gorgeous garden. All of the gardens are situated on a bay, offering spectacular views and breathtaking landscape.

Of course, you can’t visit Singapore without visiting the Singapore Zoo. Be sure to book the Night Safari before your trip so you get to experience the world’s first nocturnal zoo while you are there.

More Tips and Tricks

There are a few things you can prepare before your trip to Singapore to make it more enjoyable. For starters, you can get a complete list of Wheelchair Accessible Bus and Support Facilities from the official Visit Singapore website.

There are also services designed to make traveling to Singapore more convenient. You can, for instance, have a personal assistant with you throughout the trip. This is a handy service to use if you’re traveling alone.

You really have nothing to worry about if you’re visiting Singapore on a holiday. The country is truly wheelchair-accessible and you will have a great time exploring its beauty.

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Program Eases Exploring for Passengers in Seattle



Delta has partnered with the Port of Seattle for a new program at the T91 cruise terminal.  The program will allow cruise guests to drop off their bags, and explore the city without the burden of luggage before catching their flight home.

Cruise ships arrive back in port early in the morning, and many guests don’t fly home until late afternoon.  Through the new program, guests traveling with Delta can check in, and check their baggage with an onsite Delta facility as soon as they disembark, allowing them to explore a little bit before heading to the airport.  Of course, guests leaving in the morning can bypass this new amenity, and just head straight to the airport as usual.

The program launched in late July, with a small team checking almost 200 bags, all before signage was even in place yet.  Since then, Delta has checked in over 6,500 guests and 6,000 bags, and has been receiving positive feedback from customers.  The program will continue through October 1.

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Passengers find out about the service through the cruise lines during booking, onboard the ship, and by signs in the terminal once they disembark.  So far, Delta is the only airline doing this, and if the program continues to be successful, they will continue to offer it for the full cruise season in 2017.

What do you think of this new program? Would you like to see it expand to other cruise ports in the future?

Information: Delta

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Cruise Line Buys Jet



For most cruisers who aren’t homeporting, getting to the ship can be highly stressful. Maybe you’re driving to the port and have to figure out where to park for a week without paying an arm and a leg. If you’re flying, you have to choose between arriving the same day and hoping there are no delays or coming in a day early and spending the night in a hotel.

Now, close your eyes for a moment and imagine being whisked to your port in a private jet, surrounded by such luxuries as a three-person divan that opens into a large bed, a lounge, XM radio with surround sound, in-flight phone service and, of course, a high-temp oven. Hey, you never know when you might wanna bake some cookies while jetting off to the yacht of your dreams!

Did We Mention The Bathroom?

Turns out that you, too, can jet off to your cruise in luxury… for a price, of course. This month, Crystal Cruises raised the bar with the launch of Crystal Luxury Air, which the company’s president and CEO, Edie Rodriguez, said would “open tremendous possibilities for luxury travelers seeking the next level of ease and exclusivity during their journeys.”

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We’re talking major, high-end luxury here, folks. How high-end? Well, here’s how a writer for Travel Weekly described a certain feature found aboard the Bombardier Global Express XRS jet: “I have to admit, we were especially wowed by the back bathroom,” wrote Jeri Clausing. “Complete with a square leather seat covering the toilet, it’s large and plush enough to serve as the proverbial office.”

Have special requests? Never fear! Rodriguez assures clients that, “in the spirit of all things Crystal, and ensuring we offer customization to our guests, Crystal Luxury Air allows our travel agent partners and guests the ability to truly customize their vacation experiences to privately fly to combine our cruise, yacht, river, residence and air experiences.”

The jet is the first entry in Crystal’s soon-to-expand fleet, which will see them adding a Boeing 777 in 2017 and a 787 Dreamliner in 2018. For more on all things Crystal, click here.

Featured photo: Crystal Cruises

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13 Tips for Surviving International Flights



Traveling internationally is time-consuming and exhausting, but we’ve come up with 13 tips to help make your flight a little easier.

1. Book Your Seat Early

Book your seat as early as you can to get your best possible choice. Everyone has their own preference; some like to sit up front to be the first off the plane when it lands and some like to sit in the emergency exit row for the extra leg room. Whatever you prefer, book it as soon as possible.

2. Watch Your Connection Times

It can be tempting to book a connecting flight that has a 1-hour layover. Who wants to sit and wait 5 more hours after an 8-hour flight for their connection? Don’t fall into this trap. Your first flight could be delayed for any number of reasons, so it’s always a good idea to leave a good cushion of time (usually at least 3 hours for international flights) to account for any issues. Regardless, you should purchase travel insurance to protect yourself in case your first flight ends up getting cancelled.

3. Research Your Aircraft

You’ll probably want to look into what kind of plane you’ll be flying in and whether or not it offers WiFi or if they at least offer movies on demand to help keep you entertained for your trip. In addition, while you’re looking this up, it wouldn’t hurt to find out some specs on your plane, like the size and type, so you’re aware of how many other people will be onboard and what safety features it has.

4. Know what DC Power Is

Unbeknownst to me, some airlines (like American) have not converted their planes to have standard plugs in their planes, and still have DC power outlets under their seat. This will do you absolutely no good unless you have a car cigarette lighter adapter that converts to USB power.  To avoid being up the creek, pick up a cheap car charger next time you’re checking out of CVS or Walgreens.

5. Bring a Hoodie

You never know where or when it will be cold or if the person next to you on the airplane will keep the cold air nozzle blasting for your entire 10-hour flight. Play it safe and keep a hoodie on hand so you’re not a popsicle by the time you get to where you’re going.

6. And Meds

You should, of course, always keep your prescription medications with you in your carry-on, but it’s also wise to bring a few over-the-counter drugs and a small “emergency” kit as well. Pack it with things like Advil or Tylenol for a headache or general pain, Tums for an upset stomach, an antihistamine like Benadryl for allergies, and bandaids for any small accidents. If your flight is taking you to a cruise, don’t forget to pack some Dramamine as well. These medicines will also come in handy if you’re traveling to a country where you don’t speak the language, as it will be much more difficult to purchase Tylenol if you don’t know how to ask for it. Further, there are some countries where even over-the-counter medications require a prescription from a doctor, so it’s best to just take your own rather than deal with an international hassle.

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7. Stay Healthy

The best thing you can do for yourself before and during your trip is to stay healthy. Take care to eat well and exercise at the level you’re used to. Also, make smart choices. If you’re used to eating super healthy, don’t have a “Forget it; I’m on vacation!” moment and go crazy on some hot wings and cheese fries in the airport before your flight. If your stomach doesn’t agree with your decisions, the last place you want for that to happen is in the middle of a flight.

8. Disinfect

Another thing to carry with you is a small, travel-size bottle of hand sanitizer. You will be encountering all sorts of germs coming from every corner of the world, so sanitize yourself often. The last thing you want is to get sick while you’re on your trip.

9. Go Easy on Booze

For an international flight, chances are you have a long trip ahead of you. Not only will your flight take several hours, but you will have to go through customs, and then maybe another flight or you have to board a train, catch a cab, or navigate a new city with a taxi driver who barely speaks your language. Don’t make this harder on yourself by getting drunk. That buzz may feel good for a minute, but it won’t be worth it if you end up missing your connecting flight because you ended up in the airport bathroom for a while.

10. Stretch

On really long flights, getting blood clots from sitting stationary for too long is a very real threat, so don’t be afraid to get up, stretch, and take a quick walk up and down the aisle of the plane just to get your blood flowing again.

11. Hydrate

Because there is such low humidity in airplane cabins, you can get dehydrated more quickly than normal. Don’t shy away from drinking water because you don’t want to get up to use the restroom and bother the people sitting next to you – your health is more important!

12. Noise-Canceling Headphones

It only takes one flight with a crying baby for a person to buy a pair of these. Of course, it’s not always a baby. Sometimes it’s the people who decide to have very loud conversations for the entire flight. Either way, if there’s anything on this list that is worth the investment, these are it.

13. Dress Comfortable

Flying internationally means you’ve got a lengthy travel process that, in addition to a normal flight, includes a customs line and probably includes additional travel like taxis, buses, trains, or cruises. That being said, dress comfortably. That doesn’t mean show up in your pajamas, but dress comfortably enough that you know you can wear those clothes without complaint for your entire journey – or perhaps longer, in case they should lose your luggage.

Do you have any tips for surviving your international flight?

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