Royal Caribbean is synonymous with vacation cruising, after all, their ships ply all of the seven seas and are some of the most recognizable in the cruise liners in the world. Yet, it is on one of their quiet and out of the way cruises that you can find the most relaxation and truly find the space to have some fun. Several of their ships stop at their private island of Coco Cay, and believe me the place is well worth a visit. Yes, it has the tourist-trap shops, but what place doesn’t nowdays?

Its true charm comes from the efficient yet luxurious layout of the island: food, seating, fun and sand; all within easy reach of each other. It was in July of ’07 that my husband Stew’ and I went there. Very often, he doesn’t bother going ashore to beach-type excursions. You see, he has MS, and as a result must use an electric wheelchair to get around. Well, wheelchairs (even ones as powerful as his) and sand do not generally make a good mix. So he was going to stay on the ship and I’d go ashore to go snorkeling. But, the crew assured us that he could be able to get around on his own and have a good time doing it.

As I recall, I think there had been a bit of rain that morning and Stewart was a little worried about his chair getting wet. Still, we knew there was shelter on the island, so he decided to go for it. Getting on the tender boat was a bit of a bother, but not as bad as on some other cruise lines. At the dock, the gangplank lowered and it was an easy roll out onto the sand. Here it was - the first test. As it turned out, the paths and trails were very tightly packed, so Stew’ had no trouble getting around.

I went off to snorkel and he went sightseeing. He picked up some great bargains and gifts for the family. When I got back, having had a great time, he announced that he wanted to try and get down to the water’s edge. Well I wasn’t too sure about that, but he seemed confident that the sand would support his chair. So, off we went. Down the main “road” past the picnic area and around the lounge chairs. We found a narrow path to the beach and he pushed his chair into high gear. To my delight and surprise, he made it; not getting stuck once.

At the water’s edge he turned his chair off and I helped him to stand. Slowly, cautiously, we made our way into the water. For the next hour, we reveled in the simple joy of swimming; the water’s buoyancy negating his physical limitations.

I know people aren’t supposed to do commercials for a particular product or business when talking about vacation spots, but I have to compliment Royal Caribbean for their private vacation spot. People who are whole and hearty almost never stop to think what disabled people go through to have a bit of fun. That there is a place where they can, warms my heart.