Monthly Archives: September 2013

Wheelchair Accessible Cruises


There are loads of awesome ways to see the world, but one of the best by far is by taking a cruise.  The ability to see multiple cities without having to change hotel rooms is unbeatable when you use a wheelchair.

But there can be a lot of questions before booking that wheelchair accessible cruise.  How will I get on the ship?  How accessible will my room be? How accessible are the common areas? Wonder no more because we’ve found four awesome videos that show how accessible they really are.

In our first video, we get to watch how they load a wheelchair-user onto the Dawn Princess, of the Princess Cruise line, while it’s in port at Langakawi (an island off Malaysia) when a gang plank must be used to board; meaning, there are stairs to climb.

They end up using a Stairclimber, an nifty chair that can climb stairs, helping the wheelchair-using passenger get up the i long gang plank.  Watch cruise ship employees help him up

That are hundreds of homemade video tours showing accessible rooms on cruise ships, but this has got to be one of my favorites. It features Angelia McDonald, a sassy wheelchair-user, who just boarded the ship and sees her room for the first time – a perfectly accessible suite with a balcony on the Carnival Dream.

The suite has everything, from both a Jacuzzi and roll-in shower, a ramp to get on the balcony, a dressing area and vanity (which is huge by the way), multiple TVs, a safe, a fridge; you get the idea.  Watch her tour of suite 7270 on the Carnival Dream

If you’ve never been on a cruise ship before, the one thing whenever you go on one is that the ships are always much bigger in person.  To get an idea of how they really are, this video does a bang up job. It’s a full-length tour of the Promenade Deck on the Dawn Princess, recorded completely from the first-person perspective of a power wheelchair user. It’s super fun to watch. Watch the zooming footage

And if you ever watch the Today Show, you may know who Peter Greenberg is, a travel expert who frequently profiles destinations and travel deals.  He also makes videos for the web, including a video giving a fantastic overview of accessible cruises – what to look for, cruise lines that offer accessible tenders (Holland America), planning accessible excursions and which cruise line offers automated doors on all state rooms. Watch his video

Don’t forget, cruises can take you anywhere, from good ‘ol Mexico to Japan, and the ships only keep getting better and better for us wheelers.  If there ever was a time to take a cruise, it definitely is now. Ready for The Rock Boat XIV anyone?

Have you been on a wheelchair accessible cruise?  What was the accessibility like?

Watch the videos about wheelchair accessible cruises!

Wheelchair-user using the Stairclimber to enter a ship via the gang plank

Tour of a beautiful wheelchair accessible suite with balcony on the Carnival Dream

Zippy fast tour of the promenade deck on a Princess cruise boat from the perspective of a power wheelchair

Overview of cruise ship accessibility from travel expert Peter Greenberg

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SCI Superstar: Drew Bates


For Drew Bates, his injury has been all about turning lemons into sweet, sweet lemonade, and it’s looking pretty tasty from here. A trained actor by trade, after his injury Drew created a unique offshoot for his talents, knowing he wouldn’t get as much screen time and roles as a chair-user; a sad but true fact of the industry.

What he ended up specializing in is truly exciting – animation and voice-over acting, and he’s developed a very cool animation series that Cartoon Network and MTV have shown interest in. Read on to learn all about Drew Bates, a hardworking Southern boy who’s an expert at reinventing his talents.

Why he’s fearless

Drew’s journey into life as a quadriplegic began in 2007.  He was 32 years old and driving home from Las Vegas, all the way to Columbia, South Carolina, when he got caught up in a blizzard and was hit by a semi, becoming a C5-6 quad on impact.  After being in denial and his condition the first few months, he started to accept his new life, and he knew he had to make some serious modifications to his acting career if he still wanted to make a living from it. Watch him talk about his injury

A year before his injury ironically enough he created his company UniquePublications LLC, dedicated to providing entertainment for kids and families. He decided to branch off from that, adding more voices to his voice-over skills repertoire. And let me say – this guy had some mad skills in this department.

Big announcer voices, animals, talking chickens, straightforward commercial voices, the Wookie voice, an awesome Arnold Schwarzenegger, not to mention the perfect Southern accent, he does it all.  Listen to his commercial demo reel

Armed with his new voices, Drew decided to create an animation series called Redneck Ninjas, featuring exactly what it sounds like – Rednecks with ninja skills, or at least they think they have them at least.  It’s pretty hysterical, and it has a great energy to it.  Drew has been busy shopping it around at big networks Cartoon Network.  Hopefully we’ll see it on TV very soon.  Watch the Reneck Ninjas infomercial

What’s next?

With Redneck Ninjas waiting for its day in the sun, Drew and company have created another project – a full-length animation movie script called HOTEL FIREFLY, an 80-min animated action/comedy feature film for Children & Families.

The HOTEL FIREFLY provides shelter for weary travelers. Yet bad storms, and debt threaten its security. So Firefly, the hotelier, seeks insurance from an old school gangster, Don Cockroaccio. With a cockroach as a guide, insects chase their dreams in New Jersey’s “bug-eat-bug” world. Sounds like something kids will love, and exciting exciting – he plans on pitching the script in LA next month. Good luck Drew! Check out cover-art for the script here

At the end of the day, the awesome thing about Drew Bates is this – he hasn’t let his creative energy be diminished at all by his injury.  He is one determined guy and we love him for it.

Visit his site:

How have you re-tooled your skills after your injury?

Watch the videos!

Drew Bates shares his story with journalist Jamie Hicks

Drew Bates on ABC Columbia on the program, “Make the Best Out of Your Life”

Redneck Ninjas TV: Meet the characters

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