Caregiver Cruise

2016 Caregiver Cruise to New England and Canada!

We know it can be difficult to travel when your loved one has memory impairment, but we all still need a vacation! Both the individual with a dementia diagnosis and their caregiver are able to attend the cruise, making the program possibly the first of its kind in the country. Insight provides supervision during excursions, and respite at sea, giving cruise participants the opportunity for a vacation in a safe environment, in the company of others who “get it.” In addition to the many benefits a cruise offers – the chance for a vacation, seeing new sights, a getaway – the caregiver cruise provides families with a sense of normalcy.

One caregiver shared: "It was just fun to be with other people because at home I’m pretty isolated and this gave me an opportunity to be with people, be entertained, go to the shows, just relax and enjoy things - without my husband and with my husband."

Check Out What We Did!

We made daily posts here with trip highlights and excursions so you can feel like you've cruised along with us!
We departed from Baltimore on Thursday, May 26, 2016, and returned Saturday, June 4, 2016 with stops in Boston, Portland, Bar Harbor, St. John, and Halifax.

Day 8: High Stakes at the High Seas!

Day 8: High Stakes at the High Seas!

June 2, 2016

Today was our second day at sea, which meant Joel and Christi again provided respite care to the individuals with the diagnosis, so their caregivers could have some free time to do whatever it is they wanted! Caregivers took advantage by taking a nap, getting their nails done, having some lunch alone, and enjoying conversations with other caregivers.

They day started out with everyone doing breakfast on their own. The Windjammer was quiet this morning. We think everyone was exhausted from a long day in Halifax. Oh, we did find out why we were delayed yesterday - there was a small fire in the engine room! But it was contained quickly and we were able to move on. After breakfast, everyone met in the Schooner Bar at 10am where we played progressive trivia. Let us tell you – the Royal Caribbean staff is NOT messing around when it comes to the rules of the trivia games! Apparently you are only allowed 6 people per team. While we were not going to submit our answers (because we were just playing for fun), they came and told us to break up our team because we had too many people! Alas, we let them know we were just playing for fun (but we are not 100% sure they believed us!).

After trivia, the caregivers departed and we headed into our conference room where we talked with the group about the cruise experience thus far. We talked about their favorite ports, if they liked cruising, what was their favorite part of the cruise, do they like the ports or sea days better, are they ready to go home, if they would like to cruise again, and where would they like to go. We had some great conversations and we were happy to hear that everyone has enjoyed the cruise so far, but they are ALMOST ready to go home! Luckily, we only have one more day before we are back in port at Baltimore!

After that discussion we talked about some baseball facts – which the group did very well. Granted, Christi focused heavily on the Yankees (because she claims Derek Jeter is her boyfriend), but everyone contributed to the conversation.

Then it was off to lunch in the Park Café in the Solarium. We thought it would be quieter there, but it was PACKED. We were lucky to find a table, but tomorrow it will be back to the dining room for lunch. It was sweet to see that the guys in the group were VERY complimentary of their wives throughout the day. Steve saw a woman walk by that resembled his wife Ruth and said “my wife is prettier.” Paul said that “he couldn’t imagine life without Pat.” It just goes to show how much these guys really love their wives!

After lunch, it was time for some Black Jack! We set up the conference room as a poker table and every one took their chances against The House (Christi)! We divided up into teams – The Steve’s, Sophie and Paul, Mary and Susan, and John and Jim. We played many hands of Black Jack with everyone trying to beat The House, but in the end it was Team John and Jim that won it all! Granted, we were playing with Chocolate coins, but everyone was happy to get a piece of that prize! Tomorrow, we will be doing the “Not So Newlywed Game” as the afternoon activity!

Then at 2pm, the caregivers returned to pick up their loved ones, either in the Schooner Bar or at the Movie. Everyone had a chance to have some free time before our second Formal Night! Everyone looked so good in their Sunday’s best at dinner! We were treated to Prime Rib and Lobster as well as Baked Alaska and we were introduced to the “back of the house” staff, whom we rarely see. Also during dinner, Joel and Christi gave everyone a picture from the first formal night of each couple as a thank you for coming on the Caregiver Cruise. Everyone loved it. The prize for most adorable picture went to Paul and Pat as they were mid kiss in their picture!

After dinner everyone again split up and either went to the evening Show, Savannah Jack, or to the 70’s Disco Party in the Centrum. From a medley of Donna Summer and all the Disco greats to The Village People, it was a great evening and everyone had a blast! We had not seen so many people up dancing all cruise. Just goes to show you – play some Lionel Richie and it gets people up! Also, Sophie made her triumphant return to the Morning Show with a cruise recap of her favorite port and how she liked the cruise!

Finally, we wanted to be sure to let everyone know about our FABULOUS dining room staff who served us an amazing dinner meal each night on the cruise with THE BEST service possible! Moises, Ananstasia, Shekar, DanDan and the Lead Waiter - Emina. What a fantastic group of people! Emina Salkanovic is the Lead Waiter and hails from Croatia. She has invited us all to visit and just told us to ask for her when we arrive! She has worked for Royal Caribbean for 7 years. She has loved her time with the cruise line, but hopes to be able to go back to Croatia at some point in the next couple of years to settle down, start a family and figure out the next step in her career. She has learned so much from Royal Caribbean and truly wants to make every guests’ experience an enjoyable one. She is a hard worker! We see her every morning in the Windjammer and every night at dinner and then sometimes late at night prepping for the next day! We want to thank each of these people for making our time memorable and for that, we will be forever grateful! We love them all!!!

Tomorrow is our final day; it seemed like the cruise flew right on by! Lesson of the day – if you are going to a 70‘s Dance Party, you better be prepared to DANCE! Brush up on all the hits because you never know when they will call on you to join the party on the dance floor!! #shakeyourgroovething #yeahyeah

Trying out the progressive trivia – just for fun!

Discussing our favorites from the cruise!

Trying to beat The House at Black Jack.

Chocolate coin jackpot!

Everyone dressed up for dinner!

In our Sunday Best!

To enjoy our steak and lobster dinner!

And enjoy each other’s company.

Many thanks to our fantastic dining room staff!

It was great getting to know them!

70s Party after dinner!

Up dancing!

Sophie on the Morning Show!

It was a great evening!