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Should we take Mum on a cruise?


Registered User
Apr 25, 2015
Mum has lived with us for 18 months since my step father died. She is 89 and has AD but most of the time she is still my lovely Mum. She loves to sit in the garden in the sun or just to be out and about feeling the sun on her face. I know that through November she will get more and more miserable as the darker colder days progress.
I have booked to take her on a cruise at the end of November. It leaves from Southampton so we don't need to fly and it goes to the Canaries where she can enjoy warm sunshine. As well as my husband and myself our 25 year old grandaughter will join us and share a cabin with Mum so she is not alone in the night.
My brother and sister live away from us and see little of Mum but they are both adamant that we should not take her on a cruise. They say she is not fit. I have asked our doctor and also an Alzheimer's Counselor and both were 100% in favour of taking her and listed many benefits, such as stimulation in a safe environment . The doctor says she is fit to go.
This has not softened my siblings and I have been told I must cancel the cruise. Without a good reason this will cost a great deal but I do not want to cancel. I want to take Mum and give her the best holiday I can.
Am I being unreasonable and selfish? Should I continue with our plans and hope they come round in time or should I give in and cancel?
I really need your thoughts on this. Has anyone taken an AD sufferer on a cruise?


Registered User
May 21, 2014
Not on a cruise but to Iceland a few years ago. He enjoyed it so much. We still go on holiday, though it's supported ones now, with people to assist.
If you think she's up for it, who are they to object? Unless they got a health and welfare LPA for her, tell them to go whistle. Life doesn't stop just because you've got dementia. Yes, holidays can be stressful and people react differently to being taken out of their usual environment but I guess you know whether she could cope?


Registered User
Jul 27, 2013
Considering you are the main carers and live with all the time not them, how would they know what's right for her.
If you can go ahead , ignoring them do so.


Registered User
Apr 2, 2012
Forest of Dean

I too am thinking if taking my O/H on a cruise! Why Not?

It sounds as tho my O/H is much further along in his illness than your Mum, but I think that if we don't do it now whilst he is still able to enjoy some of it, then we never will.

If you, who obviously care for your mum, and the professionals who deal with her think it's OK, then what exactly is their objection?

Perhaps you could ask them? They might just say she is unwell, but I may be being uncharitable, or just plain cynical, but it may be that they are either jealous of you going, or worried that you are 'spending mum's money' !

How much do they do for her?

I say Go and enjoy it, & please take plenty of photos of mum enjoying herself with you all and places etc, so that you can do a lovely memory book for her, so that when she does forget you can both sit together and reminisce over the good times. As this illness progresses there are precious few of those!


Registered User
Mar 11, 2014
Just because someone has Alzheimers, doesn't mean they can't enjoy new experiences. I still travel long haul with my husband, who's in mid stage AD, but just make sure I've thought in advance of the issues that might arise so I know I can cope and still enjoy the trip too. Make lots of memories whilst you can and enjoy the trip.


Registered User
Oct 18, 2013
British Isles
Go while she is still able to, especially as you have the GP advice. My Mum used to need a bit of winter sun to get her through the dark days. I took her to Madeira in Nov 2013 and certainly didn't regret it, the happy photos were something I often showed her when I had to move her into a nursing home. 13 months after that holiday she was unable to stand without 2 carers, to feed herself, was doubly incontinent etc.

You are caring for her day to day so best know her abilities - think your siblings need to come up with something a bit more concrete if they don't want her to go. Are they offering to move in and care for her while the three of you go (after all, you deserve your holiday)??? Also, as bright light therapy can be good for some with dementia, your sunny hol could actually be classed as a treatment!

The cruise gives you all something to look forward to, which is great. Hope you all have a lovely time and take lots of photos.


Registered User
Oct 5, 2013
Whilst a lot can happen between now and November, a. Friend of mine took her AD husband on several cruises. She said she needed help, but otherwise he loved it. As you are taking granddaughter, there should be no problem.
I wouldn't have taken my husband, but his walking was poor and no one to come with us!


Volunteer Moderator
Jul 14, 2006
We went on 2 cruises whilst my husband had Alzheimer's. The first one was with my brother and his wife.

Two years later I decided we should go again, this time on our own. He was at the stage that he could not be left alone but we had a very enjoyable holiday though we did not do any trips this time, just did sightseeing in the cities we visited. I am sure you will manage very well with three of you to look after your Mum. Some of the cabins can be a bit on the small size and without a port hole which might make her feel uncomfortable.

If you feel it is ok for your Mum, and you know her best, then go for it and enjoy.


Registered User
Apr 25, 2015
Thank you

Thank you so much to all of you who have responded. There is not one negative comment. :) I am so glad I asked you as I was beginning to doubt myself. :confused:
Jaymor and Spamar thanks for your feedback on cruising with AD. Gigglemore, Tigerqueen, Triumph25 and Beate thanks for feedback on holidays with AD.
Jaymor we have booked an outside cabin so Mum will have a window. Gigglemore, I am so glad you have photos and happy memories of Madeira. That is something no-one can take away from you when the going gets rough. I do like the idea of a cruise as therapy! :D My sister did offer to have Mum but the whole idea of the cruise is to give Mum a lovely holiday not to swan off without her. Tiger Queen, I have tried to think ahead, booking a wheelchair and assisted boarding. Triumph25, My sister says Mum is not fit enough. She says she is not interested in my opinion or the doctor's! Kjn and Beate, I do feel that as I am with Mum 24/7 my opinion ought to count for something but I do not want to break up the family over this for Mum's sake. She sees little enough of them as it is.
I really hope we will all be able to go and I will take lots of photos to help Mum remember the sunshine and the good time we had.
Thank you all again for your support.


Registered User
Jul 8, 2014
Sounds like a great plan. My husband is in early stages AD and we did a cruise up and down the Norwegian coast in May. It really suited him because we got to see loads of things but we had the same room and he got used to the layout of the boat.

My only suggestion is that you think about taking out travel insurance in case anything happens between now and November that would prevent you going. There are a number of firms that will insure current conditions, including AD.

Hope you have a fantastic time and enjoy every minute of it. It's only when you live with someone with AD that you learn that you focus on what IS possible rather than what ISN'T and that really most things are possible with a bit of forethought and imagination.


Registered User
Jan 22, 2011
Sounds great. We took unto Tenerife whilst in early stages and she benefitted somuch from it.

Have you seen the lovely prunella scales who sadly has early dementia and her husband Timothy west inthe caal journeys series. Last night they were in France.

Lovely memories for you.


Registered User
Apr 5, 2013
My mother and I went on a cruise last year and we had the best time EVER.

Like your mother she loves to bask in the sunshine. I can t drive so it seemed the best option esp since I wanted to make sure we'd have access to a doctor and emergency medical care the whole time.

Not only does she have middle stage mixed VA and AD, she is very disabled. However, we flew to Rome with her walker, wheelchair, power scooter and travel commode as well as the usual travel and meds and incontinence paraphernalia. Getting on and off the plane was a little stressful but we had such fun it was worth it a thousand times.

It took me a couple of weeks to recover .....but Ma was absolutely fine!. I would recommend a cruise to anyone with special needs.

I don't know which Cruise line you are going on but the ship we were on had such a high ratio of staff to passenger that we were totally spoiled. They also have a system where they provide beepers for people who might go wandering and get lost.
The staff were so kind and helpful ....and constantly went beyond the call of duty. If I had the money I would take Ma and live on a cruise ship till the money was gone.

I wonder if your siblings have actually thought this through ?. Who has advised them that this is not a good idea?. It would be a real shame if this causes a rift between you all.

I so hope you decide to go........you ll have such a wonderful time.

Sent from my iPad using Talking Point


Registered User
Apr 25, 2015
Thank you again

Three more positive comments! Not one person has said 'Don't Go!'
Thank you Sammyjo and Submarine for your experience of taking people with AD on a cruise. I have taken out insurance and we are going with P and O so I believe the ratio of staff to passengers is quite high. Submarine I can't even contemplate flying with all that luggage. Well done you! and I am so glad you had FUN! That is what I want for Mum. Although we have cruised several times before my siblings haven't so they don't know what it is like. I really want to take Mum but without breaking up the family. Sammyjo I agree that most things are possible with a bit of forethought and planning. Mum will get used to the cabin and she will be in a wheelchair when she leaves it with one us pushing her so no danger of getting lost. Dottyd I am so glad your Mother benefited from your holiday in Tenerife. Yes we have watched the canal boat series with Prunella Scales and her husband. It is lovely but a bit sad.
Thank you again, everyone. I feel so much more positive about it all now. I just wish I could convince the others.


Registered User
Mar 26, 2014
Hello JulieP. I can also add to these positive comments . How lucky is your mum to have such a wonderful , caring daughter who wants to include her in making the most wonderful memories ! I have taken my mum on many holidays and she used to go on cruises with a group of friends when she was diagnosed with dementia . The cruise staff were absolutely fantastic and wrote her notes that she still treasures today . She still looks at the photos and her eyes light up even now when her dementia has progressed to a severe point . In fact your post has put the thought in my head to take my mum on a cruise this year , even on my own . I hope you and your mum have the most fabulous time . Let us know how you get on when you come back as I'm sure your adventure will inspire others to do the same . Best wishes .

Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point

Angela T

Registered User
Jul 13, 2014
Hi JulieP,

I agree with previous posters - life does not stop when you have Alzheimer's, and you know your Mum and what she will enjoy.

I just travelled for 2 days with my mother (89) - a journey which should have taken 8 hours - but trains were cancelled etc.... and she loved every minute of it "What an adventure!" she kept saying - and I realised that for her, it was all new and exciting... she just enjoyed being with us, she felt safe - and it was all new experiences - something she doesn't get much of nowadays.

Your brother and sister don't know your mum well enough to know what she needs, or what she will enjoy.

Have a wonderful time !


Registered User
Jul 3, 2015
Go for it!

Hi JulieP,we took My Mum on 4 cruises after she was diagnosed with myself my wife and 3 grandchildren.We had the most fantastic time.Mum's disease has now progressed but with prompting she can remember those times and they really bring a smile to her face and to everyone who went.
I don't want to stir things up but I can't help but wonder if guilt is part of your siblings objections coupled with not fully understanding mum's condition.Some people I knew thought it was mad to take Mum away but we took her on lots of short breaks too and she loved every single one.I also think some people think on a cruise ship with children/vulnerable people that they are going to fall overboard.Anyone who has been on a cruise knows how unlikely this is.
I say go for it and have a great time.
I haven't taken My own Mum away for a while as she now does wander more but her lifelong friend who lives in Guernsey keeps asking me to take her.I would have to share a room with her which is a bit awkward as Mum is still quite private about dressing etc.I'm looking for a solution like adjoining rooms.


Registered User
Jul 3, 2015
Hi JulieP we recently took my father on a taster cruise from Southampton in May of this year. I am his main carer fortunately other family members were available to provide support as he needed to be in a cabin with my brother. I could not praise enough the staff onboard and those greeting us. As others have said the level of staff to passengers is impressive and quality of service was incredibly high! I do believe it depends which cruise line you are going with however! This was also my first cruise.
My father' disorientation increased whilst on the cruise especially as he did not know his bearings in the cabin but this is resolved by the fact that you will be with your mother to reassure her.
Biggest piece of advice I can give you is given the size of these cruise ships from the point of arrival or even give them a call in advance inform the staff that you have a vulnerable person with you and you require help and preferably the use of a wheelchair during the course of the cruise!!! My fathers mobility is good but he would never have managed the distance to the ship from check in at Southampton and it was useful to have the wheelchair throughout as the decks are really big. The staff will also help you as much as possible, we had to pay a small fee for each day we had the wheelchair on board ship.
I would not hesitate to take him again he loved the food and the shows things are so well organised it is ideal for someone with this condition I would not be put off by the rest of your family! I hope you decide to go it is a wonderful experience for you also


Registered User
Apr 5, 2010
Remember to take an alarm to wake you in case she decides to go walkabout in the night.


Registered User
Apr 25, 2015
You are all wonderful

I have just read through all the comments again and I feel overwhelmed by all the care I can feel pouring from your pages. I think you are all wonderful! You are all looking after someone yet you have enough love and compassion to care so much for people you don't even know. Cariad58, I have already booked the wheelchair and the assisted boarding as I know Mum can neither walk far nor stand because she has no balance. Louby65, thank you so much for your comments and advice. I do hope you and your Mum will go on that cruise and enjoy it.
Thank you again all of you for your comments and advice, for sharing your experiences and just for caring.