The BLOG is now open

Anyone have any great travel stories, cruise reviews or travelogs? I would like to create a blog here that is interesting, informative and topical. But that is too much for me. So, if you want to help, I have decided to open it up.
If you are interested in contributing (one shot, or regularly) email me at daveholman@verizon.net, and leave your address, I will add you as an author.
All I ask is that you keep your posts on the subject at hand, and that any advertising for your site or your business be subtle. :-) I would ask you to refrain completely, but I know better, however links to businesses other than http://www.daveholmantravel.com or http://daveholmantravel.homestead.com will be deleted. See how subtle I was?

Thanks for your assistance

Wheelchair Cruising - a brief history

As I alluded to in my profile, my very first cruise was in 1981 on Carnival's first new-build, the Tropicale, then in her maiden season. When I first approached my Mother and Stepfather with the idea of taking my brother on a cruise they were, to say the least, taken aback. In those days, only rich old people took pleasure cruises. And wheelchair-bound hemiplegics didn't go anywhere except the doctor's and physical therapy.But, being all of 22 years old, and invincible and stupid - I prevailed, (did I mention I have always been a fairly good salesman?), and off we went.On the big day, we drove to San Pedro and boarded (after 3 hours in line - after all there were nearly a thousand people) this behemoth of a ship (47, 000 grt, I think).After getting aboard we went to our 160 s.f. stateroom, which, of course (remember this is nearly a decade before the ADA) had a 22" door to accommodate a 28" wide wheelchair. A little quick thinking on my part, and we did a standing transfer from the wheelchair to the desk chair in the stateroom, then drug my brother in and transferred back to the wheelchair. Whereupon we discovered the bathroom door was both 22" narrow, AND had a 3" lip. So, for the next 7 days, this became the 2-3 times daily ritual.Oh, to be young and strong again.And every other doorway on the ship had that same 3" lip. And their were 3 or 4 steps down into the dining room, with no ramp. This last is actually what sold me on cruising. Our first time to the dining room, upon seeing the wheelchair, the Maitre d' snapped his fingers and 4 busboys came running, to lift my brother, and his chair and carry him down the steps. For the next seven days, 3 times a day, we were met at the door by staff, waiting to carry him. Now, THAT is service.Needless to say, we had a great time, despite it all.Now, fast forward to 2007. Me and my brother cruised Hawaii on NCL's Pride of Hawaii. Upon arriving at the dock, we were escorted to a special line for handicapped passengers, and got on the boat in about 30 minutes. Whereupon we found our wheelchair accessible cabin, with a 36" doors at the entry and the bathroom, about 300 s.f., nicely arranged for easy access. And the various home medical items I had arranged to rent got to the stateroom before we did. In a week, I found one door with a lip, and there were ramps into every dining room and lounge that needed it, as well as a section of the main theatre where wheelchairs could park and see the stage.Over the course of many cruises from 1983 to 2007, we have seen a steady evolution of ships to become ever more accessible. Cruise lines seem much more cognizant of the needs of ALL passengers than hotels, airlines, or any other segment of the travel industry. Combine that with the level of service on even a budget cruise, compared to lackadaisical hotel staff, and downright hostile airlines, and it is easy to see why, when potential clients with various disabilities ask me about the best vacation choices I nearly always recommend cruising.

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The Places I have been

It has been a bad week - building a new website for Dave Holman Travel Services. Check it out at http://daveholmantravel.homestead.com I might get out of the travel business, and take up website development. I know way more now than I ever wanted to about html, gifs, footers, etc.

Which is also to say, I have nothing to write about. Maybe a travel life list would be good. Boring, but very "keyword rich" as we webheads say. LOL

So, my first travel was as a kid with driving vacations to Yellowstone National Park, Utah, and many times to Tucumcari, NM (where my mother is from), and all around the Southwest. Then, of course the move to Puerto Rico. During our time there we went to every city on the Island, like Ponce, Mayaguez, Fajardo, Aguadilla, etc. We also flew over to St. Croix a few times. My dad's boss owned an old sugar mill, built by Bluebeard for his mistress Judith.

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The sugar mill, and restored "castle" is gone, but Judith's Fancy is a seriously high dollar subdivision, now. I found this out in 1985 when I went back to St. Croix with my first wife.

Also, during the Puerto Rico years were trips to Key West, Florida and a memorable trip to Havana, Cuba. Those of you who remember 1970 will recall that hijacking planes to Cuba was a pretty routine event. All we did was sit in the airport for 8 or 9 hours, eating Cubanos and drinking warm Coke, then we all got back on the plane (well, all but the two hijackers) and continued on to San Juan.

My next travel came as member of the U.S. Air Force. They sent me to San Antonio, Tx - Biloxi, Ms - and Victorville, Ca (where I live now). Also a few brief TDY's to Germany, England, and Okinawa.

Then I discovered cruising. Starting in 1981 with Carnival to Mexico, followed by Carnival to the Caribbean twice, the Norway once, Crown Monarch Line once, and a couple of others. All told, cruising has taken me to Florida, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cancun/Cozumel, Belize, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, St. John, Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, Hilo, Honolulu, Kona, Maui and Kuaui.

In between those cruises are multiple trips to Hawaii, many land based sojourns to Mexico and Canada, and trips to Tokyo, Taiwan, Vietnam, England, Scotland, Wales, France, Switzerland, Germany, Prague and Amsterdam.

Then I bought a boat, and for 3 years or so Catalina and San Diego was the extent of my travels (my boat was in San Pedro).

Then, of course, I decided to hit the road for real, and in almost 5 years running a traveling sales company I hit 47 states. Somehow I missed North Dakota, and Hawaii and Alaska are both too far to drive.

So, there you have it. The Places I have been.