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Ask Peter: Wheelchair Travel, Repositioning Cruises & More

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Ask Peter logoIf you have a travel problem or just need advice before your next trip, then ask Peter. Every Saturday on Peter Greenberg Worldwide Radio (click here to listen to the most recent podcast), Peter stops to address your travel questions.

You can talk to Peter at 1-888-88-PETER (1-888-887-3837) or email You can also tweet questions to @petersgreenberg (use #askPeter)

Peter will be standing by to answer your questions live, Sunday February 5 from 8 pm until 10 pm.

This week Peter offers advice on wheelchair travel, repositioning cruise, travel scams, cruise refunds, and dental problems when you travel.

Michelle in Miami, Florida asked: My husband needs to take his wheelchair on an airline. We are afraid if we have to check it will be damaged by having tons of luggage piled on top of the chair. How can we get the airline to protect his wheelchair or can we take it on board with us?

Peter answered: There’s no one answer for that Michelle, but here’s the rule of thumb: most aircraft with 100 or more seats are actually required to have space on board to store your wheelchair―not in the baggage hold, but in the cabin. Now of course the caveat there is that your wheelchair is able to be folded. If it’s a plane with less than 100 seats it’s going to go in the hold, but it’ll be the first thing that’s taken out and it’ll be brought up to you before you ever leave your chair on the plane.

For more information on wheelchair travel, read Accessible Travel: The Basics of Wheelchair Travel.

Susan in Dayton, Ohio asked: I hear that it’s really inexpensive to take a repositioning cruise. How do you go about booking one and how do you find out about them?

Well actually, they’re actually published, there are no secrets here. They’re published in every cruise ship catalog from every cruise line. They’re not going to be called repositioning cruises, but anytime you see a cruise line that normally offers 3, 4, 7 or 10-day cruises and they’ve got one for 42 days that’s a repositioning cruise because they’ve got to take it out of the Med and through back to Florida or they’ve got to get it from Florida through the Panama Canal and into Alaska and they tend to be relatively inexpensive. And in fact, we saw one repositioning cruise, it was a 17-day cruise from Barcelona to Galveston, Texas (not a regular cruise pattern) on Carnival and it worked out to be something like $52 a day for 17 days and that includes your meals.You can’t wake up in Galveston for $52 a day.

To book a repositioning cruise, first check with the cruise line. If they don’t answer, call any travel agent that specializes in what we call “cruise-only travel.” Repositioning cruises are well worth it if you’ve got the time. The best part is that you’re not stopping in another port every hour forced to buy a T-shirt and get on a bus. You’re actually at sea for between three hours and five days at a time. Your pulse is going to go down, you’ll have time to read, relax and think.

For more information on repositioning cruises, check out: Cheap Cruising with Repositioning Cruises

Sharon in Pittsburgh asked: My husband purchased two tickets for a Celebrity cruise line cruise due to depart on February 11. He did not get travel insurance, but his mother is in hospice and her death is imminent. Do you have any suggestions as to how to approach Celebrity regarding a refund?

Here’s the bad news: In the travel business the cruise lines have the worst record for draconian policy language. Here’s the reason I always tell you to get travel insurance and never buy insurance directly from the cruise.

In a situation like this, most cruise lines will tell you that if you cancel within 60 days you’ll only get a partial refund. If you cancel within 30 days, you’ll get nothing. In some extenuating circumstances, cruise line have been know to offer a credit to apply against another cruise. The chance of getting a refund at this stage in the game is basically slim to none. Sharon, I think you should call and explain your circumstances and see what they can do, but unfortunately I don’t have high hopes for getting a refund.

Check out Princess Cruises Refund Hassle

Barry from Richfield Springs, New York asked: I was checking out cruises on the Internet and somehow came up with “free cruises” are these a big scam?

News bulletin to Barry: No one’s giving away free cruises. The only people who appear give away free cruises are actually guys who want you to do a time share. Instead of a real cruise, it’s a time share presentation and probably a ferry between Florida and the Bahamas. It’s just the worst. Don’t go for it, OK?

Keep reading to see Scam or Legit: Learn to ID Credible Travel Websites and Avoiding Travel Scams

Adrienne in Alhambra, California asked: I had a lot of dental work recently. I will be on vacation for two weeks and have concerns about pain when I’m away from my dentist. How can I find a dentist in case of emergency?

First start with your own dentist. Have him give you a prescription for pain killers and make sure you get a photo copy of the prescription so that you don’t have a problem with customs. Then use the painkiller it if necessary. Now if you’re staying at a hotel, rest assured that every hotel has a list of doctors and dentists that they use. But you should also ask your own dentist and see if he has a referral for where you’re vacationing.

For more information, check out Peter’s Travel Tip on Dental Issues on the Road.

By Peter Greenberg for Peter Greenberg Worldwide Radio