A cruise can be one of the most satisfying and enjoyable holidays for people with disabilities. Ocean cruise liners all have wheelchair accessible cabins, usually with a choice of indoor, outdoor and deluxe suites.
Ocean Cruise Liners
Most ocean cruise liners can accommodate many passengers with disabilities or mobility issues on their cruise ships, with wheelchair accessible cabins in all classes. The number of accessible cabins is usually limited on all liners. While all cruise lines do their utmost to provide the best service for passengers, the higher number of staff to passengers on luxury cruise liners will prove a greater degree of attention to all passengers.
Some of the larger cruise liners are huge. This may prove difficult for passengers with mobility issues or slow walkers. Consider renting a scooter or wheelchair for the cruise to make it easier to get around the vessel and enjoy all the facilities on offer.
River cruises are generally not well equipped for people with disabilities or mobility issues and are much smaller than ocean going vessels. This is the case even with most newer liners and many do not have an elevator. Many ports of call visited on river cruises may prove difficult to access for wheelchair users or people with mobility issues. Ask your travel consultant if your requirements can be accommodated on a river cruise.
Service dogs are usually permitted on all cruise liners, but may not be permitted to disembark at all ports. Most cruise liners have a maximum number of service dogs allowed on board at all times so check with your travel consultant that your service dog can be accommodated. Many cruise lines will request vaccination records and other documentation before permitting service dogs on board. Cruise lines generally require advance notice of people travelling with a service dog. After the planning, your service dogs are very welcome on board cruise ships.
Hearing loops and Braille menus and signage are available on some of the larger cruise liners. Your travel consultant will be able to advise you on the cruise liners that can best meet your requirements.
Ports and Shore Excursions
While cruise liners have fantastic facilities for passengers with disabilities, the same cannot be guaranteed for all ports. Disembarking at some locations may prove difficult and not all shore excursions are suitable for people with mobility issues. A good rule of thumb is to choose a cruise which docks at ports with cruise piers rather than at tender ports which may not be accessible to people with mobility issues.
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