Cruising is becoming more and more popular as a holiday choice for Disabled Travellers and those with health concerns as it provides assurance that your holiday will be 'what it says on the tin' when it comes to the accessible features on offer.
Once you are onboard there are no hidden surprises as you know that your stateroom can be reached via an elevator and that you can make your own way around the ship unassisted. You can also rest assured in the knowledge that you will be able to dine in an accessible restaurant of your choice each evening and will have an abundance of entertainment options to accommodate your needs. Just like everyone else onboard you will also benefit from unpacking just once whilst visiting a wide range of destinations.
The range and scale of accessible features vary from one cruise line to another and one ship to another. It is also worth noting that even ships within the same cruising class can also have different facilities and access and you should be aware that staterooms are generally smaller than standard hotel rooms. Most cruise lines do however offer "accessible" or "modified" staterooms.
Some of the smaller ships may also have a maximum number of wheelchairs and mobility scooters permitted onboard each sailing so it is important that you let our Cruise Experts know your requirements at the time of booking in order to secure your place.
When choosing a cruise ship, the standard rule is generally that newer is better, however, you shouldn't immediately discount older ships as many will have been refurbished and adjustments made to make them more accessible to those with disabilities.
For Example in 2013, Celebrity Cruises installed pool lifts on all of it's ships - basically each has a chair that lowers the occupant into the water. Or Holland America's Veendam in 2009 with it's two new lanai cabins with accessible sliding glass doors facing the walk-around promenade.
Restaurant Menus are available in braille and service dogs are generally always welcome onboard many ships – although they not be allowed to disembark in some ports.
Whilst most ships are accessible, it's not always the same for your time spent on land during tenders, ports and shore excursions so this is also something to consider. In poor weather conditions and in some ports the ship may not be able to dock and passengers are shuttled to the shore in small boats called tenders so you should always check with your Cruise Line regarding its tender policies if you are a wheelchair user or have other mobility issues. The best option overall would be to choose cruise itineraries that feature ports of call with cruise piers and no need for tenders.
Our Cruise Experts are familiar with the various cruise lines, ships, port access at destinations, and accessible excursions and can advise you on the best cruise for your needs. Call us today on 0800 197 8050.