Accessibility in Travel: Cruising

Navigating travel with a disability can occasionally feel like a labyrinth of questions, from accessible transportation to strategically placed restaurants, producing an undesired layer of stress to your vacation. Choosing a cruise for your escapade could be the magic key to unlocking more certainty and tranquility in your travel journey. Cruise ships, regardless of the flag they sail under, act as mini floating cities that connect to U.S. harbors, and so they must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. This ensures you’ll encounter cabins, public restrooms, entertainment halls, and dining spaces perfectly equipped for wheelchair accessibility. The cutting-edge fleet members go a step beyond, housing a range of amenities designed specifically for guests with limited mobility and other disabilities. Embarking on a cruise can be a tremendously fulfilling and delightful experience for travelers with disabilities. However, the secret recipe to a smooth sailing voyage lies in meticulous research and preparation before you climb aboard. So here, we’ve gathered our top pearls of wisdom to ensure you squeeze every drop of joy from your nautical vacation. Enjoy the ride!

1. The ship you sail on could make a difference for mobility issues.

If you’re someone who needs to utilize a wheelchair some or all of the time, you may do better on larger, newer ships with all new amenities. Older ships will have been updated over time to make them more accessible, however, so don’t think they automatically won’t be able to accommodate your needs. Our advisors work with all major cruise lines regularly, and can make sure the ship you’ll sail on will meet your needs.

2. Be sure to carry-on devices or medications that you have to use on a regular basis.

Almost everyone knows that when you are flying, you could end up being someone whose checked luggage gets lost in transition. Unfortunately, the same can happen with cruising. The last thing you want is to have your CPAP machine or other necessary item not make it to your cabin, and then have to navigate being without it for the duration of your voyage. The ships cannot stock these things in advance, nor can you easily have a replacement meet you at the next port. So, the best rule of thumb is always this: If you can’t go without it, carry it on yourself.

3. For specific requests and concerns – we put you in touch with on board contacts to make it happen.

Have a service dog and need help navigating the required steps to have them board? Each line has a dedicated department just for services of this nature, so we can set up a call for you, or speak with them on your behalf regarding specific questions.

4. Specific ports may be more accessible than others.

Itineraries are often a huge selling point for cruise lines. You may be the type to enjoy the ship itself more than the destinations you’ll sail to and never get off til home, in which case this won’t apply to you as much. But, many of our clients make their decision based on seeing new locations or some bucket-list landmark. And unfortunately, no two ports are made the same. Some countries have more accessible ways to get around, or disability services available, than others. Letting us know what services you’ll need can help us to work with you on the ins and outs each port provides.

5. Shore excursions for all.

We love nothing more than seeing the unforgettable memories that our cruisers get to make in destinations all around the globe. However, if you have trouble walking for long periods, have to use a wheelchair, or otherwise need a more personalized experience: let us know. Many of our excursion partners have wheelchair friendly vehicles, are able to accommodate frequent stops, or offer more private options to really personalize your experience. If there is a specific place you want to see, rest assured we can find the best way for you to get there.



Ultimately, while cruising with disabilities can take a bit more pre-planning, it is a completely doable and viable option for everyone! If you have specific needs and feel as though you still have more questions about anything we listed here, feel free to reach out –

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