Issues with mobility are common, and they should not be a barrier to a delightful vacation. Because cruise lines strive to welcome everyone who wants to cruise, they’ve been working for years to make cruising more comfortable for passengers who need special mobility accommodations.
Still, it’s wise to do a little research in order to select a ship, stateroom and itinerary that best fit your mobility needs. Your professional travel advisor can help.
Here are some things to consider:
The ship. Look for a ship that has plenty of elevators to get you from deck to deck. And, look at where the elevators are located – smaller banks of elevators spaced along the length of the ship may be better than a larger but centrally located bank, which could give you long trips down the hallways. If you’ll need a wheelchair or scooter in order to navigate the hallways and common areas on the ship, you’ll need to bring your own (either owned or rented). Most major cruise lines have a few wheelchairs on board, but they are used only for boarding and off-boarding.
Also, check into seating areas in the ship’s dining venues and other common areas to make sure they can accommodate your wheelchair or other mobility equipment. Some ships even have lifts that help people with limited mobility into pools and hot tubs.
The stateroom. Accessible staterooms are usually significantly larger than standard staterooms. They are often equipped with wider doorways, lower closet rods and bathroom sinks, and roll-in showers with grab bars and fold-down seats. These staterooms are often located close to elevators, too. Some newer ships have accessible staterooms with automatic doors and enough turning radius for a wheelchair in the sleeping, sitting and bathroom areas.
But, remember that the number of accessible staterooms available on any ship is limited. So, it’s good to begin your search and select your ship and stateroom as far in advance as possible.
The excursions. Most cruise lines offer accessible shore excursions – not every excursion can welcome people who have mobility issues, but there should be some options to choose from in most ports. Shore excursion descriptions usually include notes about how strenuous they are and whether they are suited for someone with mobility issues.
Do your research, but also visit the shore excursion desk after you board your ship; the specialists there will have more details to help you pick the excursions that are best for you.
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