Accessible Cruising—Just the Facts

Cruise travelers with disabilities often have concerns that would never occur to able-bodied vacationers. They may question whether the doorway to their stateroom can accommodate their wheelchair; if there’s ramp access to the private balcony; if the bathrooms are roll-in ready or if they can easily access the evening shows.

Fortunately, the best cruise lines have already thought through these questions and can offer a relaxing and worry-free cruise experience to any passenger with mobility impairment, according to Maritime Travel counsellor and quadraplegic Adam Short, who specializes in accessible travel.

“In just the last few years, I’ve gone surfing in Costa Rica, cruised all over the Caribbean, and travelled throughout Canada and the United States,” says Adam, who is wheelchair-bound. “If you have impaired mobility, you can still travel the world.”

Based in the Maritime Travel Belleville branch, Adam is responsible for developing a travel program to serve customers with their own physical limitations—a service with a virtually unmet demand in Canada.

When it comes to cruising, mobility-impaired travelers really can expect a level playing field in terms of the experience, Adam says. “I recommend cruising more than any other type of adaptive travel.” 

Here’s why …

• All areas of the cruise ship are accessible and easy to navigate
• You are guaranteed an accessible cabin if you request one
• Staterooms are roomy and have roll-in showers
• Even the balcony in your room has a ramp, so it’s easy to access with no big lip to navigate
• Ports of call are generally easy to access, with lots to see and do right off the ship, so you don’t have to sign up for a tour
• If you do want to do a tour, there are generally accessible options available in port
• Most ships have pool lifts to assist people in wheelchairs with entering and exiting the water
• You can pre-arrange for medical equipment such as wheelchairs, scooters, oxygen, lifts, etc. to be delivered to your cabin so you have everything you need to make the cruise possible
• When it comes to disembarking the ship, cruise staff are always available to help
• You can cruise directly from different ports if you prefer not to fly
• Medical doctors and services are always available on board in case of emergency

Ask Adam