A Cruise of Accommodations

  • A Cruise of Accommodations

    Posted by schroth-sensei on July 28, 2019 at 11:32 am

    A Cruise of Accommodations | July 27, 2019 | by Justin Schroth

    If the High Seas, the Fresh Open-Ocean air, or Exotic Island Excursions appeal to your sense of adventure, then a Cruise ship may be the mode of transportation you are looking for.

    But, if you’re looking at this site you may have concerns, as accessing cruise ships can be daunting for those living with disabilities. Movies, television, and other media typically paint a picture of moving gangplanks and cramped rooms that may be impossible for a wheelchair to access. Luckily times are changing in favor of those living with disabilities, partly because it is desired by clients and in some areas due to updated legislation (e.g. 2015 American Disabilities Act). In any case, cruise ship companies are expanding accommodations to meet a wider variety of needs, and those living with disabilities have more options to enjoy cruising then every before!

    If you are just looking for some general information on a few of the more popular cruise lines, this article on the 6 Most Accessible Cruise Lines is a good place to start: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/6-most-accessible-cruise-lines-171624418.html

    Now, if you are here as a first-time traveler, or have questions/concerns about cruising, this article should provide additional information to help you research and plan a trip.

    Cruising varies widely in price, but luckily you don’t have to choose from just expensive lines to find accommodations. In fact, many of the top inexpensive lines boast accommodations for various needs. Many of these lines can run less than $100 a night (with the higher end lines, not mentioned here, costing over five time that), but the price of course will vary by room selection, location, time or year, and other factors. Here are a few of the top Cheapest cruise lines for 2019 Caribbean cruises ranked by the Price of Travel website (see reference below by Wade, Rodger), as well as some additional information you may find helpful in researching accommodations:

    1. Princess Cruises.

    a. Offers more than 350 wheelchair-accessible cabins across their fleet, support for visual impairments, and hearing impairments.

    b. Detailed information directly from Princess Cruises on their disability accommodations can be found here: https://www.princess.com/news/backgrounders_and_fact_sheets/factsheet/Princess-Access-Makes-Cruise-Vacations-Accessible-For-Passengers-With-Disabilities.html

    2. Holland America Line.

    a. Offers many wheelchair-accessible cabins across their entire fleet, support for visual impairments, and hearing impairments.

    b. A very useful & detailed amount of information directly from Holland America Line on their disability accommodations can be found here: https://www.hollandamerica.com/en_US/accessibility.html

    3. Norwegian Cruise Line.

    a. Offers many wheelchair-accessible cabins across their entire fleet, support for visual impairments, and hearing impairments.

    b. Detailed information directly from Norwegian Cruise Line on their disability accommodations can be found here: https://www.ncl.com/about/accessible-cruising

    4. Royal Caribbean International.

    a. Offers many wheelchair-accessible cabins across their entire fleet, support for visual impairments, and hearing impairments.

    b. Detailed information directly from Royal Caribbean International on their disability accommodations can be found here: https://www.royalcaribbean.com/experience/accessible-cruising

    5. Carnival Cruise Lines.

    a. Offers wheelchair-accessible cabins (some ships may be in the process of upgrading accommodations), support for visual impairments, and hearing impairments.

    b. Detailed information directly from Carnival Cruise Lines on their disability accommodations can be found here: https://www.carnival.com/about-carnival/special-needs.aspx

    If by now you are getting excited about cruising, it may be time to make some plans. The following is a checklist created to primarily aid first time cruisers with disabilities in planning and booking a cruise (For those who frequently cruise, please feel free to add any additional suggestions to this post, thank you in advanced!):

    Travel Checklist

    Prior to Booking

    • Decide where to go: Ideally if you have a place in mind to visit that supports multiple cruise lines, the higher the chances they will have disability accommodations. More obscure places may be possible, but you may have more challenges to overcome.
    • Check Port Accessibility: After deciding where to go, research the individual ports the cruise will be stopping at, including your entry port. While the cruise ship itself may be accommodating, all ports are not created equal.
    • Check Excursion(s) Accessibility: If you plan to book specific excursions, research both the excursion itself and the accessibility in getting to the location. For example, you may be visiting an island hot springs that boasts about access into the water, but there may be a hike required in getting to the location itself.
    • Distance & Travel time: Research the travel time between excursions/sightseeing locations, and if you must estimate the time it takes, over-estimate it. Cruise ships board and depart at a specific time, and if late you can be left behind if it isn’t caused by a cruise sponsored excursion.

    Booking & on the Trip

    • The Cruise: If the travel website/agency has the option to inform them that you may need assistance with a wheelchair and/or accessible room, make sure to select it and inquire about it at the entry port. Some cruise lines may request more information about your needs, this is to ensure you receive proper accommodations. In contrast, if you do not use a wheelchair and don’t require assistance, please do not select this option as staff member assistance and rooms may be limited (you may also be moved to another room if you do not actually need the accommodations).
    • Avoid booking Last Minute: Try booking in advanced, +45 days prior is recommended by some cruise lines to ensure availability of accessible rooms or other accommodations.
    • Paying: If you do go with a travel agency, ensure that your payment is made directly to the cruise line, this is to protect you in the unlikely but possible case that the travel agency closes business and fails to book your trip, leaving you with nothing even though they took your money. Also, pay attention to refund policies, or if it isn’t refundable, ask if they can re-book your trip for another time in certain cases (such as illness).
    • Excursions: You can wait to book excursions until you’re on the cruise. However, keep in mind they may have a limited availability and may fill up by the time your cruise starts.
    • Other: If you become sick prior to your trip consider re-booking for another time if you have the option. Ships and ports may not have everything you need in case of a medical emergency.
    • Don’t be Late: As with most travel, boarding may take extra time, so it may be best to be early when first boarding the ship as well as returning to the ship at a port (this may also help to avoid potential crowds of last-minute boarders).

    A final note, as with anything, err on the side of caution, and if something doesn’t feel safe, then it may be best to do something else. The author of this article hopes that the information found here will help you plan and find new fun adventures in safe and accessible environments. The world is full of such adventures, and access to it may be closer than you think.


    “Accessibility Assistance.” http://www.ncl.com, Norwegian Cruise Line, http://www.ncl.com/about/accessible-cruising.

    “Accessible Cruising.” http://www.royalcaribbean.com, Royal Caribbean International, http://www.royalcaribbean.com/experience/accessible-cruising.

    “Guests with Disabilities.” http://www.carnival.com, Carnival Cruise Line, http://www.carnival.com/about-carnival/special-needs.aspx.

    Measom, Cynthia. “6 Most Accessible Cruise Lines.” Yahoo! Finance, GOBankingRates, 25 July 2019, finance.yahoo.com/news/6-most-accessible-cruise-lines-171624418.html.

    “Princess Cruises: Princess Access Makes Cruise Vacations Accessible for Passengers with Disabilities.” http://www.princess.com, 23 Feb. 2019, http://www.princess.com/news/backgrounders_and_fact_sheets/factsheet/Princess-Access-Makes-Cruise-Vacations-Accessible-For-Passengers-With-Disabilities.html.

    Wade, Rodger. “Cheapest Cruise Lines for 2019 Caribbean Cruises.” Price of Travel, 20 Feb. 2019, http://www.priceoftravel.com/2819/cheapest-cruise-lines-for-caribbean-cruises-13-lines-ranked-by-price/.

    “Wheelchair Accessible Cruises & Ships.” http://www.hollandamerica.com, Holland America Line, http://www.hollandamerica.com/en_US/accessibility.html.

    DISCLAIMER: Any pricing information is based on trips calculated during Feb. 2019 time-frame, cruise pricing will vary on several factors including by not limited to when, where, and how you book your trip. Any pricing mentioned here is only meant to be a guide in estimating trip cost and not the actual price you will pay. Accessible Travel Forum, Accessible Japan, and I are not paid by, or affiliated with, any of the cruise lines or websites mentioned in this article.

    schroth-sensei replied 4 years, 10 months ago 2 Members · 2 Replies
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