Going on a Cruise as a Disabled Passenger
As cruise vacations grow more popular, cruise lines are making a dedicated effort to accommodate disabled passengers. Ships are being outfitted with cabins that can fit wheelchairs, support bars and medical equipment. No matter what your situation, it is now easier than ever to enjoy fresh sea air and exotic locations. Here are seven tips for disabled persons who want to go on a cruise:
1. Make Sure You’re Fit to Travel
Before you even book your cruise trip, you should consult with a travel health specialist to assess whether or not it is safe for you to travel. He or she will give you a thorough consultation and listen to your concerns. You may need to arrange for vaccinations as well as travel insurance that can cover any medical attention you may need while on your trip.
2. Get in Touch with a Travel Agent
Once you have been cleared to go on a cruise, you should contact a travel agent, especially one who specializes in making plans that are tailored to unique situations. He or she can help you find a cruise that will provide you with a great experience no matter what your personal situation is. Relying on the expert knowledge of a travel agent can allow for a great cruise experience with as little hassle as possible.
3. Find a Cruise Line that Suits Your Needs
Some of the best cruise lines for disabled passengers are Holland America, Royal Caribbean and NCL. You should check to see if the whole ship is accessible and what plans are made for areas that may not be accessible to you. Your travel agent will be able to advise you on what cruise line and itinerary will be best for you, and you can make an informed decision from there. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
4. Be Firm about Requesting a Cabin with Disabled Access
Travel agents are very understanding about the needs of potential passengers, so you shouldn’t be ashamed or scared to request a cabin that will accommodate your medical needs. Once you have made your booking, double-check to make sure that your assigned cabin is exactly what you requested, and don’t be afraid to get in touch if a mistake has been made.
5. Bring Extra Medications and Medical Supplies
If you have any medications or supplies that you rely on in your day-to-day life, make sure that you bring an extra amount with you for the cruise. Talk to your travel health specialist before your trip and get a prescription that covers your journey if necessary. This is extremely important as some countries that you will be visiting may not fill a U.S. prescription.
6. Carry a Ship’s Map with You
Once you are onboard, ask for a ship’s map from the staff and carry it with you at all times. You can rely on the map to navigate through accessible and non-accessible areas. Don’t be afraid to ask for a staff member to act as your guide if you need it.
7. Ask about Shore Excursions
While the cruise ship itself will be equipped to handle passengers with various disabilities, some of the ports and shore excursions might not be. For example, some towns and regions might not have wheelchair ramps. If you want to take part in an excursion or visit a location listed on the cruise, you should check with the ship’s staff to see how your needs can be accommodated during the short trip. By asking in advance, alternative arrangements can be made for you so that you do not miss out on any part of your vacation!
Cruises: A Great Way to Relax and Recharge
Thankfully, cruises are becoming progressively more accessible to those with disabilities. With a bit of extra planning, you can fully enjoy a cruise vacation and not miss out on a second of fun! After all, everyone deserves a vacation and the chance to relax and recharge.