Booking an Accessible Cruise

Cruising is a great way for individuals with disabilities to see a lot of different places over the course of a week, without having to move luggage around. Cruise ships have also done a very good job at making things accessible for us, too, with larger rooms, wider doors and a helpful attitude of staff members.

Want to book your accessible cruise, but aren’t sure where to begin? As a veteran cruiser, here are my tips:

Book early. The only challenge with cruising is that the amount of wheelchair accessible cabins is very limited on each ship, so planning in advance is necessary. Thankfully, the laws for booking things online changed in 2010, and now most cruise line websites make it easy to look for accessible cabins, as opposed to having to call to get assistance.

Check the ports. Just because the ship is accessible doesn’t mean all the ports are. Check to see if there are wheelchair accessible excursions at some of the ports you’ll be making so you have a chance to explore.

ship shower

An example of an accessible shower on a cruise line.

Know the rooms. In my experience, accessible cabins on cruise ships usually have a great set up. They are usually larger than a regular size cabin and have a larger bathroom with a roll-in shower. It is nice to know when you arrive, you will have nothing to worry about!

Don’t be afraid to ask. Every cruise line has a special department to help those of us with disabilities, so don’t be afraid to call and ask them questions

For example, I just booked a cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas that leaves out of San Juan, Puerto Rico and visits lots of different islands for 7 nights. It is comforting to know already that I will have a nice room with a bathroom and a roll-in shower that are safe and functional — as opposed to the crossing my fingers and hoping it will work. I am now in the process of booking excursions, and I am very happy to see that there are wheelchair accessible excursions available in most of the ports I will visit.

I hope you find these tips helpful when you’re booking your next vacation. But I’m sure I’m not the only veteran cruiser out there. Let us know what you think! Do you have any tips for accessible cruising?

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