World on Wheels

Best Cruise Lines for Disabled Passengers: A Complete Guide

I love cruising. It’s a great and wheelchair-accessible way to travel. However, I often get asked what is the best cruise lines for disabled passengers. So when Dan Claydon, who has worked on various cruise ships, offered to write a post on this topic I was thrilled to accept. Here is what he had to say.

For travelers with disabilities, finding the best cruise lines for disabled passengers can make all the difference between an average vacation and an unforgettable experience. Cruising offers a distinct travel adventure, combining the thrill of exploring multiple destinations with the luxury of onboard amenities and entertainment.

In this guide, we’ll explore how cruise lines are prioritizing accessibility, ensuring every passenger, irrespective of their mobility challenges, can savor a splendid journey at sea.

Are Cruises Good for Disabled People?

Absolutely! Modern cruise lines understand the importance of inclusivity and have made significant advancements to cater to passengers with disabilities. If you’re considering a journey on the seas, you might want to check out these cruise tips to enhance your experience. 

best cruise line for disabled

With accessible rooms, amenities, and excursions, cruises are increasingly becoming a favorite choice for those with mobility issues. Let’s break this down a bit further.

How Cruise Lines Cater to Individuals with Disabilities

Modern cruise ships have evolved significantly when it comes to addressing the needs of individuals with disabilities. From spacious cabins equipped with accessible amenities to wide corridors and ramps, cruise liners ensure that mobility on board is not a concern.

Adaptable Cabins

These cabins, specifically designed for passengers with disabilities, often include wider doorways , roll-in showers, and lowered sinks.

Public Areas

Elevators, ramps, and modified seating areas ensure that guests can access entertainment venues, dining areas, and other public spaces with ease.

How Cruise Lines Accommodate Passengers with Visual Impairments

The visually impaired community is not left behind when it comes to cruising. Many cruise lines have adopted measures to ensure that their experience is as enriching as any other passenger’s.

best cruise line for disabled

Braille Signage

Finding one’s way is made easier with Braille signage present throughout the ship.

Assistance Services

Dedicated crew members can offer personalized services like guided tours or reading menus, ensuring that the onboard experience is seamless.

How Cruise Lines Support Individuals with Autism

Understanding the unique challenges faced by individuals with autism, especially in a new and bustling environment like a cruise ship, several liners have taken steps to provide a comfortable experience.

Quiet Rooms

Dedicated spaces where guests with sensory sensitivities can relax and take a break from the stimulating environment.

Specialized Programs

Tailored entertainment and activity programs that cater to the interests and comfort levels of guests with autism.

Trained Staff

Crew members trained in understanding and assisting individuals with autism, ensuring their needs are met and their experiences are enjoyable.

7 Best Cruise Lines for Disabled Passengers

For many travelers with disabilities, choosing the right cruise line can make all the difference in their vacation experience. With a focus on accessibility and top-notch service, let’s delve into the seven best cruise lines that prioritize the needs and comfort of disabled passengers.

1. Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean International stands out as a premier choice for passengers with disabilities.

best cruise line for disabled

Committed to ensuring every guest has an unparalleled experience, the cruise line has integrated various features that cater to those with limited mobility, hearing, and developmental disabilities.

Their emphasis on early booking to secure accessible rooms, and the range of services tailored for various disabilities, underpins their commitment to a seamless and enjoyable cruising experience for all guests.

Staterooms Tailored for Accessibility

Royal Caribbean offers accessible staterooms with a 5-foot turning radius for easy maneuvering. These rooms are spacious, ranging from 159 to 298 square feet, and come with features such as 32- to 34-inch doorways, roll-in showers, lower sinks, raised toilets, and hand-held showerheads.

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Fleet-Wide Accommodations

Automatic doors, wide corridors, gradual inclines leading to public venues, accommodating elevators, and pool and whirlpool lifts ensure mobility across the ship is a breeze. There’s also specific attention to guests with hearing or visual difficulties with offerings like assistive listening devices, Braille signage, and more.

Enriched Onboard and Onshore Experience

Off the ship, the cruise line offers accessible shore excursions, ensuring everyone gets the essence of every destination. While most ports provide wheelchair and scooter access, certain conditions might affect disembarking.

Special Attention to Specific Needs

Recognizing the diversity in disabilities, Royal Caribbean offers specific aids such as large-print menus for the visually impaired and closed-caption televisions for the hearing-impaired. Ships like the Serenade of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas feature over 30 accessible staterooms.

Pioneering Autism-friendly Cruising

Highlighting their dedication to inclusivity, Royal Caribbean became the first cruise line to be certified as “Autism Friendly” by Autism on the Seas. This means individuals with autism can expect a comfortable and understanding environment throughout their journey.

With such comprehensive offerings and consistent top ratings from platforms like Special Needs at Sea, Royal Caribbean undeniably offers one of the most disability-friendly cruise experiences.

2. Princess Cruises

For over three decades, Princess Cruises has been at the forefront of accessible cruising, solidifying its reputation as one of the industry’s best choices for disabled passengers. Beginning its focused accessibility journey in 1992 with the groundbreaking Princess Access program, this cruise line has since been consistently elevating the standards of accessible travel.

Their commitment ranges from thoughtfully designed onboard amenities to onshore excursion arrangements, ensuring that every passenger can savor every moment of their journey.

Impressive Onboard Accommodations

Across the Princess fleet, guests can find more than 350 wheelchair-accessible cabins, with each ship offering up to 31 such cabins. These cabins have been meticulously designed with widened doorways, removed or modified thresholds, roll-in showers, hand-held showerheads, lowered sinks, handrails, and closet railings. Furthermore, any additional accessibility equipment can be arranged upon request.

Two twin beds with green accent pillows are separated in a balcony cruise cabin

Ease of Movement

The architecture and design of most Princess ships emphasize accessibility. Whether it’s open deck spaces, show lounges, spas, restaurants, or theaters, the seamless design ensures ease of access. Elevators on board are spacious with 36- to 42-inch doorways, and there’s provision for wheelchair seating in public areas.

best cruise line for disabled

Innovative Provisions for Sight and Hearing Impaired

Princess Cruises thoughtfully provides infrared listening assistance systems in the ship’s theaters. Furthermore, ADA kits, equipped with text telephones, door knock sensors, and visual smoke detectors, cater to the needs of those with sight or hearing challenges.

Prioritizing Ease Onshore

Princess Cruises has made significant investments in specialized gangway mechanisms across most of its fleet, facilitating smooth embarkation and disembarkation for wheelchair travelers at various ports.

best cruise line for disabled

Their commitment extends beyond the ship, working in tandem with onshore facilities to enhance accessibility. It’s worth noting the advice from Travel for All specialists who recommend looking for itineraries where the ship docks at a pier for even smoother access.

A History of Leadership in Accessibility

Princess Cruises’ dedication to accessibility isn’t a recent development. They have been champions of this cause since 1992. Their vision then, as it remains today, has been to ensure every passenger, regardless of their physical abilities, experiences the wonder of cruising.

3. Holland America

Holland America is renowned for its dedication to providing an accessible and enjoyable cruising experience for passengers with disabilities. This commitment is evident from their recognition by Porthole Cruise magazine, where they won the accolade for “Best Overall Facilities for Physically Challenged Passengers”.

best cruise line for disabled

Their dedication to ensuring a barrier-free cruise experience, combined with its innovative measures, cements its position as one of the leading cruise lines catering to the needs of disabled passengers.

Staterooms Designed for Comfort

All vessels under Holland America offer accessible staterooms. Particularly, their Signature and Vista-class ships stand out with up to 30 accessible staterooms per ship.

These rooms are designed with wide doors, ensuring wheelchair access on both bed sides, and come equipped with roll-in showers with grab bars, accessible controls, and hand-held showerheads.

Aiding the Vision and Hearing Impaired

Holland America goes above and beyond in catering to passengers with visual and auditory impairments. They offer screen reader computer software, allowing visually impaired passengers to read internet text seamlessly.

Additionally, large print or Braille menus can be availed with prior notice. For the hearing impaired, the cruise line offers assistive listening systems in show lounges, stateroom visual and tactile alert kits, and amplified telephones.

Onboard and Offshore Facilities

While Holland America makes unwavering efforts to ensure inclusivity onboard, they have also put measures in place to help guests during shore excursions, even though some port-of-call facilities might have varying conditions.

For passengers with limited mobility , there’s provision for alternative transfers during shore excursions, along with lifts between the ship and tender.

4. Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises has established itself as a premier choice for disabled passengers, thanks to their comprehensive approach to accessibility across all aspects of the cruising experience.

best cruise line for disabled

They have seamlessly woven accessibility into every facet of their cruise experience. From innovative stateroom designs and onboard amenities to thoughtfully curated excursions and dedicated assistance, Celebrity truly ensures that everyone, regardless of their physical capabilities, can enjoy an unforgettable cruise journey.

Unparalleled Onboard Experience

Celebrity Cruises prides itself on having ships that are “accessible from bow to stern.” Staterooms are meticulously designed with wide, automatic doorways, generous turning space, and bathrooms equipped with roll-in showers, grab bars, and other essential features.

Beyond the staterooms, guests can expect wheelchair seating in all dining and entertainment venues, pool and whirlpool lifts, and accessible gaming tables in the casinos.

Inclusive Features for Vision and Hearing Impaired

On select ships, including all Solstice Class vessels, guests can find Braille signage and elevator buttons. To further cater to the needs of passengers with hearing difficulties, the ship’s crew offers various assistive devices and provisions.

Life Onshore – Accessible Adventures Awaits

Celebrity Cruises doesn’t limit its commitment to accessibility only onboard. They have curated a diverse range of wheelchair-accessible excursions that require only light activity levels.

Whether it’s guided city tours, scenic drives, or wheelchair-accessible railway journeys, every guest is assured an enriching experience at various destinations.

Dedicated Assistance

Complimentary assistance for guests during embarkation and disembarkation showcases Celebrity’s commitment to smooth sailing for all.

However, passengers should note that staff assistance has limitations, such as not being able to lift guests or their equipment. It’s also worth noting that some ports might necessitate the use of a tender boat for onshore travel.

Special Initiatives

Celebrity Cruises has gone the extra mile with its autism-friendly initiatives. These include priority check-in and departure, tailored menu options, and sensory-friendly entertainment, ensuring that every guest feels welcomed and catered for.

5. Carnival Cruises

Carnival Cruises stands out as a leading cruise line prioritizing the accessibility needs of its passengers, ensuring every age group enjoys a seamless cruising experience.

Their dedication to creating an inclusive environment, combined with their ongoing efforts to retrofit older ships and incorporate state-of-the-art accessibility features in newer ones, make them a top choice for passengers with disabilities. Whether young or old, Carnival ensures everyone is treated to an unforgettable voyage.

best cruise line for disabled

Inclusive Stateroom Design

Like its competitors, Carnival offers accessible staterooms across its fleet. Yet, two ships shine the brightest in this regard: The Carnival Horizon with 65 accessible staterooms and the Carnival Panorama boasting 75 accessible rooms.

These rooms come packed with features such as ample turning space, accessible pathways, and specially designed bathrooms with grab bars and shower seats.

Dedication to Continual Improvement

Although newer ships are typically better designed for accessibility, Carnival does not limit its efforts to only the latest vessels. The cruise line has retrofitted older ships with vital modifications like wheelchair-friendly elevators, which have tactile controls and audible signals for visually impaired guests.

Holistic Onboard Experience

The attention to accessibility doesn’t stop at staterooms. Carnival Cruises offers accessible routes across the ship, ensuring everyone can freely explore and engage in onboard activities.

Dining areas, whether casual spaces or upscale restaurants have accessible seating arrangements. Notably, specific ships such as the Horizon, Panorama, Radiance, Sunrise, Vista, and Mardi Gras are equipped with pool lifts, amplifying the fun and relaxation for those with mobility restrictions.

Assistance for Vision and Hearing Impaired

Beyond the tactile and audible signals in elevators, Carnival has integrated Braille signage and offers large-print menus. For those with hearing challenges, visual-tactile room kits are available, ensuring they’re always in the loop.

Tender Ports

While Carnival commits to maximum accessibility, some ports with tenders—smaller boats used when the main ship can’t directly access the port—might not be wheelchair-friendly. However, it’s important to note that even with such limitations, Carnival consistently strives to ensure an enriching experience at every port.

6. Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has cemented its reputation as one of the leading cruise lines for disabled passengers, underpinned by its unwavering commitment and dedicated Special Needs at Sea team.

The Cruise Line’s comprehensive approach to accessibility, paired with its dedicated staff and specialized facilities, makes it a top choice for passengers with special needs, ensuring they have a memorable and comfortable cruising experience.

best cruise line for disabled

Personalized Coordination

NCL’s dedication goes beyond mere infrastructure. The cruise line has a devoted Special Needs at Sea team that works tirelessly to coordinate and customize cruise experiences for guests with special needs.

Upon embarkation, guests are personally greeted by a staff member ready to assist with their specific accessibility requirements throughout their journey.

With up to 27 wheelchair-accessible staterooms available on each cruise, NCL is prepared to accommodate guests with mobility concerns. These staterooms are thoughtfully designed with wider door frames, roll-in showers, highrise toilets, shower benches, and handrails.

Certain vessels, including the Sky, Sun, and Pride of America, also offer specialized rooms for deaf and hard-of-hearing passengers. Portable kits and Braille/tactile signage further enhance the experience for visually impaired or blind guests.

A Wealth of Amenities for the Vision or Hearing Impaired

Norwegian’s commitment to accessibility extends to guests with vision or hearing impairments. They offer pagers for announcement alerts, hearing aids, and visually-tactile kits.

Some ships even have sign language interpreters, and the Sky, Sun, and Pride of America boast cabins specifically equipped for those with hearing challenges.

Inclusive Onboard Experiences

NCL’s ships are equipped with features such as pool lifts, ensuring guests with limited mobility can enjoy the onboard amenities. For those needing transportation to the ship, barrier-free options are available upon request.

Thoughtful Shore Excursion Planning

While Norwegian partners with U.S.-based companies to offer accessible excursions, the accessibility of international ports can vary. Travel for All encourages passengers to evaluate these excursions beforehand to ensure they align with their needs.

7. Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line stands out as one of the best cruise lines for disabled passengers, epitomizing its commitment to making every guest’s experience magical, regardless of their specific needs. Here’s a snapshot of why Disney Cruise Line shines in accessibility.

best cruise line for disabled

Thoughtfully Designed Staterooms

Beyond just having accessible rooms, Disney has meticulously crafted these spaces with features such as wide entryways (minimum 32 inches), emergency call buttons, open bed frames, ramped bathroom thresholds, and lower closet and towel bars.

Bathrooms are not only equipped with grab bars, roll-in showers with fold-down seats, and hand-held showerheads but also offer raised toilet seats upon request.

Inclusive Public Areas

The magic extends beyond the staterooms. The majority of public areas on Disney’s ships, from theaters and restaurants to shops, are accessible. To ensure everyone gets to take a dip, pool lifts are available on every ship, though appointments are needed.

Specialized Facilities

Catering to passengers with limited mobility, Disney offers bed boards, bed rails, portable or raised toilet seats, shower stools, and transfer benches.

For passengers with vision or hearing impairments, the cruise line provides auxiliary aids, communication kits equipped with bed shakers and TTY, and even has sign-language interpreters available in some instances.

Child-Friendly Approach

Recognizing that children with special needs deserve the same magical experience, the Dream class ships not only boast 24 accessible rooms but also feature youth counselors skilled in working with children with various needs.

Seamless Transfers

Disney Cruise Line goes the extra mile, offering both pre- and post-cruise transfers equipped with lifts, provided they are requested in advance.

Bring Your Assistive Devices

While passengers need to bring their wheelchairs, scooters, or other assistive devices, or make arrangements through third-party providers, Disney Cruise Line ensures that the journey aboard remains hassle-free by suggesting companies like Scootaround and Special Needs at Sea for equipment deliveries.

Tips for Choosing the Right Cruise for Disabled Passengers

Here are five crucial tips to help you select the perfect cruise for disabled passengers.

Research Accessibility Features

Each cruise line and ship can differ vastly in their accessibility features. When looking into potential cruises:

  • Ensure there are accessible cabins that meet your specific needs, such as roll-in showers, lowered counters, or visual and auditory aids.
  • Check for accessibility throughout the ship, including elevators, wide corridors, ramps, and modified seating in entertainment and dining areas.

best cruise line for disabled

Inquire About Onboard Medical Facilities

For many travelers with disabilities, the presence of medical facilities is a comforting reassurance:

  • Determine if the cruise ship has a medical center and what services it offers.
  • If you require specific medications, confirm storage or refrigeration capabilities onboard.

Check the Itinerary and Port Accessibility

While the ship itself might be equipped for accessibility, the real adventure begins at each port:

  • Research each stop on the itinerary to determine the accessibility of the port and nearby attractions.
  • Some ports might require tenders (small boats) to get to shore, which can pose challenges for those with mobility issues. Ensure your chosen cruise offers accessible tender options.

Read Reviews and Seek Recommendations

Hearing from others with similar needs can offer invaluable insights:

  • Browse travel forums and websites dedicated to accessible travel to read reviews from other disabled passengers.
  • Engage with online communities to seek recommendations or learn about potential challenges and how to overcome them.
  • Read reviews about appropriate travel gear that suits your specific needs, such as mobility aids or adaptive equipment, to ensure a comfortable journey.

Prioritize Communication with Cruise Lines

A responsive and informed cruise line can make a world of difference:

  • Before booking, reach out to customer service with a list of your needs and queries. Their willingness and capability to assist can be a good gauge of the overall experience you can expect.
  • After booking, reconfirm any special arrangements or accommodations you’ve requested to ensure they’re in place for your journey.

Selecting the right cruise for disabled passengers isn’t just about luxury and entertainment – it’s about safety, accessibility, and peace of mind. By following these tips and dedicating time to thorough research, you can set the course for an unforgettable voyage that meets and exceeds your needs.

Make sure to check out my other post for more tips on booking a wheelchair-accessible cruise .

Best Cruise Destinations for People with Mobility Problems

Now let’s look at some of the best destinations around the world for people with mobility problems .

Alaska’s pristine landscapes, from its glaciers to vast fjords, make it a prime cruise destination, especially for those with mobility issues. The comforts of the ship’s deck allow guests to marvel at these breathtaking vistas without the strain of hikes or treks.

best cruise line for disabled

Onshore, cruisers can enjoy a variety of accessible shore excursions including whale watching, visiting Mendenhall Glacier, and learning about native Alaskan culture. Furthermore, if guests want to extend their cruise, Alaska cruise tours (which combine a land and sea trip) are also wheelchair accessible.

Guests can witness the rich Alaskan wildlife and partake in local experiences without the usual travel hassles. In short, an Alaskan cruise merges nature’s grandeur with effortless accessibility, ensuring an unforgettable journey for all.

Hawaii’s allure extends far beyond its stunning beaches and rich culture; it’s an excellent cruise destination for those with mobility problems. This state offers wheelchair-accessible beaches with free beach wheelchairs , accessible tours, and iconic sites such as its national parks and Pearl Harbor , making this a fantastic destination.

Grassy land becomes a black cliff that drops off into the ocean. Sea arches are along side of the cliff

From the ship’s deck, passengers can effortlessly soak in panoramic views of the islands’ beauty, from majestic coastlines to breathtaking sunsets. Plus, the convenience of exploring multiple islands without continuous travel adjustments is unparalleled.

In essence, a Hawaiian cruise offers a seamless blend of tropical wonder and ease for everyone.


The Mediterranean, renowned for its rich cultural tapestry and sun-kissed landscapes, is a dream cruise destination, especially for those with mobility concerns. Guests can effortlessly appreciate the scenic panoramas—from Santorini’s white-washed beauty to Barcelona’s majestic coastline—from the ship’s deck.

best cruise line for disabled

Cruise lines ensure tailored, accessible shore excursions that allow for leisurely exploration of the region’s diverse cities without the challenges of frequent repacking or navigating complex transport. 

Modern vessels prioritize accessibility, from spacious cabins to onboard cultural experiences, ensuring that the Mediterranean’s charm is enjoyed without compromise. In essence, cruising the Mediterranean offers a seamless blend of cultural immersion and thoughtful convenience for all travelers.

Europe, with its tapestry of cultures and historic landmarks, offers a unique allure for travelers. 

For those with mobility challenges, European cruises present an unparalleled opportunity. From the ship, passengers can effortlessly appreciate diverse landscapes, from Norway’s majestic fjords to the cute towns of Bruges or Amsterdam. 

best cruise line for disabled

The convenience of cruising allows travelers to experience multiple European nations without the complexities of traditional travel. 

Additionally, the rich European culture often comes alive onboard through performances and workshops. A European cruise blends the continent’s deep heritage with thoughtful convenience, ensuring a rewarding experience for all travelers.

best cruise line for disabled

Make sure to check out my post for cruising to Europe in a wheelchair for additional information and tips.

Cruise Accessibility FAQs

Do cruises have rooms for disabled passengers.

Yes, most modern cruise ships offer specially designed cabins for disabled passengers. These accessible cabins are tailored to accommodate passengers with mobility challenges and may include features like wider doorways for wheelchair and scooter access, roll-in showers with grab bars, lowered sinks and countertops, visual and auditory aids, and more. 

It’s always advisable to check with individual cruise lines and ships to understand the specific amenities they offer and to book these rooms well in advance, as they are limited in number and can fill up quickly.

Do Cruise Ships Have Mobility Scooters?

While most cruise ships themselves don’t provide mobility scooters for daily use, many offer the ability for passengers to rent them from approved third-party vendors who specialize in mobility aids. Passengers can arrange for a scooter rental in advance of their trip, and the scooter can be delivered directly to the ship for use during the voyage. 

best cruise line for disabled

Additionally, some cruise lines have scooters available for emergency or short-term use. If a passenger is considering bringing their own scooter, they should check with the cruise line regarding storage, charging facilities, and any other related policies.

Can You Rent a Wheelchair on Cruise Ships?

Yes, many cruise ships offer the option for passengers to rent wheelchairs either for the entire duration of the cruise or for specific times, such as embarkation and disembarkation. Some cruise lines provide these rentals for free, while others might charge a fee. 

Additionally, passengers can often rent wheelchairs from approved third-party vendors, who will arrange for the wheelchair to be available upon the passenger’s arrival on the ship. If you’re considering renting a wheelchair, it’s essential to make arrangements in advance to ensure availability.

Will I Be Able to Get Off the Ship at Ports?

Yes, as a disabled passenger, you will generally be able to get off the ship at ports. Modern cruise ships and port facilities have made significant improvements in accessibility. However, there are a few considerations.

Port Accessibility

While many ports have direct dock access, allowing passengers to disembark via gangways with relative ease, others may require the use of tenders (smaller boats) to reach the shore. Depending on sea conditions and the specific tender being used, it might be challenging for individuals with certain disabilities to transfer safely.

an orange and white ender boat is pulled alongside a grey floating dock

Destination Topography

Some destinations might have hilly terrains, uneven surfaces, or lack wheelchair-friendly infrastructure. It’s a good idea to research each port in advance to understand potential challenges.

Ship Assistance

Some cruise lines offer assistance during embarkation and disembarkation for disabled passengers. If you believe you’ll need help, notify the cruise line in advance to ensure they can accommodate your needs.

In any case, it’s always recommended to communicate with the cruise line before your trip to discuss specific requirements and understand available services and potential limitations at each port of call.

Does the Cruise Line Offer Wheelchair Accessible Shore Excursions?

Most major cruise lines recognize the importance of inclusivity and have made efforts to offer wheelchair-accessible shore excursions. These excursions are designed keeping in mind the needs of passengers with mobility challenges.

They often include:

  • Accessible transportation: Buses or vans equipped with wheelchair lifts or ramps.
  • Tour destinations with paved paths or even surfaces.
  • Sites with wheelchair-accessible restrooms and facilities.

However, the availability and extent of accessible excursions can vary based on the cruise line, the specific ship, and the destinations on the itinerary. Some more remote or historic locations might have limited accessibility due to their natural terrain or older infrastructure.

Travel Tip: The US and Europe are destinations where the cruise line will most likely offer accessible excursions. However, the availability of accessible excursions in Europe can vary.

If you’re interested in participating in shore excursions, it’s vital to:

  • Check with the cruise line directly about available accessible excursions for your itinerary.
  • Book in advance, as these excursions can fill up quickly due to limited availability.
  • Clarify any specific requirements you might have to ensure the excursion meets your needs.

In all cases, the cruise line’s shore excursion team can provide detailed information on what to expect and help guide passengers to excursions that best match their accessibility needs.

Recap on the Best Cruise Lines for Disabled Passengers

In this guide of cruise vacations, we delved deep into what makes certain cruises stand out for travelers with special needs. From onboard amenities to shore excursions, the right choice in a cruise can significantly enhance the travel experience. Ensuring accessibility, providing medical facilities, understanding port logistics, and offering tailored excursions are all vital components.

Through reviews, recommendations, and proactive communication, passengers can find the most suitable options for their needs. Remember, the best cruise lines for disabled passengers prioritize comfort, safety, and inclusivity, ensuring every journey is as memorable as the destinations themselves.

Author Bio:

best cruise line for disabled

Having journeyed through more than 30 nations and accrued significant expertise working aboard cruise ships, Dan has established himself as a distinguished world traveler. Driven by an unwavering passion for exploration, Dan graciously offers his seasoned insights for traversing by sea, air, or land.

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I'm Kristin and I was born with a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy, which impacts my mobility and breathing. Despite this challenge, I have travelled across the United States and abroad and want to share my accessible travel information with others.

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The Complete Guide to Cruising With a Disability

If you have a disability, then it doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the experience of vacationing on a cruise ship. In fact, cruising is a great way to get out and see the world, especially since the cruise lines are extremely conscious about making the accommodations needed for passengers with disabilities.

Man sitting in a wheelchair

In fact, given the control that cruise lines have over the building of and the services offered on their ships, it’s hard to beat a cruise when it comes to accessibility. Unlike a resort that could have been built decades ago — before accessibility was a major consideration — cruise ships are relatively modern. That means they can offer ease and comfort not often seen in other venues.

However, we know that having a disability means you have to consider how you’ll perform day-to-day activities that most people take for granted — especially when going into an unfamiliar place like a cruise ship. To help you out, we’ve researched the major cruise lines to bring you everything we can about accessibility issues.

Fortunately, cruising is among the most accommodating ways to travel. Even so, there are some things you should know.

Keep in mind that the information below is general. If you have specific questions not answered, it’s best to contact the cruise line directly. We’ve included contact information at the end of the article.

In This Article...

Getting Around the Ship

As we mentioned above, cruise lines have come a long way in making their ships accessible. Whether it be modified elevators to lowered Guest Services desks, there has been a lot of effort put into making the ships more friendly for passengers with disabilities.

In general, guests in wheelchairs or scooters should have no problem getting nearly everywhere on the ship.

You’ll find that many cruise liners have automatic doorways when accessing public decks — especially in the high-traffic corridors. Ships are also equipped with banks of elevators to get you from deck to deck.

If mobility issues are extremely important to you, then you’ll appreciate Carnival’s page on the topic . This page includes different deck plans that identify all of the accessible routes through each ship, along with cabins and restrooms that are accessible. It also shows how serious cruise lines take accessibility. 

Keep in mind that public areas are also made to accommodate those with disabilities. For example, Royal Caribbean offers lifts for at least one pool and one hot tub on board each ship in its fleet. The cruise line also offers lowered playing tables and slot machines in the casino. Carnival offers pool lifts on a handful of its newest ships. 

Of course, even on the biggest cruise ships space can sometimes be tight. However, in general ships (especially newer ones) are made with mobility issues in mind.

Wheelchairs and Scooters on a Cruise Ship

If you have trouble walking long distances, you may want a wheelchair. The major cruise lines are happy to provide you a chair during boarding and debarking, however, you must bring your own chair or scooter if you’d like one during your entire cruise.

Note: If you’d like a chair or scooter during the cruise but don’t already own one, you can rent one from the following companies:

Scootaround Phone 1-888-441-7575 E-mail: [email protected]

Special Needs at Sea Phone: 800-513-4515 E-mail: [email protected]

One important rule about chairs and scooters is that they should ideally be (or fold) to less than 21″ wide. That limit is so that they can fit within your cabin. Cruise lines don’t allow the devices to be stored in hallways as they impede the walkway, creating a danger in case of emergency. If your device is larger, don’t panic, it’s still allowed. It’s just better if they can be stowed in a smaller space.

Accessible Cabins

Accessible cabins onboard cruise ships are significantly larger than most standard rooms, and filled with features to make getting around easier. For instance, while most cabin doorways are around 23″ wide, accessible rooms have doors that are 32″ wide.

The cruise lines have designed these cabins to be accessible, even in a small space. For example, here are all the features on Royal Caribbean’s ships in its accessible staterooms:

• Available on all ships in a variety of categories • Stateroom and bathroom door width: at least 32 inches • Automatic stateroom doors on Radiance/Quantum-class ships • No stateroom doorway threshold • Lowered closet rods and safes • Lowered sink and vanity • Ramped bathroom doorway thresholds • Roll-in showers with grab bars • Fold-down shower seat and hand-held shower head • Raised toilet seats – most are between 17 to 19 inches high • 5-foot turning radius in sleeping, sitting and bathroom areas • Accessible balconies • Most located near elevators

One thing to keep in mind that the accessible staterooms are limited. For reference, Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas (one of its largest ships) has roughly 35 handicapped-accessible cabins. Therefore, if you know you’ll need one of these rooms and aren’t flexible with dates, be sure to book your cruise early for the best selection.

See the video below for a quick video tour of an example accessible cabin.

Ports of Call

It’s likely that your cruise ship can cover just about any special need you might have for any disability. However, ports of call are a different story.

In general, you’ll likely find that most ports of call have at least some difficulties for those with handicaps. From uneven streets to few facilities for those with a disability, many ports of call just aren’t well setup for people with special needs. That’s not to say you can’t go enjoy yourself. It’s just simply more of a challenge than life on the ship.

That’s not the case everywhere, however. Many ports like Cozumel or Costa Maya have large port areas that are designed specifically to cater to cruise ship passengers. In these modern areas, many of the accommodations (e.g. sloped areas for wheelchairs, accessible bathrooms) are available. Once outside of the port area, however, the story is different.

If your cruise is stopping at a cruise line’s private island, then you’re in luck. Think of these islands as extensions of the ship. They are designed with accessibility in mind. This includes everything from beach wheelchairs to smooth pathways to transportation services to get those with mobility issues around the island, as well as accessible facilities. In short, if you have a disability, then booking an excursion with a private island included is a good idea.

Piers/Tender Boats One other thing to consider is how you’ll actually get into a port. Most ports have piers. The ship docks alongside and passengers simply get out and head into port. But a handful of stops like Norwegian Cruise Line’s Great Stirrup Cay and Belize City use tenders to get to port.

When using a tender, passengers head from the ship onto a small boat to head into port. For those with mobility issues or wheelchairs, this can be more of a challenge, especially if the water is choppy. 

Wheelchairs on the beach

Part of the fun of going on a cruise is getting off the ship in port and going on excursions. Of course, not every excursion is going to be able to cater to disabled guests, but the wide mix of activities mean there is something for everyone.

When looking for excursions, all the cruise lines will have descriptions of the tour and some notes about how strenuous it is for guests. Often they will include a handicap symbol if an excursion is accessible. If not, don’t simply take that to mean it isn’t appropriate for someone in a wheelchair. We’d suggest going to talk with the excursion booking staff once on the ship. They will know firsthand what is available, depending on your mobility.

Service Animals on a Cruise

In most cases, passengers can bring service animals on board the ship, but keep in mind there are a number of restrictions.

First and foremost, a service animal is defined as an animal that is specially trained to help with a disability-related need. The cruise lines go out of their way to clarify that service animals are not pets, nor are they “therapy animals” or even service dogs in training.

Service animals must have proof of all current vaccinations for the cruise line, but that’s not all. In addition, passengers must find out on their own which vaccinations for animals are required for each port country. If they fail to have proof of these shots, then it’s likely the animal won’t be allowed to disembark.

For more details on traveling abroad with a service dog, you can check the USDA’s page on the topic:

You’ll want to contact your specific cruise line for full details and any particular questions you might have about access to areas of the ship with a service animal. In general, the cruise lines refuse to supply food or provide care to the animal. So if you want to go ashore without the animal, don’t expect them to walk or toilet them in your absence.

If you are traveling with a service dog, you’ll want to get in touch with the cruise line well in advance to alert them of the need. They can walk you through any special requirement or specific questions you might have. Most lines can even offer a “relief area” for the animal to use the restroom on the ship.

Prescriptions on a Cruise

Pill bottle

Nothing can make a person feel more uncomfortable than bringing loads of medication through a security checkpoint. There is just something about carrying pills that feels like you are asking for trouble. The good news is that cruise lines, which often cater to older crowds, are used to seeing people bringing medications in large quantities.

The best idea is to bring your prescriptions in their original bottles. That way there is no trouble identifying pills, and your pharmacy contact information is right on the bottle should anyone question the prescription. In practice, medication rarely causes a problem.

It is smart to always carry your medication in your carry-on luggage. If you need access, your prescription will always be right by your side.

Diet Needs & Food Allergies

One of the biggest perks of cruising is the food. Of course, if you have special diet needs, it might also be an area that causes some worry. It shouldn’t.

Today’s cruise lines can be extremely accommodative for your diet needs. For example, Carnival boasts that they can “can provide our guests with the following special dietary needs: vegetarian, low-cholesterol, low-fat, low-carbohydrates, low-sugar and gluten free.”

For most diet needs, you don’t even need to alert the cruise line ahead of time. The best thing to do is go to the dining room and let your main dining room waiter know of your needs. They can help answer questions and offer suggestions for meals based on your restrictions. For meals outside of the main dining room, you will have to be vigilant and let the staff know of your needs.

If you have a restrictive diet, it’s a good idea to let the cruise line know at least two weeks before you sail so they can prepare. The good news is that modern cruising can cover just about any restriction you have.

One other thing to note is that you are allowed to bring pre-packaged foods and snacks with you onto the ship. They can’t be homemade and they must be sealed in their original package. 

Hearing Impairment

Cruise lines are especially knowledgeable about helping passengers with hearing difficulties. Most cruise lines offer room kits that include visual/tactile alerts for telephones, alarm clocks and door knocking. In addition, a TTY can be placed within your stateroom that connects with the front desk in order to communicate with guest relations.

Other features for those with hearing issues include:

  • Amplified telephones around the ship
  • Assistive hearing headsets for use in ship theaters
  • Closed-captioned televisions across fleets
  • Sign language interpreting services in places like theaters, presentations, and major events. Guests should contact the cruise line well in advance (90+ days in some cases) to ask for this service if required.

Vision Impairment

Today’s modern cruise ships all come equipped with braille signage throughout the ship. This includes elevators and stateroom signs. As well, many cruise lines will offer orientation tours of the ship and large-form menus. If you have a service dog to help you with vision impairment, be sure to see our section above on service animals.

Cruising with Children with Disabilities

If you have a child with disabilities, cruises are a great vacation choice. Not only are there plenty of opportunities to have fun as a family, but there are also opportunities for respite while on your trip.

Major cruise lines have youth programs where children of all abilities are welcome. The cruise lines usually separate the kids by age (since 5-year-olds want to different things than 14-year-olds), however, if a child has special needs, they will group a child by their ability level.

The rule of thumb is that staff can’t provide specialized attention. That means they can’t help a child take medication, feed them, nor can they offer one-on-one supervision under most circumstances. If this is the case, either the parent or helper can stay with a child.

Cruise lines will give parents pagers/phones to give them piece of mind. If a parent is needed, the pager will alert them aboard the ship.

Tips for Cruising with a Disability

Obviously, there’s a lot to consider when cruising with a disability, but the good news is that cruise lines are extremely accommodating. If you want some of our top tips for making your vacation better, consider the following.

Sail Newer Ships All cruise ships will have accommodations designed for those with disabilities. That said, we’d suggest sticking with the newest ships you can. Newer ships will have the latest features (including things like automatic door openers for accessible cabins on some ships), but most of all, new ships can offer more space. Newer ships are built larger than their predecessors, providing more ease of movement throughout.

Book Your Cruise Early While cruise lines go out of their way to offer accessible features, they are limited in the number of accessible cabins on the ship. And once they are gone, they are gone. For that reason, it’s a good idea to book your cruise as early as possible if you need an accessible cabin. This will give you the most options possible for your schedule.

Contact The Cruise Line Soon If you are sailing and have special needs, then it’s a smart idea to call the cruise line as soon as possible to discuss any accommodations you might need. For instance, those needing a sign language interpreter (which are available) need to give 60-90 days notice before they sail. It’s also a good chance to get any questions you might have answered well before you head to the port.

Contacting the Cruise Lines

If you have special needs or a disability that you think requires special consideration, the best thing to do is contact the cruise line well in advance of your sail date. By contacting them, not only can they answer any questions, but they can also prepare accommodations to make your cruise more comfortable.

Depending on which cruise line you sail, we recommend the contacts below.

The following websites can offer more details about the accommodations for specific cruise lines:

Royal Caribbean



Norwegian Cruise Lines



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Im an adult who’s disabled.i want to go on a cruise ship for the 1st time I hear the ship has activities that the disabled can do. What are the activities, what us the Ed layout of the room etc. Any advice we’re all ears

It’s actually difficult to list everything here. During the day there are dozens of things that go on — contests, dancing, shows, eating, etc. Apart from a few of the more active items (such as rock-climbing or something similar) just about everything can be enjoyed by anyone.

Holland America on some vessels have scooters or wheelchairs you can rent onboard for uour cruise. I rented on the Noordam this past September. Made excursions into port so much better.

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Best Cruise Ships for Disabled Passengers: A Complete Guide

  • By Aimen Sohail
  • October 16, 2023

best cruise ships for disabled passengers

Table of Contents

Many people’s go-to holiday idea is a cruise vacation. However travelers who utilize wheelchairs or suffer mobility challenges are often worried about their first cruise. They question whether a cruise ship can suit their demands, particularly when it comes to onboard accommodations.

After all, the ship will be their home for their trip.

To solve the problem, we’ll look at some of the most incredible cruise lines that accommodate passengers with disabilities, providing them with convenient accommodations and top-notch service that transforms vacations into unforgettable memories.

Kennedy Space Center

What Are Accessible Cruise Ships?

Accessible cruise ships have been adapted to accommodate passengers with mobility limitations or any other disability. 

Cruisers of all ages and abilities may feel at home on these ships thanks to the wide variety of amenities designed with them in mind. Accessible cabins are available on all cruise ships. The number of wheelchair-accessible rooms on a ship will vary depending on the vessel’s age and size.

Accessibility wasn’t always a priority for the cruise industry. However, as of 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice required all cruise ships operating in U.S. waters to be ADA-compliant regardless of their country of origin. And now, all modern cruise ships offer accessibility.

When considering travel options for disabled seniors , a cruise vacation stands out as an inclusive and enjoyable choice, offering a variety of accessible amenities and destinations.

Senior in wheelchair on cruise ship

Top Things to Consider When Picking A Cruise Ship For Disabled Passengers

Choosing which cruise to choose for a holiday is thrilling and essential. Given the large number of cruise lines, destinations of call, and schedules, planning your vacation is crucial. One should keep a few features in mind, such as, 

Accessibility Features

For disabled passengers, ease of access is a priority. Look for a cruise line that offers various accessibility options, such as

  • Accessible Cabins: Look for accommodations with roll-in showers, wider doors, and grab bars.
  • Wheelchair Ramps: Ensure that all levels of the ship are wheelchair accessible or any other mobility aid and broad walkways for getting around the ship.
  • Accessible Elevators: Make sure that the ship’s elevators can take passengers to all of the ship’s flooring, including the decks where the restaurants, theaters, and other attractions are located.
  • Accessible Shore Excursions: Find out if the cruise company offers tours and transportation in ports accessible to people with disabilities.

Travel Dates

The dates you choose to go are essential. Think about the time of year, the number of tourists in the area, and the schedule. The best is to schedule your trip during the off-season to save money and avoid the crowds.

Size of Ship

The bigger the cruise ship, the easier it is to board. Wheelchair passengers cannot expect an accessible experience on most river or small ship trips. At least a minimum of accessibility is assured if you stick to the major cruise lines.

Cruise Line Reputation

Find out as much as you can about the cruise line’s reputation. Check out what others have said about it on review sites, social media, and online discussion forums. If you book with a reputable cruise line, you can be assured that you will receive excellent care while on board.

Get your finances in order first, and then book a cruise, as bigger ships tend to have more features and bonuses. A budget can help you focus your efforts and reduce the likelihood of overspending. Consider the cruise’s level of luxury, facilities, ease of access, and availability of amenities.

Cabin Locations

Before booking a cruise ship vacation, always research and prioritize a stateroom near the ship’s center if you have mobility issues. Doing it will make visiting the ship’s restaurants, shows, and other amenities more convenient in a wheelchair.

Dining Options on a Cruise Ship

Do some research about the available culinary options while on the cruise. Make sure some restaurants are friendly to those using wheelchairs, including features like low tables and trained workers. Also, ask about available or customizable options to meet your special diet needs.

Onboard Activities

A wide range of services and entertainment options are available on cruises. Ensure the cruise line you choose has what you want: spa services, water parks, or Broadway-style musicals. Traveling with kids? Check out the ships that provide kid-friendly activities and shows.

Travel Insurance

Purchasing travel insurance for your cruise is a prudent decision. It can afford reassurance in unforeseen circumstances, such as cancellations, medical emergencies, or misplaced luggage.

Check the Itinerary and Port Accessibility

The actual fun starts at each port of call, regardless of how accessible the ship is.

Determine the port’s and surrounding area’s accessibility for each planned stop. Those with mobility difficulties may have trouble boarding tenders (small boats) at some ports. Verify that your potential cruise has convenient tender services.

Choosing the best cruise for disabled travelers involves more than just comfort and fun; it also requires security, ease of use, and relaxation. By following these guidelines and conducting a thorough study, you can plan a lifetime trip that exceeds your expectations.

Sal and Debi Pitera shared a helpful guide on cruising with disabilities and all the amenities, such as accessible cabins and bathrooms, and discussed other accessible options for the hearing and the visually impaired.

Accessible cruises and airlines provide people with disabilities with the freedom to see the world. To discover more about air travel for wheelchair users , check out our dedicated article here.   

Our Top Picks For Best Cruise Ships For Disabled Passengers

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires all cruise ships departing from the United States to make reasonable accommodations for passengers with disabilities . However, certain ships may go farther than others.

Many cruise lines and vessels now include fully accessible cabins and amenities tailored to the needs of disabled passengers, such as those who need wheelchairs or walkers and those who are deaf and blind.

Some of the best accessible cruises and major cruise lines are listed here.

Royal Caribbean International

Regarding ships accessible to people with impairments, Royal Caribbean International is at the top, and many disability-focused websites have given it the top rating . As the best cruise line, it has 26 ships in service, including the ones with accessible amenities, with the Wonder of the Seas launched in 2022.

Royal Caribbean International

Accessible Staterooms

Royal Caribbean has wheelchair-friendly accommodations with a 5-foot turning radius. The accessible rooms are between 159 and 298 square feet, with amenities such as lower sinks, higher toilet seats, hand-held showerheads, and the standard 32 to 34-inch entrances. Some cruise liners, such as the Serenade of the Seas and the Oasis of the Seas , include more than 30 wheelchair-accessible accommodations.

Special Attention to Needs

Royal Caribbean provides amenities such as closed-caption TVs and large-print menus to accommodate guests with a wide range of impairments. One pool and one whirlpool lift are available on each fleet ship. Accessible listening devices and Braille signs are available on board for passengers who may have trouble hearing or seeing.

Complimentary Wheelchairs

Even complimentary wheelchairs are available for use during embarkation and post-cruise transfers. Renting a wheelchair is an option if a personal wheelchair cannot be brought on the cruise.

Top Choice: The Symphony of The Sea

The Symphony of the Seas , launched in 2018, is one of the largest cruise ships in the world, carrying 5,518 passengers, yet those with disabilities are not overlooked.

The ship offers 46 accessible cabins with all the necessary features. Its architecture provides easy navigation and wheelchair access in public spaces, hallways, and elevators. Accessible seating is available in all public places, including restaurants, lounges, and shows. Elevators are also installed at the main pool, whirlpool, and casino’s lowered gaming tables.

The finest selection of lodgings may be found when reservations are made well in advance. Complete the special needs form on their website at least 30 days before departure to guarantee a room that meets your requirements.

Alanna Zingano , a cruise traveler, gave a room tour and showed all the amenities provided inside the Symphony of the Sea cruise room. 

The Access Department at Royal Caribbean is available to assist with trip preparations and answer customers’ queries. Call (866) 592-7225 or write to [email protected] to get in touch.

Carnival Cruises

With 25 ships in its fleet, Carnival Cruise Line is one of the world’s largest and best cruise lines. The cruise company, known for its ‘fun ships’, primarily caters to American tourists but also explores exotic destinations like Alaska, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Australia.

Carnival Cruises

Carnival has various accessible amenities and services in their new ships to ensure their voyages are enjoyable for everyone, even those with limited mobility.

The Continual Improvement

Besides modern cruise ships, Carnival has older ships in its fleet to help with accessibility. It includes visual-tactile room kits for hard-of-hearing travelers. Wheelchair lifts have tactile controls and audible cues for passengers with poor vision or blindness.

Inclusive Stateroom Design

Like other cruise lines, Carnival provides accessible staterooms throughout its entire fleet. The Carnival Horizon and the Carnival Panorama stand out among cruise ships due to the accessible cabins they offer, 65 and 75, respectively.

Dedicated, Accessible Features

In addition, there are designated wheelchair-accessible walkways and sitting areas throughout the ship’s formal and informal dining venues. The Carnival Horizon, Panorama, Radiance, Sunrise, Vista, and Mardi Gras include pool lifts.

Top Choice: The Carnival Horizon

The best among the Carnival Cruises is the Carnival Horizon , which exemplifies inclusivity to the fullest extent. It was launched in 2018 and boasts 65 wheelchair-accessible rooms in three distinct varieties.

These include Fully Accessible Cabins (FAC), Fully Accessible Cabins with Single Side Approach (FAC-SSA), and Ambulatory Accessible Cabins (AAC). Also, cabins with oversized (32-inch) doors, turning space, and bathrooms fitted with grab bars and shower seats are available for guests who use a wheelchair or mobility scooter .

They also allow wheelchair rentals from dedicated vendors. Even though Carnival provides wheelchair-accessible excursions, accessibility ashore varies by port of call.

In the video, you will see Cheryl moving around our cabin on the Carnival Horizon. 

The cruise company can better accommodate guests with special requirements if they know of such needs almost 14 days in advance. Carnival can be reached at 1-800-438-6744 (ext. 70025). For more information, guests can also visit the Carnival Cruise Line website or contact [email protected] . via email.

Princess Cruises

For more than three decades, Princess Cruises has been an innovator in the cruise industry in accommodating guests with disabilities. Princess Cruises was the first in the cruise business to implement an accessibility program in 1992.

The firm has also been recognized for its efforts by the Western Law Center for Disability Rights and the National Business & Disability Council.

Princess Cruise

Impressive Accommodations

Each ship in the Princess fleet can accommodate up to 31 wheelchair-accessible accommodations for more than 350 accessible cabins . Roll-in showers, handheld showerheads, lowered basins, handrails, and closet railings are just some of the accessible features included in these cabins’ thoughtful design. On top of that, any accessible instruments will be provided upon request.

Accessible Public Areas

Most Princess ships are designed such that public areas, entertainment venues, spas, restaurants, and theaters can all be reached quickly and easily. Elevators on board have wide entrances (between 36 and 42 inches) to accommodate wheelchairs, and there is accessible seating in common areas.

Special Needs Innovations For Hearing and Impaired

The cruise line also offers other accessible amenities like text telephones, door knock sensors, smoke alarms, and theaters with infrared listening aid devices for guests with hearing or vision impairments.

Prioritizing Ease Onshore

Most Princess Cruises’ ships are equipped with specific gangway devices that make embarking and disembarking from the ships accessible for wheelchair passengers.

Top Choice: The Regal Princess

The newest ship in the line, the Regal Princess , includes 38 accessible cabins and a crew trained to help customers in wheelchairs board and depart the ship. The ship’s main theater has assisted listening devices and accessible bathrooms in all public areas.

Regal Princess Cruise

The Majestic Princess, Royal Princess , and Ruby Princess provide comparable services and amenities.

Princess Cruise lines require passengers with mobility issues to communicate their requirements before the cruise. For the cruise, wheelchairs and other specialized equipment are available for rental, or passengers may bring their own.

Contact the Access Office at [email protected] . Or by phone at Princess.

Disney’s Caribbean Cruise Lines

Disney established its cruise line in 1998 with the debut of its first ship, the Disney Magic , capitalizing on its prior achievements with theme parks and resorts and the general popularity of its brand.

Disney's Caribbean Cruise Lines

Since then, it has expanded to the point that it is now a well-known cruise company that sails to a variety of locations throughout the world. Five ships are in service, including Magic, Wonder, Dream, and Fantasy , with the newest ship, Disney Wish , launched in July 2022. 

Child-Friendly Approach

The Dream Class ships not only include 24 accessible rooms but also hire youth counselors trained to engage with children of varying abilities so that every kid may have the same fantastic experience.

Designed Staterooms

Unlike typical staterooms with narrower doors, wheelchair-accessible staterooms have a 32-inch entrance door and a wider travel path. These spacious, handicapped-friendly staterooms on board include features like roll-in showers, grab bars, height-adjustable shower heads, lowered towel bars, and closet bars.

There’s magic outside of the cabins, too. Theatrical performances, dining venues, and shops are all available aboard Disney Cruise Line ships. Every ship has pool lifts accessible by appointment so that everyone may enjoy a refreshing plunge.

Special Needs Requirements

The cruise company offers various services to accommodate travelers with sensory impairments, including communication kits with bed shakers, TTY, and sign-language interpreters in some instances.

Wheelchairs, mobility scooters, and other mobility aids are not provided on board. Therefore, passengers who need them must carry their own or make prior arrangements for their collection and delivery. ASL interpreters, hearing aids, and transcripts of some board performances are also available upon request.

Michael Kay , a Disney enthusiast, shared his experience on a disabled Disney cruise and Castaway Cay Island with his family and grandmother and gave tips to people with disabled family members.

One has to submit the needs or requirements up to 3 days before departure. If you have further questions or need assistance, contact Disney Cruise Line Special Services at 407-566-3602 or email [email protected]  

The Castaway Cay

Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line’s breathtaking private island in the Bahamas, is a significant selling point for the company’s cruises, where guests may enjoy various Disney-themed activities, including those with disabilities.

Castaway Cay Water Slides

Among the accommodations made for visitors with accessibility needs are:

  • Sand wheelchairs are first-come, first-served, and free of charge.
  • The Promenade has Paved Walkways with Entrances to Shops and Eateries.
  • A wheelchair-accessible tram that can accommodate both manual and electric wheelchairs.
  • Accessible restrooms

Castaway Family Beach is the heart of the resort, including a beautiful stretch of Bahamian sand and plenty of comfortable lounge chairs and umbrellas for shade.

A small tour of Disney’s Castaway Cay Family Cabana.

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruise Lines has gone above and beyond to ensure that all its personalized excursions are accessible to those using wheelchairs and only need low activity levels in some destinations.

Celebrity Cruises

Each Celebrity ship is not only wheelchair accessible but also autism-friendly, having received silver “ Autism Friendly ” certification from Autism on the Seas in 2015 .

Celebrity Cruise claims its ships are “accessible from bow to stern.” Eleven ships are accessible. These include Celebrity Reflection, Celebrity Silhouette, Celebrity Solstice and Celebrity Apex , to name a few.

Onboard Experience

All staterooms have been thoughtfully built to accommodate those with mobility issues , with wide, automated entrances, enough turning space, and roll-in showers with grab bars.

Wheelchair seating is available in all the ship’s public spaces, including restaurants, bars, and the theater. The main pool and whirlpool are accessible by elevator, and the gaming tables in the casinos are likewise adjustable for guests with mobility issues.

Features for Vision and Hearing Impaired

All Solstice Class ships offer Braille lift buttons and other signs for visually impaired guests. When feasible, the crew of each vessel will also provide assistive equipment for visitors who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Dedicated Assistance

The cruise line will provide complimentary, accessible transportation from the airport to the dock upon request. Additionally, boarding and departure assistance is provided at the request of wheelchair users.

Top Choice: The Celebrity Reflection

The Celebrity Reflection , the largest ship in the fleet with a capacity of 3,046 passengers, has 30 accessible cabins with automated doors. Additionally, suites in accessible places may accommodate up to four people, making it possible to bring the entire family along.

Celebrity Reflection cruise ship

The Reflection’s bathrooms are designed for wheelchair accessibility, featuring stepped thresholds, grab bars, and roll-in showers. Accessible staterooms have lowered closet rods, a lowered safe, an open bed frame, an accessible balcony, amplified telephones, bed jacks for mattress elevation, a set of strobe door knockers, light phones, and a vibrating alarm clock.

All four ships in Celebrity’s Solstice class—the Silhouette, Eclipse, Equinox , and Solstice —offer almost identical onboard services.

Celebrity’s website simplifies booking accessible staterooms and managing itineraries, allowing multiple bookings for friends or family. It also offers accessible shore excursions, specialty dining, beverage, and internet packages and provides booking for larger groups.

As the pandemic waned, Sylvia Longmire, a cruise enthusiast, embarked on seven cruises in just three months in the fall of 2022. Five of these were with Celebrity Cruises, her preferred choice for its accessibility, comfort, and itineraries. In her review on a blog, she highlights Celebrity Cruises as the best cruise line for wheelchair users, emphasizing its memorable and wheelchair-accessible experiences.

Cruisers may call the Access Department at 954-628-9708 to book for special needs or email [email protected]

Holland America Cruise Lines

Holland America is well-known for going above and beyond to ensure its disabled customers have a pleasant and fulfilling cruise experience. They were named “Best Overall Facilities for Physically Challenged Passengers” by Porthole Cruise magazine for their efforts.

Holland America Cruise Lines

Their creative techniques and commitment to ensuring passengers with disabilities have a pleasant cruise experience set them apart as a frontrunner in the industry.

Staterooms Designed for Ease

Accessible cabins are available on all Holland America ships. Their Signature and Vista -class ships offer up to 30 wheelchair-accessible accommodations on each ship.

These rooms have roll-in showers with grab bars, accessible controls, hand-held showerheads, and wide doorways that allow wheelchair access to both sides of the bed.

Special Needs For Other Disabilities

Holland America provides exceptional accommodations for guests with sensory impairments , including a screen reader for online material, menus in big print or Braille, assistive listening systems in show lounges, visual and tactile alert kits in staterooms, and amplified telephones for guests with hearing loss.

Onboard and Offshore Excursions

Holland America is committed to inclusivity onboard and has implemented measures to assist guests during shore excursions, including alternative transfers for passengers with limited mobility and lifts between the ship and tender, despite potential varying conditions at port-of-call facilities.

Top Choice: Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise 

The Nieuw Amsterdam ship is at the cutting edge of accessible cruising, providing many amenities for anyone with physical challenges such as mobility, vision, or breathing. Wheelchairs can quickly board any shore tender because of their platform’s wide width.

The Ms. Rotterdam, Ms. Koningsdam, and Ms. Eurodam are some of the company’s other ships suitable for people with special needs.

[email protected] .  is the email address to contact the Holland America Guest Accessibility Department, or call 800 547-8493. 

CoryLee, a paraplegic, shares a room tour of accessible rooms on the Holland America Ship. 

In summary, one is spoiled with options when selecting the most suitable cruise ship for disabled passengers in the United States. Most cruise lines go beyond the call of duty to ensure every passenger has a unique and unforgettable vacation.

There are a variety of cruise lines to choose from, from the cutting-edge vessels of Royal Caribbean International to the attentive staff of Holland America Line.

The best cruise lines catering to passengers with disabilities emphasize equality, safety, and comfort, guaranteeing that each voyage is as memorable as the destinations.

However, If you love water but are apprehensive about being in the sea constantly, you can still plan a vacation at one of the finest Florida beaches .

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best cruise line for disabled

How to Choose the Very Best Accessible Cruise (for YOU!)

By  John Sage

Choosing the best accessible cruise for your accessibility needs and personal preferences can be overwhelming. When you start to look at all the different cruise lines, all the different cruise itineraries, the dates, and the various shore excursions, you can soon find yourself choosing from hundreds of options!

Many disabled and senior cruisers focus on the wrong aspects when selecting their cruise. They first pick a cruise line based on a friend’s recommendation or their own previous cruise experience. Next they select an itinerary that they like and book their cruise. Finally they check the accessibility of the ports. They end up staying on the ship in some of their cruise ports because they didn’t check the accessibility first!

Book a Cruise Package and Get 50 Off Each Shore Excursion

These  12 Steps to Choose the Best Accessible Cruise  are  proven  to work! They will ensure you focus on the right things so you can quickly narrow down the options and select your perfect cruise!

best cruise line for disabled

Mediterranean cruise port accessibility can vary great. The  best accessible cruiseports  have attractions within walking/rolling distance on the cruise dock (Monaco, Naples) while the least accessible cruise ports require using buses with steps to get anywhere ( Livorno, shown on the right ).

There’s no need to spend any days on your cruise trapped on the ship while other people go ashore…check out the accessibility of the ports before selecting the best accessible cruise.

2) Decide on your embarkation/disembarkation ports  – Are there any cities that you would like to spend more time visiting before or after your cruise? The most popular embarkation ports in Europe are  Venice ,  Barcelona , and  London . Other popular cities include  Rome  (Civitavecchia),  Naples , Copenhagen, Amsterdam, and  Athens .

Of all these cities, Barcelona and London are the best accessible cruise ports in terms of wheelchair accessibility. If there’s a particular city that you want to spend additional days in, you can quickly eliminate some cruise itineraries.

best cruise line for disabled

3) Compare cruise itineraries  – Many cruise lines run similar itineraries such as the popular “Grand Mediterranean” cruise between Barcelona and Venice.  However the subtle differences can make a big difference on your trip!

Sage Travel Tip: Research the ports before deciding on a cruise line! Does one itinerary dock in Monaco and another one  tenders  in Villefranche?  You can see the same sights from either port so you will definitely want to go with the cruise that docks in Monaco!

Naples instead of Sorrento, Dubrovnik instead of Split, Mykonos instead of Santorini, Livorno instead of La Spezia…each of these choices can mean the difference between you enjoying world-class destinations or having to stay on the ship! Choose the best accessible cruise itinerary before deciding on a cruise line.

best cruise line for disabled

There are also certain periods to avoid. If you want a relaxing time on the beaches, avoid the crowds in August.  Visit Venice during high water season, and you could be trapped by extensive flooding ( shown in the photo on the right ) throughout the city!

5) Choose your accessible cruise length  – Cruise lengths vary drastically…from 1 day re-positioning cruises between London and Rotterdam, to 3 month long world-wide cruises. In the Mediterranean and Northern Europe, most of the itineraries are between 7 and 21 days.

The shorter cruises visit a smaller region (for example, Venice, Athens, and some Greek islands), while longer cruises such as the  12 Day Grand Mediterranean Cruise  will have at least one “day at sea” built in and visit cities throughout the Mediterranean (such as Venice, Athens, Ephesus, Istanbul, Mykonos, Naples, Rome, Florence, Monaco, and Barcelona).

6) Decide on a cruise ship size  – Cruise ships come in a variety of sizes. Smaller ships will mean shorter distances to travel onboard. Since the mega-ships are 1200 ft (360 meters) long, this can make a big difference to disabled passengers who can’t walk long distances. The smaller ships like Azamura, Regent, Crystal, and Seabourn are typically more luxurious and consequently cost more.

best cruise line for disabled

7) Pick a cruise line  – Many people do this step first, but you should actually decide on the ports first before picking the cruise line!

While many cruise lines are similar, each tries to sell themselves a little differently. Do you want to choose a cruise that is “Fun for All. All for fun” or a cruise that is “A Signature of Excellence”?

The most popular companies are Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, and Carnival (Carnival has fewer European itineraries). Other popular cruise lines are Celebrity, Princess, and Holland America. Premium lines include Azamura, Seabourn, and Crystal. The best accessible cruise for you will use a cruise line that fits your travel style.

8) Choose a sailing date  – When choosing the  best accessible cruise itinerary , you will need to factor in your accessibility needs and your energy level. “Days at sea” often give some much-needed rest and relaxation.

Look at how many hours are in each port…some itineraries may spend a half-day visiting your favorite port, while other itineraries give you a full day to explore. Our  accessible cruise consultants  can help with choosing your itinerary.

9) Select the cabin type  – Cruise ships offer something for every traveler type. The best accessible cabin type for budget travelers will be interior cabins which are often at a rate 1/3 less than the rate of balcony cabins. At the other end of the spectrum, enormous suites with hot tubs on the balcony will make for a ultra-luxurious vacation!

10) Book your cruise  – Now that you’ve selected your cruise line, your cruise itinerary, your cruise dates, and your cabin type, you’re ready to book the best accessible cruise for you! You can make your reservation directly with the cruise company, use a local travel agent, or book a  discounted accessible cruise and excursion package . When you make the reservation, you’ll need to put down a deposit that is typically refundable before a certain date.

11) Book your pre/post-cruise activities  – As mentioned in our  Top 10 Europe Handicapped Travel Tips , booking your hotel early will allow you to save money and get a centrally-located accessible hotel. If you want to get the best hotels in the summer, you’ll need book 6 months in advance. Other times of year, you should book two or three months in advance. You’ll also want to book the tours and transportation in your destination city, although these are not as urgent.  Accessible travel packages  are available for  Athens ,  Barcelona ,  London ,  Rome , and  Venice .

best cruise line for disabled

12) Book your accessible cruise excursions  – You should have already confirmed that excursions that meet all of your accessibility needs are available in each of your ports.  Now is the time to make the reservations! If you’re traveling during the summer, accessible van transportation could get scarce in some ports. We’ve had to tell clients visiting Rome and Mykonos that all of the accessible vans are already booked.  Make your excursion reservations two months in advance if you want to be safe. 

The  best accessible cruise excursions  use officially-licensed local tourist guides to explain the significance and history of the sights and share their culture with you. We provide accessible cruise excursions in numerous ports including  Athens ,  Barcelona , Florence (Livorno) , the  French Riviera ,  Istanbul ,  Kusadasi & Izmir (Ephesus) ,  Mykonos , Naples & Sorrento ,  Rome (Civitavecchia) ,  Venice , and more.

If any of these essential steps seem too time consuming, our  accessible cruise consultants will plan your cruise for FREE!  

Accessible Cruising in Europe Accessible Cruise Travel vs. Accessible Land Travel Choosing Your Accessible Cruise 13 Tips for Disabled Cruisers in Europe Top 20 Accessible Mediterranean Cruise Itineraries Accessibility Reviews of European Cruise Ports Are Cruise Tenders Accessible? Accessible Mediterranean Cruise Excursions Discount Accessible Cruise & Excursion Packages Cruise Port Accessibility Reviews Athens (Piraeus) Cruise Port Accessibility Barcelona Cruise Port Accessibility Civitavecchia (Rome) Cruise Port Accessibility Istanbul Cruise Port Accessibility Kusadasi Cruise Port Accessibility Livorno (Florence) Cruise Port Accessibility Monaco Cruise Port Accessibility Mykonos Cruise Port Accessibility Naples Cruise Port Accessibility Sorrento Cruise Port Accessibility Venice Cruise Port Accessibility Accessible Mediterranean Cruise Excursions Athens Accessible Cruise Excursions Barcelona Accessible Cruise Excursions Civitavecchia (Rome) Accessible Cruise Excursions Ephesus (Kusadasi & Izmir) Accessible Cruise Excursions French Riviera Accessible Cruise Excursions Istanbul Accessible Cruise Excursions Livorno (Tuscany) Accessible Cruise Excursions Mykonos Accessible Cruise Excursions Naples Accessible Cruise Excursions Venice Accessible Cruise Excursions Accessible Cruising with Sage Traveling  –  Receive our City Accessibility Guides & accessible hotel recommendations for free!

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best cruise line for disabled

"We could go on and on but this was the best trip that we could ask for. Our next trip will definitely be through you..." Read More...

"The Paris Accessibility Guide is the most valuable travel document I have ever encountered…" Read More...

"We had a splendid time in Europe, thanks to all your planning. We remarked again and again how difficult it would have been without your planning! Thanks again for the wonderful trip!" Read More...

"I wanted to let you and Mr. Sage know that we loved our accessible private tour of the Vatican…" Read More...

"Let me thank all you guys at Sage Traveling. I got my scooter in Berlin. It was a brand new Orion…" Read More...

"I am a wheelchair user and have just returned with my husband from a cruise which started in Istanbul and ended in Venice. The information you provided on both these cities was absolutely invaluable…" Read More...

"The hotel you recommended was very centrally located and within convenient walking distance to the Louvre and Notre Dame. We even walked to the Latin quarter and to the boat tour! Thank you again for making our trip a wonderful and manageable experience…" Read More...

"I just wanted to thank you for an excellent experience in Paris. The wheelchair was delivered exactly on time and we’ve been everywhere with it over the last two days…" Read More...

"We will certainly recommend your services to others and use you again in the future…" Read More...

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Dear Danielle

Thank you once again for organising my recent trip to Edinburgh. It was very enjoyable and was helped considerably..." Read More...

Having just returned from Paris and thoroughly enjoyed our River tour and meal on Boat Dinner tour, I feel I..." Read More...

Emily's purse was stolen with our passports and credit cards in Delft so we had to rejuggle our travel plans..." Read More...

A quick note to let you know our tour guide in Barcelona was wonderful. She was there dead on the..." Read More...

We are back home - tired from the long flight but it was a wonderful trip. Weather chilly and..." Read More...

We have now returned from an absolutely amazing trip – largely due to the excellent arrangements made by Sage..." Read More...

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You were so right about the hotel in Bruges! It's just lovely! We love it and Bruges. Thanks for..." Read More...

It was a seamless experience, wheelchair arrived exactly on time, was lightweight and comfortable.  Highly recommended.  

-Mark   Florida, USA

Hi Danielle,

Just a note to thank you for arranging the hire of the wheelchair in Bruges. Without it we would..." Read More...

Hello Danielle :)

Well we are all home safe and sound and really missing Brugge :(

The holiday was excellent, everything that..."

Hello Donna,

I am writing to you to advise that my Parents - Alexander & Irene have just returned from Istanbul..." Read More...

I would like to comment on what an excellent 2 trips we had in Rome. The guide was very knowledgeable..." Read More...

Dear Donna,

Let me thank all you guys at Sage travels. I got my scooter in Berlin. It was a brand..." Read More...

Jennifer, I wanted to thank you! We had an amazing trip. Everything went as planned and we are so grateful..." Read More...

Dear John and Donna:

David and I would like to say a BIG, "Thank You" for all of your help in regards to..." Read More...

Jennifer, Best family vacation EVER! We certainly couldn't have done this without you and Sage Travel'. You were our best..." Read More...

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best cruise line for disabled

5 of the best cruises for accessible travel

  • If you or someone you are traveling with has a disability, the accessibility of a cruise ship can be an important factor when it comes to deciding where to spend your next vacation. 
  • Most cruise ships are at least somewhat accessible but certain cruise lines and ships offer better accommodations than others. 
  • Both Princess Cruises and Disney Cruise Line have ships with designs and features that make ships more accessible. 
  • Visit INSIDER's homepage for more stories.

Insider Today

Although all US-based cruise ships should be somewhat accessible because of the US Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) , some vessels can be more accommodating than others.

Fortunately, many cruise lines and ships are designed to be accessible — offering thoughtful accommodations and specific features that welcome a variety of travelers, including people who use wheelchairs or walkers and those who are deaf and/or blind.

Here are some cruise lines and cruise ships that are great for accessible travel.

Princess Cruises has been recognized by many organizations for its focus on accessibility

Princess Cruises launched its first access program in 1992 . Today, the company has several ships in its fleet that offer accessible amenities for cruisers and it has been recognized for its efforts by The Western Law Center for Disability Rights and National Business & Disability Council.

One of the fleet's newer ships, the Regal Princess   has 38 fully accessible staterooms and a wheelchair-assistance team dedicated to helping passengers with embarkation and debarkation. The ship features accessible public restrooms, accessible seating in all dining and bar venues, and a main theater that's equipped for assistive listening.

The cruise line also has certain gangway mechanisms that make it easier for those who use scooters or wheelchairs to get on and off of the ship at each port. 

Princess Cruises can also provide you with a sign-language interpreter if you request one before setting sail.

Ships like the Majestic Princess, Royal Princess, and Ruby Princess have similar offerings. 

All of Disney Cruise Line's ships offer accommodations for a variety of travelers

Disney Cruise Line offers amenities and accommodations for a variety of individuals.

On the ship, each wide, accessible room features roll-in showers, grab bars in the bathroom and shower, adjustable-height shower heads, and lowered towel bars and closet bars. All accessible rooms also feature emergency call buttons.

The cruise line offers rooms with wide door frames and open bed frames, which makes it easier for people to get in or out of bed from each side.

There is also dedicated seating for those who use wheelchairs at all dining venues, theaters, and on-deck activities.

Individuals can also request assistive listening systems, large-print communication , scripts to some of the onboard shows, and a sign-language interpreter.

Some of Disney Cruise Line's trips go to Disney's private island Castaway Cay and many cruisers have noted that the island is also quite accessible. It has paved paths to the beach and shops and most of the island is accessible for those who use wheelchairs or walkers.

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The beach also has sand wheelchairs to help individuals get around.

The Carnival Horizon ship has three types of accessible cabins for cruisers of different abilities 

Carnival Horizon , a brand-new ship that launched in 2018, is a popular pick for travelers with disabilities. The vessel has 65 accessible staterooms with three different cabin types to choose from.

Passengers with mobility-related issues can opt for fully accessible cabins with access to the bed from both sides, fully accessible cabins with single-side bed access, or even an ambulatory-accessible cabin that works for people who don't need the space for a wheelchair or scooter but who may benefit from other accessibility features, like grab bars.

The ship also has a pool lift and multiple accessible public restrooms and restaurants. 

A Carnival representative also told INSIDER that other Carnival Vista-class ships — counting the Carnival Vista, launched in 2016, and the Carnival Panorama, a new ship launching at the end of this year — have the same accessibility accommodations and features.

Read More : 5 of the best airlines for accessible travel

Celebrity Cruises has accessible rooms for people with physical disabilities 

If requested, the cruise line will arrange for your accessible transportation from the airport to the pier at no extra cost. In addition, staff members provide boarding and departure assistance for anyone who requests it. 

Celebrity Cruises have accessible rooms that are designed with wide door frames, lowered sinks and vanities, accessible balconies, roll-in showers with a fold-down shower bench, and bathroom grab bars. 

In addition to booking accessible rooms, individuals can request vision-related and hearing-related accommodations. The ship also offers customized excursions for people of all abilities to partake in at certain ports. 

In addition to accessibility for people with disabilities, each Celebrity ship boasts an autism-friendly environment — i n 2015, Celebrity was awarded a silver-level "Autism Friendly" certification from Autism on the Seas, an organization that offers advice to parents of children with autism and other developmental disabilities.

According to the cruise line's website, among other accommodations, the ships offer sensory-friendly films that are screened at a low-lit, low-volume environment and a toy-lending program for individuals who have autism.

Guests who have autism and their travel group are also able to expedite their check-in process and have priority when boarding or departing the ship. 

Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas ship has dozens of accessible staterooms available for cruisers

Royal Caribbean has a reputation for its accessible ships that feature spacious corridors and public restrooms with gradual ramp entrances . The company also has entire teams dedicated to making its cruises accessible for guests.

Royal Caribbean's largest vessel, Symphony of the Seas , is no exception — it offers 46 accessible cabins, some of which have accessible balconies. The rooms, which are wider by design, offer roll-in showers, grab bars, and a lowered sink and vanity. The rooms also have lowered closet rods, a fold-down shower bench, and a handheld shower bar.

Each deck can be accessed by elevator and the public dining areas and entertainment venues have accessible seating. There are also lifts located at the main pool and whirlpool and the casino features some lowered playing tables to better accommodate those who use wheelchairs. 

For those who request it in advance, sign-language-interpreting services are also available on cruises that depart from or return to the US and Canada.

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best cruise line for disabled

While we don't require information about the extent of your disability, the more information you can share with us, the better we are able to assist you. For your convenience, please see the link below for the “List of Equipment and Services Requiring Advanced Notice”. Please note we require advance notice for some requests.

  • - 60 days for sign language interpreting
  • - 30 days for special needs equipment or services
  • - 72 hours if traveling with a group of passengers with disability

* Please know, if we don’t receive enough advance notice, we will do our best to provide the requested equipment and/or services, but they will not be guaranteed.



Guests with medical conditions that require the use of dialysis or oxygen should contact us to discuss bringing the appropriate equipment onboard.

Guests requiring continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis are welcome onboard. Guests should bring onboard or arrange to have delivered all necessary supplies and equipment needed to perform the dialysis. Please have your supplier contact our Access Department to request clearance for port delivery.

We are unable to assist or administer hemo-dialysis treatments. However, guests using self-administered hemo-dialysis equipment are welcome to sail under certain requirements; contact our Access Department for details. Otherwise, guests requiring physician assisted dialysis may make arrangements by contacting Dialysis at Sea at 1-800-544-7604. Dialysis at Sea specializes in the treatment of hemo-dialysis care while onboard on select Royal Caribbean sailings along with trained doctors and nurses and provides dialysis equipment and supplies.

All types of oxygen are permitted onboard. Please notify us as to quantity, type and delivery schedule. Each ship has a different storage policy; however, you will be able to keep some or all of your cylinders in the stateroom.


Royal Caribbean welcomes children with disabilities, especially in our fun-filled Adventure Ocean program. Upon request, we will do our best to provide you with your requested accommodations. Some of these accommodations can include:

  • - Adventure Ocean grouping by ability (rather than age)
  • - Adventure Ocean toilet-trained policy exception
  • - Pagers for parents of children in Adventure Ocean program
  • - Babysitting Services

Our Youth staff are required to have a four year University degree or international equivalent in education, recreation or a related field. They also have at least three to five years qualified experience in working with children ages six months to 17 years.

In addition, all Youth staff have received autism awareness training developed by Autism on the Seas. This training covers characteristics of autism and developmental disabilities, correct person-first language and terms, and skills to initiate a conversation with a parent about his or her child’s needs.

Royal Caribbean International cannot accept guests who will be more than 23 weeks pregnant at any time during the cruise or CruiseTour. Guests will be required to fill out a Public Health Questionnaire prior to arrival or at the pier attesting that they are not more than 23 weeks pregnant.


Upon request, every effort will be made to provide reasonable accommodations that will meet the needs of guests with cognitive, intellectual and development disabilities such as autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and Alzheimer's disease. Some of these accommodations can include: early boarding, boarding & departure assistance, early disembarkation and special dietary needs. Please contact our Access Department.


If you have another type of medical condition that has not been mentioned, please inquire about policies and procedures that may affect your cruise. To customize your accommodations to meet your specific needs, please complete the Guest Special Needs Form .


Call our Access Department at (866) 592-7225,  or send an e-mail to [email protected], or have your local travel agent or International Representative contact us. Our fax number is (954) 628-9622.

Feel free to ask for a Complaint Resolution Official (CRO). Our CROs have been trained and are aware of applicable U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) disability regulations as well as our policies and procedures regarding guests with disabilities. Our CROs are available at all U.S ports of departure and ships.

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Best 5 Cruise Lines For Disabled And Elderly Travelers

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Are you an elderly or disabled traveler looking for the best cruise line to use? Look no further; this article has got you covered!

Best Cruise Lines For Disabled And Elderly Travelers

We’ll break down the top five cruise lines that are known for offering excellent services and accommodations to their disabled and elderly passengers.

Table of Contents

Our Top Picks Cruise Lines For Disabled And Elderly Travelers

From Norwegian Cruise Line to Disney Cruise Line, we’ve got all the details on which cruise line is perfect for your needs.

So let’s get started – grab a cup of coffee and read on for everything you need to know about these fantastic cruise lines!

1. Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line is a great choice for elderly and disabled travelers , as it offers accessible amenities and activities that ensure everyone feels included. All ships have wheelchair accessibility, with elevators, ramps, and wide corridors to make movement comfortable. Adaptive equipment such as wheelchairs are also available on the ship for those in need.

Norwegian Cruise Line also goes beyond the basics by providing special services like onboard medical personnel and trained staff to help those with mobility issues during their stay. The cruise line has developed an array of programs formatted specifically for elderly and disabled passengers, such as exercise classes designed to keep seniors active while cruising.

In addition to this, Norwegian Cruise Line offers a variety of entertainment options so everyone can enjoy the experience regardless of physical limitations.

2. Royal Caribbean

If you’re looking for a cruise line that offers accessible cabins, a variety of activities, and special assistance programs, then Royal Caribbean is the perfect choice for you.

With accessible cabins designed to meet your needs, as well as activities such as shows and musicals, there’s something for everyone.

Plus, they offer special assistance programs to help make sure you get the most out of your cruise experience .

Accessible Cabins

Cruising can be a great way for disabled and elderly travelers to access the world, and many cruise lines offer accessible cabins to make their journey comfortable. Royal Caribbean is no exception; they provide adaptive equipment, wheelchair ramps, and other accommodations in all of their ships.

The cabins are specifically designed with mobility impairments in mind, featuring wide doorways that accommodate wheelchairs as well as grab bars for extra support when getting around the space. The bathrooms come equipped with roll-in showers or bathtubs and raised toilet seats that are both secure and user-friendly. In addition, additional amenities such as electric beds are available upon request for those who require them.

Royal Caribbean also offers an array of services to ensure the comfort of their passengers with disabilities or age-related needs. All crew members are trained in disability awareness and sensitivity so that they can prioritize safety first while providing personalized assistance to each passenger. Furthermore, all ships have medical professionals on board in case there is an emergency or medical concern during the voyage.

With these measures taken into account, disabled and elderly travelers can rest assured knowing that they will have a safe and enjoyable experience onboard any Royal Caribbean ship!

Variety of Activities

On board a Royal Caribbean ship, you can take part in a variety of activities that cater to both young and old. There’s something for everyone, from adaptive sports such as wheelchair basketball or hand-cycling to on-shore excursions that are accessible for all ages.

Young travelers can enjoy mini-golf, ice skating, and rock climbing. Meanwhile, older travelers can participate in bingo tournaments, trivia nights, and dancing lessons.

Special Assistance Programs

Royal Caribbean offers special assistance programs to ensure that all passengers can enjoy their cruise, regardless of their age or physical ability. The cruise line provides adaptive equipment and accessible routes for those with limited mobility, allowing them to participate in fun activities with everyone else.

They also have a team of experienced professionals who offer specialized help and guidance as needed. This includes providing extra support during embarkation/disembarkation processes, as well as onboard activities and shore excursions.

With these services, disabled and elderly travelers can rest assured that they’re in good hands while on board the ship.

3. Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line is an excellent choice for disabled and elderly travelers looking for a stress-free cruise experience. Carnival provides several special assistance programs to make the on-board and shore experiences that much more enjoyable. These include:

  • Adaptive dining, which allows passengers to pre-order meals tailored to their specific needs or dietary restrictions;
  • Accessible shore excursions, designed so that everyone can explore all of the ports of call;
  • Onboard medical staff is available at any time during the cruise should a passenger need assistance;
  • Wheelchair rentals and complimentary use of scooters in order to ensure accessibility throughout the ship.

Moreover, Carnival also provides specially trained staff members who are dedicated to assisting disabled and elderly passengers with whatever they require, from wheelchair access to helping navigate around the ship. With this level of service and commitment to making sure all guests have a great vacation experience, it’s no wonder Carnival Cruise Line is such a popular option for those with disabilities or special needs!

4. Holland America Line

Holland America Line is a great cruise line for disabled and elderly travelers. All of their cabins and suites are wheelchair accessible, so you can move around with ease.

Plus, there’s a wonderful variety of dining options to choose from as well as onboard activities that everyone can enjoy. So whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway or an action-packed adventure, Holland America Line has something for you!

Accessible Cabins and Suites

Cruise lines offer accessible cabins and suites that make it easy for disabled and elderly travelers to enjoy a worry-free voyage.

Holland America Line provides passengers with personalized care and on board accessibility, ensuring every aspect of their journey is enjoyable.

The cruise line offers specially designed accessible cabins with features such as wider entryways, handrails, roll-in showers, lever handles, Braille signage and more – tailored to meet the unique needs of each guest.

Additionally, all public areas are wheelchair friendly allowing elderly or disabled guests to take part in activities like shopping, dining or visiting the spa.

Every cabin also comes with a personal butler service who can provide extra assistance if needed during their stay.

With Holland America Line’s accessible cabins and suites, you can rest assured that your travel needs will be taken into account at every turn.

Variety of Dining Options

Now that you know which cruise lines offer accessible cabins and suites, it’s important to consider what dining options are available onboard.

Most major cruise lines have a wide variety of options so that all passengers, including those with disabilities or special dietary needs, can find something delicious to eat. Onboard chefs prepare meals inspired by international flavors as well as classic favorites.

Here is a helpful summary of some popular cruise line’s dining experiences:

As you can see, the majority of cruise lines provide a variety of delectable dining options for disabled and elderly travelers with dietary restrictions.

Whether you’re in search of an exotic culinary experience or comfort foods made from scratch, there are plenty of onboard restaurants and buffets sure to satisfy your taste buds!

Onboard Activities

Experience a wide array of onboard activities and entertainment no matter which cruise line you choose! Adaptive sports, accessible excursions, and even live performances are available on the best cruise lines for disabled and elderly travelers.

Cruise ships offer an incredible variety of entertainment, including something for everyone’s taste. Enjoy a game night with your friends or family in one of the many lounges available throughout the ship. Take part in trivia nights or watch one of the featured shows and concerts offered by some of today’s top artists.

Cruise lines also provide adaptive sports such as golfing, bowling, tennis, swimming, basketball and more! Excursions are offered to explore the destinations you’ll be visiting; these can be adapted to fit any special needs that may arise while onboard.

There are plenty of opportunities to have fun during your next cruise!

5. Disney Cruise Line

Are you considering taking a cruise? Disney Cruise Line could be the perfect choice for you if you’re looking for a vacation that caters to disabled and elderly travelers.

Disney Cruise Line offers Assisted Listening Devices, accommodations for wheelchair users, and specialized services that make it an ideal option.

With its attention to detail and dedication to ensuring every guest has a great experience, Disney Cruise Line should be on your shortlist of cruise lines.

Assisted Listening Devices

Cruise lines are providing assistive listening devices to ensure that elderly and disabled passengers can experience the show or activities on board without any difficulty.

Disney Cruise Line is leading the way in accessible technology for all types of travelers. They offer extended coverage throughout their ships, with access to amplified sound at every performance venue, theater, movie room, and pool deck.

Furthermore, they provide equipment such as:

  • Hearing loops that allow direct connection from a microphone to a hearing aid user’s hearing device;
  • Assisted listening systems that provide audio-amplified signals directly into headphones;
  • Portable telecommunication devices for those who require sign language interpreters; and
  • Handheld closed captioning systems for movies and performances which display text on receivers so deaf or hard-of-hearing guests can follow along easily.

Disney Cruise Line invests in these technologies so everyone can enjoy their sailing experiences, no matter what disability they may have.

Accommodations for Wheelchair Users

Now that you know about the assisted listening devices available on cruise lines, it’s time to focus on the accommodations for wheelchair users.

Cruise lines have become increasingly adaptive with their equipment and accessible routes in recent years, making them a great option for elderly travelers in wheelchairs. Here is a table outlining some of the best cruise lines for disabled and elderly travelers:

Cruise lines such as Carnival Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, and Norwegian Cruise Lines are all well equipped with adaptive equipment including elevators and wheelchair lifts as well as handicap restrooms.

They also provide accessible routes with braille labels, ramps, wide doors to allow easy entry/exit from ship areas, pathways around ship areas with clear signage, and accessible pools or sun decks. These features make these cruise lines perfect for anyone looking to safely travel while using a wheelchair!

Specialized Services

You deserve a smooth, stress-free journey and cruise lines are offering specialized services to make that happen.

Many popular cruise lines now offer wheelchair rentals for disabled and elderly travelers, allowing them to move about the ship with ease. Additionally, medical staff is available on board should any health issues arise during the voyage.

Cruise lines are also providing greater access to activities and entertainment options such as special classes tailored for disabled or elderly passengers. A number of cruise ships have even equipped their vessels with lifts in order to make it easier for those in wheelchairs to enjoy all of the available amenities.

This helps ensure that everyone can participate in the same experiences during their time onboard.

Overall, cruising is a great way for disabled and elderly travelers to experience the world. Cruise lines like Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, and Disney Cruise Line are all great options.

These cruise lines offer special accessibility features and amazing customer service. Don’t let your physical limitations stop you from experiencing all that life has to offer!

There’s a cruise line perfect for you no matter what type of disability or age you have. So don’t wait any longer—book your next adventure today!


H i, my name is Eddie, I am a professional trainer specializing in the elderly population and I’m also a website designer. I love training in the gym, going to the beach, traveling, and having good food. I combined my love for sport and website designing to make “ DisabilitEase ” whose purpose is to help elderly and disabled people live a more full and active life, have more fun, and enjoy their unique journey despite any disability.

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Best Cruises for People With Disabilities

Best Cruises for People With Disabilities

Cruises that consider accessibility allow people with functional needs (commonly referred to as special needs), mobility disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and more to enjoy the ship’s games, shows, dining and activities. Many cruise lines are committed to meeting the needs of their guests with accessibility concerns.

Explore the accessibility resources offered by each cruise line, and start planning your next cruise ship vacation.

What to Look for in an Accessible Cruise

Many cruises have accessibility services to ensure guests with disabilities have a memorable vacation. Let your cruise line know about accessibility needs in advance, so they can prepare everything for you before boarding.

Accessible cruises can offer accommodations for various disabilities, including:

  • Mobility:  Handicap-accessible cruises have wheelchairs for rent, or you can bring your own. People who use wheelchairs can sit in designated areas at shows and use the pool lift to swim.
  • Visual:  Guests with visual impairment can use Braille signs to navigate the ship, large-print menus at dining facilities, and visual or tactile alert systems for door knocking, alarm clocks and more.
  • Hearing:  Cruises accommodate guests with hearing impairment by providing an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter, assistive listening devices and televisions with closed captions.
  • ASD:  Many cruise lines partner with  Autism on the Seas  to offer cruises designed for guests with ASD. Accommodations can include staff trained in autism awareness, toy lending programs, fidget toys and more.

Top Eight Accessible Cruises for People With Disabilities

Here are the best cruises for people with disabilities.

1. MSC Seaside

MSC Cruises takes travelers to stunning international destinations, like the Mediterranean, Caribbean and the Bahamas.  MSC Seaside  offers 1-day to 23-day excursions where guests can enjoy the region’s natural beauty and ship’s accommodations.

MSC Seaside offers  services for guests with special needs . This ship has one of the highest numbers of accessible cabins among cruise ships — 51 in total. These rooms are designed for guests with disabilities, with features such as:

  • Wide doorways with no sills or lips
  • Fold-down shower benches
  • Accessible balconies
  • Lower closet rods

Travelers with visual impairment can use Braille door plates, handrail markings and directional signs. ASL interpreters are available to assist guests with hearing impairment for cruises departing and ending in a United States port. Amenities like theaters and restaurants are accessible for guests who use wheelchairs.

2. Norwegian Sky

Norwegian Cruise Line cruises depart from the United States and stop at must-see international destinations like the Bahamas, Greece, Bermuda or Grand Stirrup Cay, the cruise line’s private island. These 3-day to 11-day cruises allow you and your family to enjoy the sun and sand while staying on a handicap-accessible cruise ship like  Norwegian Sky .

Norwegian is  committed to accommodating guests with disabilities . Adults or children who need a mobility aid can rent one through Norwegian’s authorized vendor or bring their own wheelchair that meets certain specifications. Guests who use a wheelchair can use the pool lift to swim. You can also stay in an accessible stateroom that features:

  • Large entryways
  • A high-rise toilet
  • Handrails in the bathroom and shower
  • A roll-in shower with a bench

3. Holland America’s Koningsdam

Holland America Line offers one-of-a-kind cruises with domestic and international ports. Enjoy a 1-day to 35-day cruise along California’s coast, around the Hawaiian Islands, on the west coast of Canada, or to other beautiful destinations.

Holland America’s Koningsdam  is one of the cruise line’s newer vessels with  advanced accessibility features and technology . The ship has a wide selection of listening devices for guests with hearing impairment. Guests with visual impairment can use large-print or Braille menus and take a guided tour during embarkation.

Holland America's Koningsdam

This ship has 27 fully accessible staterooms that have:

  • Wide, no-sill doorways
  • Grab bars in the bathroom
  • Roll-in showers, transfer showers or accessible bathtubs
  • Fold-down benches

4. Celebrity Reflection

Celebrity Cruises has a wide selection of vacation destinations, including Fort Lauderdale, the Bahamas, Cozumel and Perfect Day at CocoCay, an exclusive private island.

Celebrity Cruises is committed to making its  cruise ships and shore excursions accessible . These services include transportation between the airport and pier, assistance at the pier and mobility assistance throughout the ship.

Celebrity Reflection  is the cruise line’s largest vessel and offers 30 accessible staterooms. Some accessible cabins are suites for families. Features of accessible cabins include:

  • Automatic or extra-wide doors without sills
  • Lowered sinks and closet rods
  • Roll-in showers with a handheld showerhead and fold-down bench

Throughout the ship, guests with disabilities can take advantage of automatic doors, wide gangways, Braille signage, assistive listening systems, pool lifts and wheelchair seating areas.

5. Carnival Horizon

Carnival is known for their exciting cruise vacations that offer fun for the family. The  Carnival Horizon  takes guests on 4-day to 14-day excursions. The cruise starts and ends in Miami and tours the Western Caribbean and Southern Caribbean. Along the way, you’ll stop at Grand Cayman, Aruba, Montego Bay, Cozumel and other tropical destinations.

Carnival offers  facilities and services for guests with disabilities  to make the cruise fun and memorable. Individuals who use wheelchairs have designated seating areas in dining areas and the main theater. ASL interpreting services are available on select cruises for guests with hearing impairment.

Carnival Horizon has 65 accessible staterooms with:

  • Beds approachable from both sides or one side
  • 32-inch wide doors with no doorsill
  • Roll-in showers with grab bars and a fold-down bench

6. Princess Cruises Regal Princess

Princess Cruises takes guests to exciting destinations, like the Western Caribbean, Honduras, Cozumel, Belize and more. Some cruises stop at Princess Cays, the cruise line’s private beach in the Bahamas. This island has ramps to make the amenities accessible for guests who use wheelchairs.

Princess Cruises has a long history of accommodating individuals with special needs. They launched an accessibility program in 1992 and were the first cruise line to have an access compliance manager to oversee accessibility efforts.

Their ship  Regal Princess  has 38 accessible staterooms with:

  • Roll-in showers with grab bars
  • Shower stools and toilet risers available upon request
  • Lowered closet rods
  • Wide doors without sills

Elsewhere on the ship is wheelchair seating in dining areas and theaters, assistive listening systems, Braille cabin directories and more. ASL interpreters are available for guests with hearing impairment.

7. Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas

The Royal Caribbean offers accessible cruises to the Bahamas on the  Mariner of the Seas . These 3-day to 14-day excursions take guests to Nassau, Key West and Cozumel, where they can enjoy the beaches and sunshine.

Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas has  resources for individuals with disabilities . The ship offers accessible staterooms with features like:

  • 32-inch wide doors
  • A 5-foot turning radius
  • Roll-in showers with benches
  • Lowered sinks, vanities and closet rods

Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas hosts an  Adventure Ocean program , which offers immersive experiences for children. Royal Caribbean can provide accommodations so children with disabilities can participate.

8. Disney Fantasy

Disney offers a variety of magical and memorable cruises for families, with ports of call in the Eastern Caribbean and Western Caribbean. Many Disney cruises going to the Caribbean stop at the private island Castaway Cay, which has paved paths and sand wheelchairs.

A cruise on  Disney Fantasy  is an accessible vacation option with  various accessibility services  to meet the needs of travelers with disabilities. Since Disney cruises are family-focused, Disney Fantasy is a great option if you have a child with functional needs. Disney Fantasy offers various activities for children with disabilities, like themed sea parties, character events, shows and more.

The 25 accessible rooms on Disney Fantasy allow individuals who use wheelchairs to navigate easily, with features like:

  • Lowered, ramped doorways
  • Roll-in showers
  • Lowered rods in the bathroom and closet
  • Open bed frames

Get Ready to Cruise With Products From Enabling Devices

Handicap-accessible cruises are a fantastic way for children and adults with disabilities to experience the joy of a cruise ship vacation. Enabling Devices has tools, toys and assistive technology to help your family member with a disability fully participate in the world. Some products to bring on your cruise include:

  • Sensory products  that engage the senses to stimulate or calm the user.
  • Mounting systems  to hold items for people who use a wheelchair or have mobility needs.
  • Switch-adapted toys and games  designed for children with functional needs.

Shop our online store  today and  contact our team  to learn more!

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Curb Free with Cory Lee: A Wheelchair Travel Blog - Sharing the world from a wheelchair user's perspective

10 Wheelchair Accessible Cruises to Consider for Your Next Vacation

best cruise line for disabled

cruising with kids Taking a cruise is a very popular vacation option for wheelchair accessibility and for those with disabilities because everything is available within the confines of the ship. Wheelchair accessible cruises and disabled cruises are floating vacations with everything from pools and fine dining to relaxation and spacious living quarters. There’s no need to worry about transportation or mobility once you’re on the ship, as it’s all included and ready for you to explore.

The following 10 wheelchair accessible and disabled cruises cover 5 different destinations: Alaska, the Caribbean, Hawaii, the Bahamas, and Scandiavia or Northern Europe, with 5 different cruise lines. This gives you a wide range of destinations and experiences to choose from. For each of the handicap cruises mentioned in this article , there are disabled cabins on cruise ships and they would be perfect for any wheelchair user or senior with disabilities. Almost all cruises are handicap accessible cruises due to the staterooms and accommodations.

When planning a cruise, whether it’s one that’s been recommended below or to any destination you choose, it’s important to remember to contact the cruise line with any questions. Many cruise ships will dock at each destination, but not every port of call is wheelchair accessible. Speaking with the cruise line about excursions and wheelchair accessibility is the best way to ensure your wheelchair cruise suits your needs.

The Best Wheelchair Accessible Cruises and Disabled Cruises to Consider

1: Alaskan Cruise with Holland America

Alaska is a great destination for disabled cruises because you can see so much from the ship itself and enjoy the destination without having to disembark sometimes. Many of the ports are also docked, which makes it easy to go explore each city, see a show, and do some shopping, along with take in the sights and experiences.  Ports of call  on these cruises include Ketchikan, Juneau , Skagway, and Glacier Bay.

One of the best ways to take a cruise to Alaska in terms of wheelchair accessibility is with  Holland America . There are a variety of Alaskan wheelchair accessible cruises available through this cruise line. The best time to see Alaska is from April to September, due to the weather and these cruises can be scheduled quickly if you’re booking in that window.

Half of the Holland America cruise ships travel to and from Alaska, but  one of the most wheelchair and handicap accessible ships is Nieuw Amsterdam . This ship provides 7 day cruises in Alaska, including the Glacier Discovery Northbound, Glacier Discovery Southbound, and Alaskan Inside Passage. Cruises depart from Vancouver, BC, Canada and Whittier, Alaska.

Holland America is excellent in terms of accessibility from check in to check out. There’s a specific wheelchair and special assistance check in, the staterooms are very accessible and spacious, and there are accessible restrooms on the most popular levels so you don’t have to waste vacation time traveling back to your room.

2: Alaskan Cruise with Carnival

Another great Alaska option is taking a cruise with Carnival. There are  three different Carnival cruise ships that offer an Alaska trip : the Carnival Miracle with 10 day or 11 day cruises leaving from San Francisco, California, the Carnival Spirit with a 7 day or 8 day cruise leaving from Seattle, Washington, and the Carnival Legend with a 9 day cruise leaving from Vancouver, BC, Canada. The Alaska cruises typically run from April to September, as this is the best weather window for visiting Alaska.

The ports of call depend on how long your cruise is, but typically most Alaska cruises with Carnival visit several of the same destinations. The most popular destinations with wheelchair accessible excursions include: Skagway, Ketchikan , and Icy Strait Point. There’s also plenty to do in Juneau and Victoria. Most wheelchair and handicap accessible excursions include a tour, from  a train ride at White Pass Summit  to a village tour in Ketchikan and a whale cruise at Icy Strait Point.

A unique feature of the Carnival Alaska cruises is the day of  Cruising the Tracy Arm Fjord . This is an on ship experience because everyone stays aboard the ship and the ship passes through a narrow waterway surrounded by glaciers on both sides.

Carnival offers a variety of accessibility accommodations, including wheelchair accessible staterooms. There are four different types of accessible staterooms available and  Carnival uses a Mobility Questionaire  to help assign the appropriate room to guests requiring accommodations.

 wheelchair accessible cruises

3: Caribbean Cruise with Carnival

Carnival is also a great cruise line for traveling to the Caribbean. This cruise line offers trips to the  West, East, and Southern Caribbean  departing from multiple locations along the east coast including Florida, Alabama, Texas, Virginia, New York, South Carolina, and Maryland. Cruises can last anywhere from 4 days to 14 days, which makes it easy to enjoy the trip no matter the length of your vacation. The shorter trips, 4 to 7 days, typically cover the West and East, while the longer trips, 14 days, visit the south.

The 4 to 5 day cruises occur on the Carnival Sensation and the Carnival Fantasy. These trips have  two ports of call ,  Key West  and  Cozumel  where you can take tours to explore the port and maybe even spend some time at the beach. A 6 day cruise typically has 3 stops, but these ports are all different from the shorter cruises, with ports at Nassau, Amber Cove, Grand Turk, and Half Moon Cay, depending on the cruise. Each port has plenty to explore from shopping and dining to beaches, tours, and other excursions. The Carnival Magic, Breeze, and Fascination all run 6 day cruises.

Carnival cruises are great options for anyone looking to take their first cruise. It’s a common cruise line and can be a solid opportunity for a wheelchair cruise, a cruise for seniors with disabilities, or even cruising with kids , as Carnival has a kid’s club and many activities are geared toward children. Carnival offers 4 different accessible staterooms on most of their cruise ships and works with guests to ensure their stateroom suits their needs.

4: Caribbean Cruise with Disney

Disney is a popular cruise line and their cruises to the Caribbean are more popular due to the Disney island stop, Castaway Cay. Disney cruises are great for families and because of this target audience, they’re also great in terms of wheelchair and handicap accessibility. When looking for a cruise for wheelchair users, consider a Disney cruise. While they are typically more expensive, they may also offer more accessible excursions with a family focused atmosphere.

Disney cruises visit Western, Eastern, and Southern Caribbean, depending on which trip you book.  4 night cruises  are aboard the Disney Wonder and depart from Galveston, Texas or New Orleans, Louisiana. These short cruises have one port of call, Cozumel, Mexico , which is great for exploring the beach. There’s also 2 days at sea with plenty to do, as Disney hosts magnificent days at sea parties with unique themes. The ideal time of year to take a Disney cruise to the Caribbean is December to May, outside of hurricane season.

7 night cruises  are aboard the Disney Fantasy and depart from Florida, Texas, or Lousisana. Some of these cruises even stop at Castaway Cay twice, which is perfect for getting in beach time and to explore each destination.  Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island, is very handicap accessible  with wide, paved walking paths, sand wheelchairs, an accessible tram, and accessible bathrooms.

Disney cruises are very accessible , from spacious staterooms to accessible bathrooms. Disney provides a list of amenities in each accessible stateroom, as well as a Special Services department to ensure your cruise fulfills all your accessibility needs. A Disney cruise is a great option for all ages, as each cruise provides plenty of on board entertainment and activity along with beautiful ports of call.

5: Hawaiian Cruise with Disney

Another great destination with  Disney Cruises is Hawaii . You get all the luxury and accessibility of the  staterooms , the wonderful on board entertainment and events, along with a beautiful destination and beachy ports of call. Hawaii cruises with Disney tend to be longer trips, 9 and 10 nights, and have a limited range of ports to depart from.

There is limited availability on these cruises as well, with the  Disney Wonder  leaving from Vancouver, BC, Canada. Each cruise has a port of call at three or four Hawaiian islands, making sure your whole trip is spent in paradise. The best time to take a Hawaii cruise is during good weather, to avoid storms, ideally April to September.

A  10 day cruise to Hawaii with Disney  includes 5 days at sea and 5 destinations, all of which are different Hawaiian islands. A cruise of this length gives you plenty of time onboard to enjoy the shows, dining experiences, character meet and greets, and onboard entertainment, while also getting to visit several Hawaiian destinations to visit the beach, tour the towns, take pictures, and enjoy the atmosphere.

6: Hawaiian Cruise with Norwegian

A unique cruising experience is visiting Hawaii with  Norwegian Cruise Line . This line offers long, 14 day cruises starting or ending in Hawaii, along with 7 day Hawaii round trip cruises. This is a unique cruise experience in that you start your cruise in Hawaii and can end in Tahiti or take the ship all the way to Vancouver, depending on your preference. Many cruises are round trip from one specific port, but Norwegian offers a chance to explore even more on one cruise.

The  7 day round trip cruise  starts and ends on the island of Hawaii with the ship Pride of America. Ports include popular Hawaiian islands such as Kahului, Hilo, and Kona, and is one of the most well-known and popular cruise options to this destination. Norwegian runs this cruse year-round, which makes it easy to book for whenever you’re ready to take a vacation.

The  11 day cruise  starts in Hawaii and ends in Vancouver, which is an amazing way to end a vacation. You can start in Hawaii for a few days, enjoy the island, then island hop your way home to Vancouver and fly from there. Port activities include visiting the beaches, shopping, and spending time at museums, educational centers, and national parks. There’s something for everyone on these trips for all ages and mobility restrictions.

Norwegian Cruise Line believes that cruising should be enjoyed by everyone, which is why they strive to provide the best service for guests with disabilities, handicaps, mobility restrictions, and wheelchair users. Norwegian has  Special Assistance Coordinators  to help ensure your cruise fulfills your needs, from a specific stateroom to any other accommodations.

 wheelchair accessible cruises

7: Bahamas Cruise with Norwegian

Norwegian Cruise Line also offers wonderful cruises for wheelchair users to a variety of destinations, including the Bahamas. Just like with Hawaii,  Norwegian offers  some unique experiences on their cruises to the Bahamas, including one cruise that leaves New York City, stops in Florida for some theme park fun, and then cruises to the Bahamas for fun, sun, and beachy afternoons. They offer 3 day, 4 day, or 5 day cruises from Florida, or a 10 day or 11 day cruise from NYC. The ships that travel this route include the Norweigan Sky, Norweigan Sun, and Norweigan Escape.

Most of these  cruises are round-trip , which makes it easy to arrive at your port, board the ship, and enjoy the trip. Ports of call include Grand Bahama Island, Grand Stirrup Cay, and Nassau on the shorter trips, and additional stops in Orlando and Bermuda for the 11 day cruise. This is a great cruise to visit the beaches, enjoy the warm weather, and to escape daily life for a few days. The best time to travel to the Bahamas is after November and before May, to have the best weather.

Norwegian wants everyone to enjoy their stay and works to provide the best staterooms and service to accommodate the needs of every guest. They have wheelchair accessible staterooms and events for everyone both onboard and at each port as an excursion.  Contact Norwegian Cruise Line  for specifics.

 disabled cruises, wheelchair accessible cruises

8: Bahamas Cruise with Royal Caribbean

Similar to traveling to the Bahamas with Norwegian, Royal Caribbean cruises leave from Florida, Texas, and other eastern coastal states of the United States to explore Nassau, Key West, and Cozumel. This is the perfect cruise for wheelchair users, people with disabilities, and seniors with disabilities as it gives everyone a chance to enjoy the warm weather and get a chance to enjoy beyond their everyday.

Royal Caribbean offers cruises  in a range of lengths, from 3 nights to 4 and 5 nights, along with a week long 7 day to 14 days and beyond. Ships that travel to the Bahamas include the Mariner of the Seas, Empress of the Seas, and Independence of the Seas. All ships offer accessible staterooms and excursions. Reservations require a  Guest with Special Needs Form  to ensure you are assigned the proper stateroom. 

Nassau  is a docked port, which means it will be the most wheelchair accessible and allows everyone a chance to get off the ship and explore. There’s beautiful beaches, boat rides, tours, and plenty of shopping. This is a great place for a short cruise over a weekend or a longer cruise to enjoy more of the Bahamas. 

9: Scandinavia with Royal Caribbean

On  Royal Caribbean, their ship Jewel of the Seas  takes guests to Scandinavia and Russia over 7, 8, or 10 days. This ship departs from Copenhagen, Denmark or Stockholm, Sweden depending on the trip. These trips are part of the Baltic Cruises this cruise line offers. The best time to visit Scandinavia and Northern Europe is from April to August for the best weather window.

One of the benefits of traveling with Royal Caribbean is that the itinerary tells you if your port will be docked or tendered. Docked is the best option for those with disabilities, mobility limitations, and wheelchair accessibility. Most of the ports of call on the Baltic Cruises are docked, with the rare exception depending on your cruise.

Popular ports of call include Tallinn, Estonia , St. Petersburg, Russia , and Helsinki, Finland . Longer cruises have a few more ports of call including Visby, Sweden. Each location on any of the  three cruises  include amazing local dining, comprehensive tours and museums to take in the local history, and plenty of shopping for gifts, souvenirs and pictures to document your trip.

Royal Caribbean fully supports that travel should be accessible for all and works to provide accessible staterooms and excursions to all their guests. Their website includes a  request form for accessible excursions and a list of tendered ports , which are not typically wheelchair accessible. Accessible staterooms can be requested with a  Guest Special Needs Form .

10: Scandinavian Cruise with Holland America

A Scandinavian cruise is commonly referred to as a  Northern Europe cruise  and visits locations such as Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. In addition to cruising with Royal Caribbean, you can also cruise with Holland America, which is known as one of the most accessible cruise lines, as we saw with cruising to Alaska. The same standard is upheld with cruising to Scandinavia.  Holland America  offers 7 day, 10 day, 14 day, and 21 day cruises that explore the waterways of Sweden, Norway, and the Baltic sea. Ships available for these trips include Ship Nieuw Statendam and Ship Rotterdam.

Many of these excursions are taking water and motor tours of the surrounding areas, like driving through one of Norway’s longest tunnels, visiting farm villages, sampling local coffee and treats, and exploring the steep roads with hairpin turns. While these are exciting ways to explore the area, it can also make wheelchair accessibility difficult. The best way to approach these excursions is to speak with Holland America directly, as accessible vehicles, ramps, and other accommodations can be made in advance.

Holland America Line strives to provide any accommodations you may need during your stay and uses a  Special Requirements Information Form  to help provide the proper stateroom and any other adjustments a guest with disabilities or mobility limitations may need. It is suggested to plan ahead and to contact the cruise line well before your stay in order to answer questions about cruises for wheelchair users and to confirm your reservation.

As you can see, there are a variety of handicap cruises and disabled cruises available to consider for your next vacation. Most cruise lines are accommodating in terms of disabled cabins on cruise ships and exciting excursions.

Cruises are a great opportunity to travel for wheelchair users, those with mobility restrictions and disabled individuals. The all inclusiveness of a cruise makes it the perfect way to relax and enjoy without all the planning of a traditional vacation.

Are you interested in booking one of these cruises?? Contact my accessibility-focused travel agency, Curb Free Travel, by emailing me at [email protected]

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After being diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy at the age of two, Cory's thirst for adventure never ceased. He went on many trips around the US when he was younger, and then started taking things internationally when he turned fifteen. Since then, Cory has traveled around the world, all while managing to successfully graduate college and start up his travel blog, where he shares his accessible, and sometimes not so accessible, travel adventures with others. Through this, he hopes to inspire other wheelchair users to roll out of their comfort zone and see all of the beauty that the world has to offer.

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5 tips for going on a cruise as a wheelchair user

Miami Beach, Government Cut, Tourists in Wheelchair watching Cruise Ship

Traveling in a wheelchair undoubtedly comes with its challenges, but almost any wheelchair user will probably agree that cruising comes with far fewer challenges than air travel and most other modes of transportation. On a cruise, there is no need to worry about finding an accessible taxi or calling in advance to check accessibility when going to dinner.

Instead, you can hop in an elevator and in less than five minutes, you'll be ready for dinner in a nice cruise ship restaurant . Life on board a cruise ship is easy for wheelchair users because it's like an entire city is right there on the ship. Whether you want to lounge by the pool and drink pina coladas all day, see a Broadway-style show or even gamble in the onboard casino, nearly anything is possible within the confines of a cruise ship.

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While cruising is one of the easier ways to travel with a disability , wheelchair users should keep a few things in mind when planning a cruise vacation. By using the tips and tricks below the next time you're sailing the high seas, you are sure to have an enjoyable, and accessible, cruise vacation. Here are five tips for cruising as a wheelchair user.

Book as early as possible

best cruise line for disabled

Some of the larger cruise ships can hold more than 5,000 people, but even with that much space, wheelchair-accessible cabins can be limited. Typically, a cruise ship only offers a few dozen accessible rooms, and they get booked quickly.

If you are thinking about going on a cruise, it's incredibly important to do the proper research and reserve your accessible cabin as early as possible. Even a year or more in advance is great, especially for cruises to Alaska . Alaska cruises are notorious for selling out of accessible staterooms in record time, so keep an eye out for on-sale dates if there's a specific cruise you'd like to book.

Related: 6 ways to get a deal on a cruise

Choose a cruise line that works for you

best cruise line for disabled

The bigger the ship, the more accessible it usually is. For example, cruise lines like Carnival , Royal Caribbean and Disney have at least a few thousand passengers on every cruise, so you can expect them to be more accommodating for wheelchair users. Holland America and Celebrity Cruises cater to older travelers, so you can also expect good access on their ships. However, smaller ships (and especially river cruises ) are not usually wheelchair-friendly.

Newer ships are also much more accessible than older ones. If you see that a brand-new ship is coming out from one of the big cruise lines, you can almost guarantee that accessibility will be fantastic.

To determine whether a ship is the right one for you, look up the layout of the ship online and read reviews from other wheelchair users by doing a quick Google search for "(cruise ship name) wheelchair access review." Nothing beats that firsthand perspective from a fellow wheelchair user.

Related: A beginner's guide to picking a cruise line

Research if ports of call are docked or tendered

best cruise line for disabled

Being able to roll around the cruise ship as a wheelchair user is spectacular, but what about exploring the various ports of call? Yes, you could have fun staying on the ship, but everybody ought to get out and see the sights for at least a little while.

Wheelchair users should choose cruise itineraries where ships dock at the ports of call. Once the ship is tied up to the pier, wheelchair users can simply roll down a ramp to disembark the ship.

The alternative is that the ship anchors offshore and uses smaller, typically inaccessible, boats called tenders to take passengers ashore. It's difficult, and sometimes impossible, for wheelchair users to board these boats and transfer to shore.

You can find out if a port is docked or tendered by calling the cruise line or looking it up online.

Related: The most wheelchair-accessible beach destinations in the US

Rent mobility equipment

best cruise line for disabled

For many wheelchair users, one of the most difficult parts of traveling is taking medical and mobility equipment along. As someone who travels with a motorized wheelchair, a shower/commode wheelchair, a patient lift, wheelchair chargers and other medical equipment, I know firsthand how challenging it is to haul everything around once you reach a destination.

To make the process easier, companies such as Special Needs at Sea and Scootaround will allow you to rent mobility equipment that will be waiting in your cabin when you board the ship. Cruise travelers can rent wheelchairs, hospital beds, patient lifts, oxygen concentrators and more.

Related: These are the most accessible cities around the world

Reserve shore excursions with accessibility-focused companies

best cruise line for disabled

If cruise lines are lacking in one department, it's the availability of wheelchair-accessible shore excursions. Some cruise lines do offer accessible shore excursions in certain destinations, but the choices are usually extremely limited.

If you want to get off the ship and truly experience each destination, look into doing a shore excursion with an external company. In most ports of call, especially in the Caribbean and Europe, you can find local companies that have adapted transportation. It may take a bit of a Google search to find them, but they are out there.

For example, Sage Traveling offers wheelchair-friendly shore excursions in dozens of popular cruise destinations. Even better, the company is managed by a wheelchair user, so you can rest assured that accessibility will be top-notch.

Related: These are the credit cards to use to maximize your next cruise vacation

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Cruises for Seniors With Disabilities: Everything You Need to Know

Last updated: November 9th, 2023

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  • Find a Cruise

Cruises for seniors with disabilities are an enjoyable, comfortable, and hassle-free way to vacation.

On board, you’ll find beautifully appointed accessible staterooms and public spaces on our easy-to-navigate cruise ships. Many of our onboard activities can be enjoyed by all guests, from trivia challenges and wine pairing classes to destination seminars, thrilling entertainment, and silent meditations.

You’ll also get assistance from ship to shore, making the boarding experience as easy and comfortable as possible for seniors with disabilities.

Accessible Ships

Celebrity Edge ship exterior

Celebrity Edge

All of Celebrity’s ships have accessible features, which allow seniors with disabilities to move around the ship and enjoy all of the activities and amenities offered on board.

Throughout the ship, you’ll find wide corridors that can accommodate wheelchairs and power scooters, conveniently located elevators, and power doors on Solstice-class and Edge-series ships. All dining, bar, and lounge venues offer wheelchair seating, as do our onboard theaters.

View of Celebrity Edge Rooftop garden

Rooftop Garden

Public areas feature open and inviting spaces with gradual inclines for easy access, as do our public bathrooms.

Play games in the onboard casino at lowered tables and lowered slot machines. When you’re ready to enjoy the sun, a chair lift will help you get into the pool or hot tub.

Braille signage is included in elevators and public areas throughout, while Celebrity Today, our daily newsletter, is available in Braille and large font. Large print menus are also available in all dining venues.

To ensure that your cruise experience is perfect from beginning to end, you’ll get help with transportation from the airport to the pier, during boarding, and when departing the ship for cruise excursions. We also offer extra assistance for those who want to reach areas of the ship that are not easily accessible.

Service dog sitting outdoor

Celebrity welcomes service dogs aboard for seniors with disabilities. If you wish to accommodate a service dog, arrangements can be made in advance with our Access Department.

Read: Accessible Travel Guide

Accessible Staterooms

All of Celebrity’s luxurious cruise ships have accessible staterooms, and each is specially designed for travelers with disabilities.

Bathroom with wheelchair

Accessible Stateroom

Our accessible staterooms have carefully considered features, such as wider doors with removed door sills, which make for convenient wheelchair and power scooter access.

Select staterooms have a five-foot turning radius for easy navigation, while our accessible veranda staterooms have wheelchair-accommodating balconies so you can enjoy the view.

Cruise interior with table and chair

An accessible stateroom can also be customized for guests with sight or hearing special needs. Teletypewriters (TTY), portable room kits with a visual-tactile alert system for door knocking, telephone ringing, alarm clocks, and smoke detectors are all available onboard. Televisions in all staterooms have closed captioning.

Accessible Stateroom bath

Additional features, like lowered clothes bars in the closet, a roll-in shower with handheld showerheads, grab bars, and a fold-down shower bench are standard in accessible rooms, as are lower sinks and vanities, higher toilets, and ramped thresholds in the bathroom.

Accessible staterooms are conveniently located near elevators. Before you book your cruise, you can review the ship’s deck plans to see where they’re located and select one that’s nearest to the public areas you’re most interested in.

Accessible staterooms are held for travelers with disabilities until all other non-accessible staterooms in that category are fully booked.

There are only a limited number of accessible rooms on board, so it’s always a good idea to book early and fill out the required special needs form or when you book with one of our vacation specialists.

Medical Assistance

Woman relaxing by the pool

All Celebrity ships have a clinic onboard with a doctor and two nurses on call 24 hours a day. The ship’s pharmacy is stocked with basic medications, including seasickness medicine, aspirin, and other common remedies.

The onboard pharmacy does not have the ability to fill prescriptions, so make sure to bring a sufficient supply of your medication and place it in your carry-on luggage so that you’ll have access to it as soon as you board. And with Celebrity Cruises Open Access, you can go straight to your stateroom before exploring the ship.

Dialysis stations are located onboard, although only ambulatory peritoneal dialysis can be administered. Celebrity Cruises does not have the ability to administer hemodialysis treatments or provide assistance for dialysis treatments needed while on board.

Guests using peritoneal dialysis should have all the required solutions and equipment delivered to the ship at least two hours prior to sailing on embarkation day . Contact us to find out more information on our policies and procedures regarding dialysis on board.

Oxygen cylinders are allowed on board. Passengers need to share the type of oxygen cylinder, quantity, and delivery schedule before boarding. Contact us to find out more information on the oxygen storage requirements of each ship, since our policies differ depending on the ship.

Unforgettable Destinations & Excursions

Celebrity’s luxury cruise ships sail to over 300 destinations and 79 countries on all seven continents of the world.  On cruises for seniors with disabilities, you can travel around the world and visit multiple destinations all in one trip—while only having to unpack once.

Read: Senior Citizen Cruises

Lush landscape of Hobbiton

Hobbiton in Tauranga, New Zealand

Whether you’re admiring the green hills of Ireland, getting up close to koalas and kangaroos down under in Australia, seeing the magnificent mountains and glaciers of Alaska, exploring the temples of busy Hong Kong, or unwinding on the white-sand beaches of a sunny Caribbean island, you’ll sail to your destination on one of our luxury ships with fully-equipped and thoughtfully designed accessible features for seniors with disabilities.

At every port destination on your cruise itinerary, you can book shore excursions that cater to your specific interests and activity level. Consider private journeys, which are highly personalized excursions, small group tours, or destination tours that take you straight to a city’s most iconic sights and landmarks in a wheelchair-accessible van.

handicap-friendly bus in St. Kitts

Book Your Accessible Cruise

Now that you know all about our cruises for seniors with disabilities, browse our cruise itineraries and book your next trip online, or call one of our vacation specialists today at 1-800-852-8086.

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How to Find the Best Cruise When You Have Accessibility Needs

Expert tips for choosing a ship, excursions and more if you use a wheelchair.

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Barbara and Jim Twardowski,

Many travelers with  disabilities  vacation on a cruise. The convenience of seeing multiple destinations on one trip, unpacking once and having accessible entertainment options are part of the draw.

Logistically,  cruising  is one of the best ways for people with mobility disabilities to travel, according to Sylvia Longmire, author of  Everything You Need to Know About Wheelchair Accessible Cruising . “Also, there are more and more cruise lines offering accessible excursions,” she says. ​

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Longmire, an Air Force veteran, uses a power wheelchair and has been on more than 30 cruises. She says if you’re new to cruising, it’s important to do your homework to make sure the cruise can accommodate your needs: Will your scooter fit through the stateroom door? Are there wheelchair-accessible attractions at the destinations? 

If you would rather let someone else take care of the details, Longmire recommends hiring a travel agent who specializes in accessible travel. The agent can help guide you through a variety of cruise options tailored to your physical needs, as well as arrange transportation and reserve shore excursions and rent medical equipment if needed.  

Many cruise lines, including Celebrity Cruises, offer extra assistance with transportation and excursions for people who use wheelchairs. Here’s more on how to find a cruise that accommodates your needs.

Select a ship

All major cruise lines in U.S. waters are required to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and offer accessible public spaces and staterooms. However, some cruise lines offer more options than others. “The  newer, bigger ships  are much better for accessibility — they tend to be built with accessibility as part of the plan as opposed to being retrofitted later,” says Mark Chilutti, a manual wheelchair user. Chilutti and his wife have been on more than a dozen cruises, and he recommends booking at least a year in advance to ensure you get an accessible stateroom as most cruise ships have a limited number of options. Early booking helps you get the type of room you want. 

For example, if you want a balcony, Royal Caribbean offers accessible staterooms where Chilutti says he was able to open the balcony door by himself and easily cross the threshold.  


Additional features for accessible staterooms across cruise lines include: ramps at bathroom entries; roll-in showers with fold-down benches; handheld showerheads; and raised toilets. 

On board, modern ships have designated wheelchair seating at theaters, accessible public bathrooms, elevators, large corridors and automatic doors. If you want to take a dip in the pool, be sure to choose a ship with a lift. Some lifts are portable and you’ll need to ask the crew to set it up.

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Up to $200 onboard credit on select cruises

Even within the same cruise line, staterooms and ships can be different. 

Before you book, call the accessibility department to discuss the cruise and the amenities to make sure it has everything you want.

Choose an itinerary 

Cruises stop at ports all over the world, but people who use wheelchairs are not always allowed off the ship. When a cruise ship is unable to dock at a port, small boats — called tenders — shuttle passengers to shore. Passengers who have mobility limitations may not be able to use the tender and must remain on the ship. Weather and tidal conditions affect the ability to transfer from one moving vessel to another. 

Tenders typically do not permit motorized wheelchairs or scooters. If you can walk a few steps and carry a manual wheelchair, which can be folded, you can probably use the tender, but check with the cruise line first.

When selecting your itinerary, if you want to get off the ship, it’s a good idea to try to avoid ports where tendering is required. The cruise lines do not reimburse you for missed ports, and some destinations always use tenders. Royal Caribbean lists more than 50 ports where tendering is required. Holland America Line and Princess Cruises list the tender ports in the itinerary of each cruise.

Research shore excursions

Shore excursions are fee-based group outings offered by the cruise line. They can run for less than two hours or last all day, but the overall selection of wheelchair-accessible excursions is typically limited and/or not available at every port. Longmire notes that cruise lines may not post all accessible shore excursions until after you depart, which can make it difficult to choose a cruise with wheelchair-accessible excursions. Longmire recommends consulting with the cruise line to determine what it offers and seeking destinations that you can explore without transportation.   

Another option is to book a private excursion with a local tour company (this is where a travel agent and the access desk on the ship can help). Independent excursions provide one-on-one service with knowledgeable guides and accessible transportation, but they are pricier than the cruise line excursions. 

Know your options

If you have difficulty walking long distances and typically don’t use a mobility aid, you may want to rent a wheelchair or scooter through  Scootaround ,  Special Needs at Sea  or  Cloud of Goods . These companies deliver the items to your stateroom. Be sure to confirm the equipment will fit through your stateroom door. Wheelchairs and scooters must be stored and charged in your room. Note: The wheelchairs on the cruise ship are for medical emergencies, and you cannot borrow them.

If you are ready to give cruising a try, Longmire suggests booking a three- or four-day trip to see if it’s a good fit. She recommends traveling to the Bahamas where the seas are usually calm and the weather is warm. “There are so many ports of call that do have accessible shore excursions that you can book through the cruise line,” Longmire says. “You go to Nassau — if you don’t find or you don’t want to do a shore excursion, you can just roll around Nassau — and they stop at CocoCay, which is accessible.” ​

The Twardowskis are freelance writers and photographers whose work has appeared in outlets such as The New York Times , PBS,, AAA magazines and others. 

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Best Cruise Lines For Disabled Passengers

Everyone desires to experience the joys and excitement that come with going on a cruise…even those who may have a little disability. But, there’s no need to worry as lots of cruise lines for disabled passengers have already taken into consideration many factors when they were being designed, seeing they were looking forward to giving every enthusiastic traveler a smooth experience.

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Their major concerns include whether they would be able to have a smooth cruise like everyone else in terms of access to different areas on the ships (like their rooms via a wheelchair, the shower, or the dining areas), engaging in the various activities onboard and on shore, and can they travel alone knowing they will get assistance if needed, among other things.

There are guidelines that state that cruise ships should comply with certain regulations as stipulated by the U.S. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which, of course, some cruise lines go above and beyond for these travelers.

As a disabled traveler, you want to be onboard a ship that creates that peace of mind you are looking for on your vacation. Whether you are seeking a ship with wheelchair access or you need one that caters to persons who are visually and hearing impaired, there are multiple options to choose from.

It is often recommended to go for the cruise line’s newest ships as they might be more equipped with the modern needs of these travelers. However, lots of the older ships in some of the lines already considered every traveler when they were being built from the beginning. As a traveler with a disability, here are some of the best cruise lines you can book your next getaway vacation.

Royal Caribbean – Symphony of the Seas

When it comes to being a traveler with a disability, space is one of the most important factors to consider. You want to be guaranteed that getting around won’t be an issue for you, nor will you be in a position where you are inconveniencing others. Royal’s Symphony of the Seas knows the importance of this feature, and with their features and amenities onboard, they have received high praise from travelers.

Symphony of the Seas came on the scene in 2018 as the world’s largest cruise ship, and with this came the unique service of every traveler getting treated with the highest level of respect and care.

The ship features multiple accessible cabins equipped with low door sills and wheelchair ramps, roll-in showers, ample turning spaces, and grab bars. There are also lowered sinks and vanity, a fold-down shower bench with handheld shower heads, low closet rods, and so much more.

The wide gangplanks also give mobility access to wheelchair and scooter users. As for the public areas, they are also fully equipped with accessible features to provide maximum comfort for travelers. There are installed lifts for the pool and whirlpool, as well as lower playing tables in the gaming lounges.

Those with speech or hearing impairments have sign language interpreters on board that will help them feel blended in with everyone else and never miss any of the action, whether onboard or at any port of call . Royal Caribbean also boasts other ships that have received tremendous ratings for their dedicated services to accommodate travelers with disabilities. These include:

  • Harmony of the Seas
  • Oasis of the Seas
  • The Allure of the Seas

sign language interpreter

Holland America – Koningsdam

Holland America Cruises is known to attract a mature crowd, so it comes as no surprise to see them catering to travelers with accessibility needs. The cruise line has received numerous accreditations from previous travelers noting their high-quality service in catering to cruisers who may have difficulty doing things as others do them and still not feel out of place.

Koningsdam is the most technologically advanced ship in the cruise line’s fleet and has up to 27 fully accessible staterooms. Some of their advanced features include:

  • Public computer screen-reader software to assist those who are visually impaired 
  • Stateroom and bathroom doors with no sills and ramped thresholds for easy wheelchair access
  • Grab bars and roll-in showers with fold-down benches and handheld showerheads, lowered closet rods
  • Accessible balconies
  • Portable visual/tactile alert system by request

Interestingly, this ship has some of the most cabins available at sea for those traveling with a disability. Even with thousands of travelers onboard at a time, no one feels cramped in any space, no matter how they are getting around to the different areas of the ship.

The gaming lounges are catered to all travelers with even lower tables in the casino and guest relations, as well as wheelchair seating access in the main lounge.

Are you visually impaired and feel you will not fit in? Well, you have got that wrong, as the ship also features large print Braille menus and guided tours upon embarking on the ship.

Other ships in the fleet that have received positive reviews for their dedication to travelers with disabilities include Maasdam and Veendam. However, these other ships have limited accessible cabins, so you have to make a booking well in advance to secure a spot.

Best Cruise Lines for Disabled Passengers accessible stateroom

Celebrity Cruises – Celebrity Reflection

Celebrity Cruises is a big name in the industry, so seeing they are on a mission to help every adventure lover create a lasting memory, we understand their desire to cater to all types of travelers. The cruise line offers special amenities onboard and at the shore for travelers with disabilities, such as giving wheelchair users the ability to enjoy some shore activities like everyone else.

Celebrity Reflection is the cruise line’s largest ship that offers up to 30 accessible staterooms for disabled passengers with automatic doors…a service much appreciated by wheelchair users.

The accessible staterooms feature wide doors without sills and ramped thresholds leading to the bathrooms that also grant access to grab bars, roll-in showers with a fold-down bench, and handheld showerheads. Users can also look to gain access to a lowered sink and stateroom vanities and raised toilets, open bed frames, accessible balconies for some cabins, and amplified telephones.

As for the public spaces, no one is left out as the amenities are designed to cater to every traveler with wide gangways, Braille/tactile signage in public lounges, staircase handrails, and elevators for those who can’t manage the stairs.

The dining areas are equipped with wheelchair seating, a lowered counter to access the Martini Bar, lower tables in the casino, and guest relations. Even the pool and whirlpool are open for every traveler, as those with mobility impairment can access the lifts that are installed. You can find similar reviews for ships in the line, such as:

  • Celebrity Solstice
  • Celebrity Eclipse
  • Celebrity Silhouette
  • Celebrity Equinox

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Princess Cruises – Regal Princess

Princess Cruises has been in the industry for years and was among the first to have accessibility services installed on their ships. They have ports that they link with that provide easy access to travelers with disabilities, including their private island, Princess Cays, which has ramps that grant mobility access for all travelers.

Each of their itineraries features the level of access to each traveler, so you have the opportunity to know beforehand what you are up against while traveling.

The line’s Regal Princess ship features some of the most state-of-the-art accessibility services, including wide stateroom doors without sills, ramped-threshold bathroom doors, roll-in showers, grab bars, and wide turning spaces.

You can also get access to a fold-down shower seat and handheld showerheads, and if you require shower stools, you can always let the staff know, and they’ll provide you with one. In addition, each bathroom has high toilet and bath distress alarms, so you know you are in great hands with this cruise line.

The public areas onboard are just as accessible as your private cabin, with no one being inconvenienced by the way they have to travel. Need access to a sign language interpreter? No worries! They have a service to accommodate all types of travelers with individual disabilities. As for emergency briefings, they have Braille designed to keep visually impaired travelers up to par, so everyone is kept in the know.

Other ships in the line that grant accessibility access include Royal Princess, Ruby Princess, and Majestic Princess.

braille signage

Norwegian Cruise Line – Norwegian Bliss

Norwegian Cruise Lines has always kept the standard high when it comes to disabled passengers and works hard to give them the experience they desire. Not only do they offer accessible services online but also on the ground to take you to and from different ports in the U.S. The cruise line’s Norwegian Bliss ship has 42 accessible staterooms with emergency alarm pull systems installed in the bedrooms and bathrooms.

The doorways are wide with ramps and no sills, bathrooms are fully equipped with grab bars, roll-in showers, handheld showerheads, and high toilets. Their bedrooms feature lower closet rods and balconies with automatic doors.

Gangways are quite spacious to accommodate wheelchair and scooter users, and public restrooms are also accessible for all cruisers. The dining, showroom, and theater areas are all equipped with wheelchair seating, so everyone is catered for onboard.

For those with hearing or visual impairments, the ship has assistive listening systems and Braille/tactical signage all around the ship. If you require a sign language interpreter, you may need to notify the ship’s information desk at least 90 days in advance. Interestingly, no one gets left behind, as you can also bring your service animals along with you.

The other ships in this cruise line’s fleet that cater to disabled passengers include Norwegian Escape and Norwegian Gem.

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Disney Cruises – Disney Fantasy

This family-friendly cruise line has a special place in its line of service for persons traveling with disabilities, especially children. The cruise ship, Disney Fantasy, has factored in the concept that children with disabilities should be able to participate in any activity they desire, and as such, they have structured their program to facilitate this setting.

The ship has 25 accessible rooms with ramps for wheelchair users as well as other features and amenities such as roll-in showers, shower grab bars, open bed frames (access from both sides), fold-down shower seats, handheld showerheads, and high toilets. Their bed can also be adjusted to accommodate travelers with back pain or arthritis by providing a bed board for stability/support.

It goes the same for public spaces that make the setting comfortable for these travelers , including wheelchair seating, large prints and Braille for those with vision impairment, and assistant hearing systems for those with hearing issues. In addition to these features, they also have alarm systems installed all around the ship for those who may require emergency services on-call.

Another ship in this fleet with similar features and amenities is Disney Dream.

Final Thoughts for Best Cruise Lines For Disabled Passengers

With that being said, there is nothing stopping you from enjoying a great vacation and touring the world without having to be limited by your disability. Each cruise line has different itineraries, so you can see which best suits your adventure needs and let the wind take you where it will.

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Early Bird Sale 🛳 £300 Off 2025 Cruises - £50 Deposits - Ends 3rd May

Accessible Cruises

Cruise the world with confidence.

Our accessible cruise holidays will sail you effortlessly to some of the greatest destinations around the world, from the sun-soaked sights of the Mediterranean to the breathtaking landscapes of the Norwegian Fjords . Sit back and relax as we take care of everything.

We guarantee each stage of your journey is 100% accessible, including our wheelchair-friendly door to door pick up service, taking you from home to holiday without hassle. We also bring professional carers on every cruise for complete peace of mind.

Whether you're wanting to set sail in 2024 or 2025 , we’re here to help you plan your perfect holiday, from booking to boarding and beyond! Browse our disabled-friendly cruises below, or speak to our team on 0800 711 7112.

Amsterdam 5-Day Cruise, 2024

P&O, Ventura

This short-stay holiday is the perfect taster for those who are new to cruising. Set sail for Amsterdam.

Norwegian Fjords Classic Cruise, 2024

P&O, Iona

Spend the week cruising the Norwegian Fjords aboard P&O Iona. Includes visits to Alesund, Stavanger, and Haugesund.

Norwegian Fjords Cruise, June 2024

P&O, Britannia

Snow-capped peaks, labyrinth waterways and the most spectacular coastline you’re ever likely to see.

Norwegian Fjords Cruise with Olden, Summer 2024

Discover the Norwegian Fjords this summer aboard P&O's Britannia ship. Includes visits to Flam and Stavanger.

Norway & Northern Lights Cruise

P&O, Aurora

Set sail for the Arctic Circle in search of the majestic Northern Lights. Plus, cruise the Norwegian Fjords.

Norwegian Fjords Classic Cruise, 2025

Enjoy luxury at sea while cruising the spectacular Norwegian Fjords aboard P&O's Iona ship.

Norwegian Fjords Cruise, Summer 2025

Set sail for 7 days cruising the spectacular Norwegian Fjords aboard P&O's Iona ship.

Norway & Northern Lights with Stavanger Cruise, December 2025

Explore Norway's stunning Fjords aboard P&O's Aurora. Journey to Andalsnes, Bodø, Narvik, Tromsø, and Haugesund.

Royal Caribbean - Anthem

France & Spain Cruise, August 2024

Royal Caribbean, Anthem of the Seas

Discover the best of Bordeaux, Bilbao, La Coruña, and Paris aboard the Royal Caribbean''s Anthem of the Seas.

Spain & France Cruise, 2024

Enjoy a European medley of beautiful ports and sights, cruising aboard P&O’s world-class Ventura cruise ship.

Spain & Portugal Cruise, Summer 2024

Discover the best of the Mediterranean aboard P&O Ventura this summer, cruising to Spain and Portugal.

Portugal & Spain Cruise, July 2024

Visit the Iberian Peninsula aboard P&O's Ventura cruise ship on this accessible Portugal and Spain Cruise.

Spain & Portugal Cruise, August 2024

Set sail for Spain aboard P&O's Ventura Ship, the perfect opportunity to experience some of the best holiday hotspots.

Spain, Portugal, & France Cruise, October 2024

Cruise Spain, Portugal & France on P&O's Ventura Ship. Embarking from Southampton, escorted with our Limitless Care Team.

Spain & Portugal Cruise, October 2024

Embark from Southampton on the P&O Iona to Spain & Portugal. Escorted by our Limitless care team.

Spain & La Rochelle Cruise, May 2025

Make 2025 a year to remember, with this P&O Ventura cruise exploring vibrant destinations in Spain and France.

Spain & Portugal Cruise, June 2025

Experience an unforgettable disabled-friendly cruise along Spain and Portugal's west coast aboard P&O's Ventura ship.


Spain & Portugal with Bilbao Cruise, October 2025

Sail aboard the Iona for an enchanting cruise to Spain and France. Visit Bilbao, La Coruña, Vigo, and Cherbourg

Spain, Italy, & Gibraltar Cruise, August 2025

Sail the Mediterranean on a 14-night cruise. Explore charming ports like Cadiz, Palma, Cagliari, and Ibiza.

Porto Cruise

France, Portugal, & Spain Cruise, 2025

Cruise along Spain and Portugal's west coast aboard P&O's Ventura cruise. Visit Vigo, Lisbon, Leixoes, and Cherbourg.

Spain, Italy, & France Cruise, 2025

P&O, Arvia

Experience the luxury of P&O's Arvia cruise ship on this Mediterranean adventure. Includes Barcelona and La Coruna.

Britannia Sunset 08

Spain & Cherbourg Cruise, April 2025

Embark on an accessible cruise aboard P&O's Britannia, includes Gijon, La Coruña, Santander, and Cherbourg.

Spain, France, & Portugal Cruise, Spring 2025

Cruise along Spain and Portugal's west coast aboard P&O's Ventura. Visit Santander, Vigo, Lisbon, Leixoes, and Cherbourg.

Spain & Gibraltar Cruise, Summer 2025

Cruise the Mediterranean on P&O’s Britannia ship. Includes visits to Cadiz, Ibiza, Mallorca, and Gibraltar.

Arvia In La Coruna Stepping Stone Media 1 All Rights

Spain & France Cruise, 2025

Embark on a thrilling Mediterranean cruise aboard P&O's Arvia. Explore La Coruña, Costa del Sol, and Barcelona.

Spain & France 8 Day Cruise, March 2025

Relax on a 12-night cruise of Spain and Portugal's west coast P&O's Iona ship. Visit Gibraltar, Cadiz, and Lisbon.

Spain & France Cruise, September 2025

Royal Caribbean, Independence of the Seas

Embark on this 7-night accessible cruise to Spain and France aboard Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas.

Portugal & Canary Islands Cruise, February 2025

Look forward to a sun-soaked adventure exploring the Iberian Peninsula aboard P&O's Ventura cruise ship.

Spain, Portugal, & Canary Islands Cruise, May 2025

This 12-night Royal Caribbean cruise takes you through the Canary Islands, and the best sights of Spain and Portugal.

Cruise, Independence - Royal Caribbean

Spain & Portugal 8 Day Cruise, September 2025

Cruise Spain and Portugal aboard Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas ship. Includes Vigo, Bilbao, and Lisbon

Royal Caribbean, Independence

Spain & Portugal 10 Day Cruise, Summer 2025

Cruise effortlessly through European beauty aboard The Independence of the Seas. Discover Lisbon, Vigo, and La Coruña.

Spain, Canary Islands, & Portugal Cruise, November 2025

Cruise the best of the Canaries and Portugal on this 14-night holiday. Includes visits to 4 beautiful islands.

Spain & France 14 Day Cruise, Autumn 2025

Discover Mediterranean gems with P&O's Arvia cruise, visiting La Coruña, Costa del Sol, Toulon, Barcelona, and Cadiz.

Mediterranean Classic Cruise, 2024

Spend two week cruising the Mediterranean aboard P&O's Ariva, P&O's newest ship! Escorted by our Limitless care team

P&O Britannia

Mediterranean with Cadiz Cruise, October 2025

Explore captivating Mediterranean destinations cruising aboard P&O's accessible Britannia.

Mediterranean with La Coruña Cruise, November 2025

Embark on a 14-night accessible cruise with Limitless. Explore La Coruña, Lisbon, Canary Islands, and Madeira aboard P&O Ventura.

Mediterranean Cruise 2025

Enjoy 14 nights cruising the Mediterranean aboard P&O's Arvia, P&O's newest ship! Escorted by our Limitless care team.

Canary Islands Cruise, November 2024

Explore seven exotic ports on this cruise of a lifetime, embarking on P&O's Iona from Southampton. Escorted by our Limitless Care Team.

Canary Islands & Lisbon Cruise, Autumn 2024

Experience 12 nights of winter sun in the Canary Islands & Portugal, accompanied by our Limitless Care Team.

P&O X Mas Ventura 144 Captain Derek Gray

Canary Islands Christmas Cruise, 2024

Embark on a unique festive holiday while celebrating at sea, and exploring the best of the Canary Islands & Portugal.

Canary Islands Cruise, April 2025

Discover seven exotic ports on this care-supported cruise aboard P&O's Britannia. Includes Funchal and Las Palmas.

Canary Islands and Portugal Cruise 2025 - 13 nights

Explore six exotic ports on this 13 night cruise around the Canary Islands, Spain & Portugal.

Canary Islands Cruise, Autumn 2025

Discover the best of the Canary Islands, cruising to 5 beautiful ports including Lisbon & Tenerife.

Canary Islands, Portugal, & Spain Cruise, November 2025

Set sail on a remarkable 14-night voyage in 2025 aboard the Iona.

Canary Islands & Lisbon Cruise, 2025

Embark on a 14-night inclusive adventure with our unique Canary Islands and Portugal cruise holiday.

Portugal, Canary Islands, & Spain Cruise, December 2025

Discover the beauty of Portugal and the Canary Islands sailing aboard the world-class Iona cruise ship.

Canary Islands Christmas Cruise, 2025

Embark on a 12-night Canary Islands and Portugal cruise from Southampton on P&O’s Ventura.

Customer, Iona

Canary Islands Christmas & New Year Cruise, 2025

For those looking for a little winter sun over the festive period, treat yourself to this 14 night accessible cruise.


Norway & Northern Lights Cruise, March 2026

Prepare for the spectacular as you board the Aurora ready to voyage to breathtaking scenery like no other.

Portugal & Canary Islands Cruise, Winter Sun 2026

Embark on a unique 14-night adventure through the Canary Islands and Portugal aboard the luxurious P&O cruise ship Iona.

Accessible Cruises for Disabled People

Do you offer cruises for disabled people.

At Limitless Travel, we're proud providers of  disabled friendly holidays  across the  UK  and to destinations  abroad . We’re overjoyed to now also offer luxury accessible cruises for disabled adults that are fully accessible. We currently travel to the following destinations in conjunction with P&O Cruises: 

Norwegian Fjords

Portugal & Spain

Mediterranean & Iberia

We're also hoping to further expand our range of destinations in the near future.

Travelling and staying aboard P&O's world-renowned vessels, you'll have the opportunity to explore some of Europe's top holiday hotspots and enjoy all the world-class facilities associated with these fantastic ships.

As with all Limitless Travel tours, all of our disabled cruises have been vetted beforehand to ensure they're wheelchair accessible and disabled friendly. While some of our itineraries feature destinations that can only be reached by small tenders that may not cater for disabled travellers, we aim to highlight every one of those instances in the relevant holiday guide.

How accessible are the cruise ships on your cruises for disabled people?

On our current cruises, you'll travel aboard P&O's Iona, Aurora and Arvia cruise ships. All three vessels are disabled friendly and feature fully accessible cabins and facilities throughout. However, wheelchair accessible cabins are limited, particularly on the Iona, so booking early is always a good idea. 

If you would like to find out more detailed information about the accessibility on any of these ships, we recommend phoning 0800 711 7232 and speaking to a Limitless advisor. They'll be able to answer any and all of the questions you have. Alternatively, you can find ship-specific information for the  Iona ,  Aurora  and  Arvia  by following the links.

What facilities are available on your accessible cruises?

The overwhelming majority of the excursions included on our cruises are fully accessible and disabled friendly. We even offer a 'potter-around-the-port' service exclusively to Limitless travellers to help you make the most of your time onshore.

However, there are a small number of locations where tenders are used to reach the port from the ship. In some instances, these won't be suitable for disabled travellers. Wherever this is the case, we've highlighted it in the relevant holiday guide. 

Do you provide care on your disabled cruises?

We offer a variety of holiday  care packages  on each and every one of our cruises for disabled adults. From emotional support to one-to-one care, our qualified and experienced carers are on hand to take care of you on your holiday. 

All Limitless travellers receive group support as standard. However, we can also build you a bespoke care package that's tailored to your needs should you require it. For us, the most important thing is that Limitless travellers feel safe, secure and confident to travel. As a result, we'll go out of our way to make sure you get the right level of support on our wheelchair accessible cruises.

The best way to find out more about our care packages is to give a Limitless advisor a ring on 0800 711 7232. Alternatively, you can take a look at our  dedicated care packages page  for a comprehensive overview.

How do I book wheelchair accessible cruises for disabled adults?

Accessible cruises for disabled people are easy to book with Limitless Travel. Simply call or email one of our specialist travel advisors on 0800 711 7232. They'll be happy to tell you more about our cruise destinations, the ships you'll travel on and our care and support packages.

All you need to do is give us a call, let us know of any special assistance or mobility equipment you might need and then you can relax and start looking forward to your holiday!

If you’d prefer a disabled holiday on dry land, we also offer a fantastic array of popular holiday destinations in the UK, Europe and further afield. Whether you want to discover fairytale  Edinburgh , get a feel for flamenco in  Andalucía  or sun yourself in a  Caribbean paradise , we've got a holiday for you. Limitless is committed to ensuring only the best wheelchair-accessible cabins are offered to our disabled guests. 

By working with only the best cruise lines, we can help you have the best holiday possible! 

How can I request special accommodations for my specific disability or medical condition?

All Limitless travellers receive group support as standard. However, we can also build you a bespoke care package that's tailored to your needs should you require it.

Once you’ve booked and consulted with Limitless, and let us know the accommodations you need to have a truly spectacular holiday, we’ll quickly pass this information along to the cruise company, P&O, and make sure everything you need is on-board. 

Limitless and P&O have a close relationship due to their incredible care and attentiveness to disabled passengers on-board their ships. 

Do you offer adapted cabins on your cruise holidays?

Yes, the cruise lines we work with offer adapted cabins specifically designed for guests with mobility issues or disabilities. 

These cabins are equipped with wider doorways, roll-in showers, grab bars, and other accessibility features to ensure a comfortable and safe stay. It's advisable to book these cabins in advance due to limited availability. 

If you have specific requirements or need further information, please contact the Limitless team. 

We're committed to ensuring all our guests have an enjoyable and hassle-free holiday experience.

Do cruise ships have accessible features for disabled passengers?

Absolutely! Cruise ships are equipped with a variety of accessible features to ensure that passengers with disabilities can have a comfortable and enjoyable experience. 

These accessible features include specially designed cabins with wider doorways and grab bars in the bathrooms, making them more user-friendly. The ships are also designed with ramps and elevators to facilitate easy movement around the vessel. 

Additionally, many cruise lines provide assistance at ports and during excursions to accommodate all passengers. 

Entertainment and dining areas are wheelchair accessible, with staff available to offer any needed assistance. So, passengers with disabilities can expect a well-accommodated and enjoyable cruise experience.

Are service dogs allowed on cruise ships?

Service dogs are allowed on cruise ships as long as they are fully registered (not emotional support dogs) and the cruise provider has been notified before booking.

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best cruise line for disabled

The Best Cruise Cabin for Every Type of Need

C ruise accommodations—also known as staterooms or cabins—are a vacationers' home away from home while at sea. Far from a one-size-fits-all decision, there are numerous factors to consider when determining the best rooms on a cruise ship to fit your and your companions' needs.

From size to location to view and beyond, there are many things to keep in mind when selecting your stateroom, says Gianluca Corneli, hotel director at Royal Caribbean International. "How many will stay in the room? Is your room a place to hang out or just where you sleep?" Also, think about what you'd like to be near on the ship. "For example, consider if you would like to be near the elevator for convenience or prefer a location down the hallway with fewer guests passing by," she says. Also factor in any ways you'd like to elevate your stay, like maybe a balcony or a suite for your next Caribbean cruise .

It's no wonder that some of the best cruise lines offer up to 28 different types of rooms on a single ship—they want to ensure there's an ideal solution for every guest. Savvy cruisers already know all the best cruise tips , hidden cruise features and things you can't do on cruises . Now, let's focus on upgrading your room choice to the perfect fit for your specific needs.

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Best for avoiding seasickness

Choose: the middle of the ship, on a low deck.

Picture a ship like a seesaw—the most movement will be felt on either end, while the middle stays fairly even-keel. "Middle and low, that's where you want to be," says cruise expert Dori Saltzman, senior editor with trade publication Travel Market Report . "While you don't need to be on the absolute lowest passenger deck, you don't want to go above the middle of the ship (vertical wise). You also want to try to be as middle (horizontal wise) as possible."

If cabins in the middle of the ship aren't available, she says to choose aft over forward, because the more forward a cabin is, the more you'll feel the motion of the ocean. And while this may seem counter-intuitive, be sure to book a cabin with a window or balcony, so you can keep your eyes on the horizon if you start feeling queasy. Here's a list of what to pack for a cruise —which includes meds for seasickness.

Best for great views

Choose: a cabin with a balcony, preferably at the back of the ship.

While you can always go to the upper decks of any ship for 360-degree views of your surroundings, there's no greater cruise ship luxury than enjoying the scenery from your own private balcony. They may also be called veranda cabins. Balconies are the perfect place to enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning or glass of champagne during a spectacular sunset and pretend you're all alone at sea.

And some of the absolute best rooms on a cruise ship are located at the rear, where you'll also be treated to the photo-worthy wake left behind, which is a fun way to mark your ship's progress. Balconies are also nice for having access to fresh air when you want it, it can be very soothing to listen to the sounds of the ocean from your stateroom, and you'll have a better chance of spotting wildlife along your cruise too.

Best for light sleepers

Choose: a deck filled with other guest cabins and away from elevators.

Finding the best rooms on a cruise ship for light sleepers usually takes a little research, but that due diligence will pay off come bedtime. "You need your cabin to be located away from any bank of elevators, but also away from crew entrances," says Saltzman. So being surrounded by other cabins of people who want to sleep too is a safe bet. "You also don't want your cabin to be located above the ship's main theater, underneath any restaurants where you can hear the chairs scraping on the floor or under/over any of the lounges that have music late into the night."

Finally, you don't want to be on a low deck that's too aft or too forward, as you may end up above the engines or the anchor, which makes a lot of noise when it's lowered and raised. You may feel a bit like Goldilocks trying to choose that perfect cabin on your next romantic cruise , but the reward of peace and quiet will be priceless.

Best for a little more space

Choose: a forward-facing cabin.

While you aren't likely to find a balcony on a forward-facing cabin, you may find more interior space than similarly priced mid-ship cabins. Why? There are some odd angles in forward-facing cabins that the designers had to work around, thanks to the slanted style of the front of a ship. Those odd angles may work in your favor when it comes to square footage.

It's important to note that while these are some of the best rooms on a cruise ship for extra space, you will experience the most movement in a front-facing cabin, so this choice is not an ideal position for anyone prone to motion sickness.

Best for cruising with little kids

Choose: family-friendly suites.

Most cruise lines offer family-friendly cruises and specific cabins suited for kids, which can be a mix of in-room amenities and proximity to other areas of the ship children will love. "On Disney's ships, all cabins have two bathrooms, one with a sink and toilet and the other with a shower/tub combo (a small minority of rooms do not have the tub) for families that need the little one to be able to take a bath, while everyone else is still able to wash up," says Saltzman. "Another good option is the Family Harbor cabins on Carnival's Vista-class ships (Vista, Horizon, Panorama) and Excel-class ships (Mardi Gras, Celebration). Similar to the Disney cabins, these have two bathrooms, one a full one with a shower, sink and toilet, and the other with a sink and shower/tub combo."

Best for staying on budget

Choose: an interior cabin.

Unless you're worried about feeling claustrophobic—since there will be no porthole or window to the outside world—an interior cabin is a nice option for saving money (we're talking $300 for 7-day cruises). Not only is it the lowest-priced cabin type, which means you'll have more funds to put toward excursions, a drink package or souvenirs, but you'll also be able to take midday naps or sleep in later because there won't be any light sneaking in.

Another positive is that an interior cabin might encourage you to spend more of your free time roaming around the ship, meeting other people and getting more involved in activities, since you may not find it desirable to spend your time beyond sleeping and showering in a windowless box. These are the most affordable cruise lines for staying on budget in general.

Best for mobility disabilities

Choose: an accessible stateroom.

For passengers with limited mobility or no mobility, most major cruise lines offer accessible staterooms in a variety of room types (inside cabin, ocean view and balcony). These options do vary based on the cruise line and the age of the ship, so it's best to research this in advance and factor the accessible options available into your cruise planning process.

Accessible rooms tend to be larger than standard cabins to accommodate wheelchair or scooter users, and they also feature larger bathrooms. Additionally, some rooms will have emergency-call buttons or specific amenities for hearing or vision-impaired guests. For instance, the fully accessible rooms on Holland America Line provide adequate turning space, accessibility routes throughout the room, roll-in showers, wheelchair access on both sides of the bed, handlebars in the shower and hand-held shower heads, says Sissel Bergersen, director of rooms division, Holland America Line. Before you lock in a booking, it may be best to call the cruise line and explain your needs so they can help steer you toward the perfect cabin.

Best for being spoiled rotten

Choose: a cabin with butler service or a spa cabin.

For travelers who like adult-only cruises or who are yearning for a little extra pampering, the best rooms on a cruise ship fall into one of two categories. The first is a suite that comes with butler service, where you'll have someone helping with all the details you don't want to spend your precious vacation time tending to—like reserving prime-time dinner slots at specialty restaurants, booking shore excursions, packing and unpacking and even drawing rose petal bubble baths. Rooms at this level may also come with exclusive access to private pools, clubs and lounges with more luxurious touches and solitude than you'll find elsewhere on the ship.

The other category that's becoming increasingly popular is spa suites. On Norwegian Cruise Line, the Haven Spa Suite, Spa Club Balcony Suites and Spa Balcony (available on the Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Epic) have varying amenities that range from more tranquil room décor with an oversized shower and body spray jets to priority access to Mandara Spa. And on Celebrity Cruises, the AquaClass staterooms are focused on wellness, with a pillow menu, complimentary fitness pass, preferential rates on spa packages, healthy room-service menu options, an exclusive restaurant, a spa concierge, access to the SEA Thermal Suite and a yoga mat for use onboard.

Best for solo cruisers

Choose: a cruise line that offers single rooms or waives single supplements.

Solo cruises are a wonderful experience, yet so many cruise lines penalize single cruisers by forcing them to pay a "single supplement." This surcharge is added to the fare of a solo passenger, since cruise room pricing is generally based on double occupancy. This fee can be an additional 10% all the way up to a full 100% of the rate, making solo cruising unaffordable for many travelers.

Instead, look for cruise lines that offer single staterooms, like Celebrity, which has the Edge Single Stateroom with Infinite Veranda (available on Celebrity Edge, Celebrity Apex, Celebrity Beyond and Celebrity Ascent) and the Single Inside Stateroom on Celebrity Silhouette. Other cruise lines, including Holland America Line, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line, also offer single cabins—these special solo and studio cabins aren't subject to single supplements. Occasionally, you may even find cruise lines running special promotions and waiving their single supplement for a regular-size room.

  • Gianluca Corneli, hotel director at Royal Caribbean International
  • Dori Saltzman, senior editor at Travel Market Report
  • Sissel Bergersen, director of rooms division for Holland America Line

The post The Best Cruise Cabin for Every Type of Need appeared first on Reader's Digest .

The Best Cruise Cabin for Every Type of Need


  1. 10 EPIC Wheelchair Accessible Cruises + Disabled Cruises to Consider

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  2. 10 EPIC Wheelchair Accessible Cruises + Disabled Cruises to Consider

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    best cruise line for disabled

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