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Disabled Cruise Guide

Cruise ship on blue waters

Cruising is a fantastic way to spend a holiday, with beautiful destinations, constant entertainment and fantastic accommodation.

Typical questions we get asked include

“Who would help me in an emergency?”
“How easy is it to move around the ship?”
“Would I be able to go on any of the shore excursions?”
“Will I be able to take my medical equipment?”
“Would I even be able to get on the ship to begin with?”


Many cruise ships are now fully accessible to people with a wide range of disabilities and provide some of the most exciting, inspiring and best value-for-money holidays that you can find. Newer ships offer purpose built accessible cabins, entertainment venues and facilities, wide gangways and lifts whilst moving round the ship, and accessible embarkation and disembarkation. Many older ships have been adapted to accommodate disabled cruisers, meaning that disability is no longer a prohibitive factor in going on a cruise.

As we specialise in holidays and cruises for people with disabilities, there are many ways in which can help when choosing and booking a disabled cruise including booking and guaranteeing accessible cabins, the hiring of equipment, arranging of transportation or anything else you might need to ensure your cruise holiday is plain sailing.

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Advice on ships

Celebrity Cruises

Cruise ship in Sydney harbour

We have many years of experience dealing with disabled cruise ships and there are many important factors we consider when assessing the suitability of a cruise including how easy it is to move around the ship and the accessibility of the onboard entertainment and facilities, what equipment is available onboard, how accessible the different categories of cabin are and how suitable ships are for people with a range of disabilities.

We can answer any specific questions you have, no matter how simple or small they might seem.

Kay, one of our disabled cruise experts says:

Choosing the most suitable ship is one of the first things we do. The choice of ship depends on the disability in question, and a lot of the time a customer’s priority is the accessibility of the ship, rather than the destination. We know a huge amount about the accessibility of cruise ships, so whether a customer has a destination in mind or not, we’ll always be able to find the best ship for their specific needs. Ships have come along so much in recent years in terms of accessibility that they really are a great holiday option for someone with a disability.

Advice on cabins

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Cruise ship cabin overlooking a city

Some passengers spend a lot of time in their cabins (if you have a sunny balcony overlooking the ocean and a cool drink, why would you leave?), others prefer to spend their time elsewhere on the ship. Either way, it is important to ensure your choice of cabin is suitable for you.

If you are not a full time wheelchair user but have mobility problems, we can advise on whether you require a purpose-built adapted cabin, or a standard cabin with additions such as shower chairs, hoists, etc. If the latter is true, you should be able to pick any cabin you wish, as some equipment can simply be added as required.

Mark, one of our disabled cruise experts says:

"Some passengers may require the wider doorways and large turning areas of a purpose built adapted cabin. Others may simply require extra fittings which can simply be added to a room, in which case they can choose from any room. We’ll be able to advise on which cabins are most suitable, it all depends on what the customer wants and needs."

Advice on ports

Cunard Cruises

Cruise ships leaving port

One great thing abut going on a cruise is the opportunity it provides to explore fantastic new destinations whenever a ship docks in a new port. However, it is important to think about how far you have to travel on land to do any significant sightseeing, how you get into the port - by tender or direct into port and literally, how the land lies: Walkways and surfaces in some destinations are rocky and uneven, in others they are flat and smooth.

We can offer help and advice on which ports and tours will be most suitable for you. You are free to book excursions on the cruise itself, though they don’t always have as much information regarding accessibility of excursions as we do. Or, if you know what ports you want to visit, we can book them for you.

Mark says:

"The chance to explore many new destinations, rather than one or two like on a conventional holiday, is why many people choose cruising. Not all ports are suitable for people with disabilities, though. Occasionally a ship is too big to dock in the port so passengers have to board a smaller ship whilst at sea, which isn’t really possible if you’re a full time wheelchair user. On these occasions we can advise the customer to make the most of the ship while it’s emptier, perhaps enjoying a theatre performance or indulging in a spa treatment.

Cruise alert kits

Holland America Cruises

Cruise ship on a river in lush surroundings

Many cruises offer kits in cabins which cater for those with sight or hearing loss. Braille menus and documents, and visual-tactile alert systems such as vibrating pillows, ensure that important information and events aren’t missed. Similarly, alert systems for knocks on your door, smoke detectors, phones and clocks, to name a few, are also available.

We’ll be able to arrange all of these for you, as well as any further systems you may require.



Disabled equipment

A disabled-friendly bathroom with a wet room in a cruise ship

On many ships disabled cruise cabins already feature adapted equipment, such as pull-down shower chairs, grab rails, lowered sinks and wide doorways. However, you're also allowed to take any extra equipment you require - such as toilet raisers, electric beds and cot sides. Larger equipment such as oxygen concentrators and hoists, are also allowed providing the ship is notified first.

It is also important to bear in mind that some excursions require a lot of walking, so moving around on larger ships may be tiring. Even if you're not a full-time wheelchair user it may be worth considering hiring a wheelchair - the amount of extra walking involved onboard a large ship may surprise you! Cruise lines don't have any wheelchairs on board so hiring one before travel is the best option. We'll advise you if we think you might require any extra equipment - and arrange it for you too.

Kay says:

"Disabled passengers are often surprised when we tell them the amount of equipment that can be taken onto cruises. Particularly on cruises which sail from the UK, having to take medical equipment on-board really isn’t a problem. We arrange for the hire of equipment if a passenger can’t take their own, and ensure that the cruise ship is fully notified. At ports, we’ll arrange for porters to help load or unload equipment to make it as easy for the passenger as possible.”

Where you sail from

P&O Cruises

An important factor in deciding which cruise is right for you is where the ship sets sail from. There is a huge choice of cruises departing from, and returning to, the UK. If you’re able to travel on planes, you’ll also have access to cruises setting sail from various countries abroad. We can arrange flights to and from the port of sailing if required.

Kay says:

"Many disabled passengers prefer the ease of choosing a ship which sails from the UK, e.g. from Southampton. Passengers who are able to fly can choose from a larger range of cruises, however it is important to remember that any medical equipment must be suitable to be taken on a plane (size and weight must be taken into consideration) and there may be an additional cost to store this equipment in the plane’s hold. Regardless of whether you choose a cruise sailing from the UK or abroad, passengers are spoilt for choice! There are so many different cruises, with journeys varying – some last a few days, others can take a few months.”

If you would like to find out more, want some help or advice, or have any questions at all then please get in touch on 0161 804 9898, submit an enquiry or take a look at our accessible cruises.

Driving Miss Daisy adapted vehicle for holiday transfers for disabled guests

Adapted transfers

Need assistance getting to your cruise port or airport? Our partner Driving Miss Daisy® provide a safe, caring and reliable adapted transfer service to cruise ports and fly-cruise airports for disabled holidaymakers.

Read more here. Or call 0161 804 9898 to book your Home to Holiday assisted transfer service today!

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