December 21, 2007, Newsletter Issue #22: (21) Cruising for Physically Challenged Travelers

Tip of the Week

Of all types of travel, cruises are one of the best ways for a disabled traveler and their companion to enjoy travel with minimal hassles and maximum benefits. But, do not assume that all ships can accommodate your unique needs. Newer and larger ships are usually more accessible than older ships. Some itineraries are also more accessible for than others.

Ports that require the use of small boats (tenders) to go ashore may not be able to accommodate wheelchairs, especially in rough seas. In some cities, sidewalks and streets may be cobblestoned and impassable in a wheelchair or tour buses may not be accessible. Once you are in international territory, U.S. accessibility legislation does not apply.

Areas you need to question include:

Accessible embarkation and debarkation. Accessibility of public areas of the ships, such as theatres and lounges. Cabin door widths and flat (no sill) entrances. Bathroom accessibility/ accommodations. Accessibility at ports of call. Assistance on shore excursions.Medical releases required for travel.Medical oxygen availability and restrictions.Handling of service animals.Medical facilities and level of care onboard. Find a travel agent who specializes in working with disabled travelers. They know what cruise lines, ships and ports can accommodate your needs and offer an enjoyable experience for you and your travel companion. Visit for more information about travel with disabilities.

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