Cruise Line Info

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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