The most accessible cruise lines sailing the seven seas – because travel knows no limits.
Travelling with a disability or impairment can be daunting and stressful. Questions fly: Are there accessible rooms? Will I need to bring a carer to assist me? Are service animals allowed?
Don’t stress! Many major cruise lines are accessible to make your sail as smooth as possible. So whether you have reduced mobility or are hard of hearing, ramps to board the ship, wheelchair-accessible cabins and captioned movies can be available so you won’t miss out on a thing.
Searching for the best liner to look after you? Try these out:
Accessible cruise lines compared
|Cruise line||Accessible cabins||Accessible ship areas||Wheelchair accessible excursions||Wheelchair accessible tenders|
|Holland America Line||Modified and wheelchair-accessible rooms across its fleet||Accessible routes are available through most of the ship||Alternate transportation can be arranged for a more accessible shore excursion||Guest must transfer out of wheelchair.|
|Carnival Cruises||Modified and wheelchair-accessible rooms available||Accessible routes are available through most of the ship||Yes||Guest must transfer out of wheelchair|
|P&O Cruises||Wheelchair-accessible rooms across its fleet||Accessible routes are available through most of the ship||Yes, specially designed limited mobility shore tours available||Guest must transfer out of wheelchair|
|Royal Caribbean||Accessible staterooms across its fleet||Accessible routes are available through most of the ship; some ships have pool lifts||Yes – shore excursions are given levels of difficulty to help determine suitability||Guest must transfer out of wheelchair|
|Celebrity Cruises||Accessible staterooms across its fleet||Accessible routes are available through most of the ship||Customised tours and easy excursions available||Accessible gangway to tender platform on select ships|
|Norwegian Cruise Line||Accessible staterooms across its fleet||Accessible routes are available through most of the ship; pool lifts and barrier-free public toilets are available on all ships||Some||Guest must transfer out of wheelchair|
|Disney Cruise Lines||Accessible staterooms across its fleet||Accessible routes are available through most of the ship||Yes||Guest must transfer out of wheelchair|
|Cunard||Fully accessible cabins and non-adapted cabins across its fleet||Accessible routes are available through most of the ship||Yes, limited activity shore excursions are recommended||Guest must transfer out of wheelchair.|
What do wheelchair-accessible rooms include?
Wheelchair-accessible rooms are designed for wheelchair maneuverability. They can include widened doorways throughout the cabin, wheel-in showers, lowered sinks and vanities, handheld showerheads, grab bars, shower seats, turning space, lowered dressing tables and wardrobes, ramped thresholds, benches, bath distress alarms and accessible balconies.
What are ADA kits?
ADA compliance kits aid the deaf and hearing impaired. They may be available on cruise ships and in hotels and can feature telephone amplifiers, visual smoke detectors, door knock sensors and text telephones (TDD).
Do I need to bring a companion with me?
If you have reduced mobility and require aid, many cruise liners advise you bring a companion or carer with you to assist you on board and on shore. Depending on your level of mobility, companions may also assist you in embarking and disembarking from tenders for shore excursions.
Are tenders wheelchair accessible?
Most tenders are not wheelchair accessible. If you have some level of mobility and can embark and disembark from the tender with minimal assistance, you may collapse your wheelchair to bring it on the tender for use on shore. Steps are usually present to embark and disembark from a tender.
How do I book a cruise if I have accessibility needs?
If you require accessibility assistance during your cruise, contact the cruise line direct to acknowledge your needs. Cruise lines are more than happy to provide assistance to passengers with accessibility requirements with advance notice.
When contacting the cruise line, you will also need to advise of any equipment you plan to bring, or require on board, to aid you during your trip. This includes wheelchairs, scooters and hoists.
Which ports are best for mobile accessibility?
Not all ports will have the infrastructure to allow for mobile accessibility. If you have limited to no mobility, these are some of the most popular and wheelchair-accessible ports to consider including in your itinerary:
- Sydney and White Bay, Australia
- Adelaide, Australia
- Auckland, New Zealand
- Brisbane, Australia
- Cairns, Australia
- Melbourne, Australia
- Fremantle, Australia
- Southampton/London, UK
- Barcelona, Spain
- Naples, Italy
- Athens, Greece
- St Thomas, Virgin Islands
- Princess Cays, Bahamas
- Alaska (various ports are accessible), USA
- Castaway Cay, Bahamas
Which popular cruise ports are not mobile accessible and/or are tendering ports?
If you have limited to no mobility, you may consider avoiding cruises that dock at the following ports as they are either not accessible or require tenders to disembark, which can be a bit difficult depending on your condition:
- Airlie Beach, Australia
- Bay of Islands, New Zealand
- Benoa, Bali
- Bora Bora, Polynesia
- Christchurch (Akaroa), New Zealand
- Isle of Pines, New Caledonia
- Lembar, Lombok
- Lifou Isle, New Caledonia
- Mare, New Caledonia
- Moreton Island, Australia
- Mooloolaba, Australia
- Moorea, Polynesia
- Mystery Island, Vanuatu
- Port Arthur, Tasmania
- Port Douglas, Australia
- Wala, Vanuatu
- Yorkeys Knob, Australia
- Catalina Island, California
- Half Moon Cay, Bahamas
- Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
- Kona, Hawaii
- Avonmouth, UK
- Liverpool, UK
- Rosyth, UK
Importance of cruise travel insurance for disabled travellers
There's a lot to consider when it comes to planning a holiday, and cruise travel insurance shouldn't be skipped over - especially if you're travelling with any sort of disability or have a pre-existing condition that compromises your ability onboard or may require some medical attention.
When it comes to manoeuvring into tender boats, getting around the close quarters of a ship while it's slightly moving with the sea or just enjoying the benefits a cruise has to offer it's important to make sure that you're covered in case anything doesn't quite go to plan on board. Medical care on a cruise doesn't come cheap, especially if there isn't a Medicare doctor on board, and having the right level of cover can really save you if something does happen.
Best cruise deals
Popular Cruises coupon codes
|Last checked||Code description||Code|
|5 Dec 2018||Up to 30% off tours worldwide||********|
|15 Nov 2018||Sydney New Year's Eve cruises from just $400||********|
|7 Nov 2018||Up to $1,100 off European river cruises||********|
|22 Nov 2018||15% off Sydney New Year's Eve cruise||********|
|10 Dec 2018||Up to 30% off Christmas and New Year's cruises||********|