Friday, October 19, 2007

Are Cruise Ships Wheelchair Accessible?

If you're planning your first cruise and you use a wheelchair or other mobility aid, you are probably wondering if the ships are handicap accessible.

On older ships--and sometimes on smaller ships--this can be a problem. Not all public restrooms, showrooms, and dining rooms are wheelchair accessible. Some small ships do not have elevators, and on older ships not all elevators service all floors.

Newer (built within the last few years), larger ships should all be up to standards, so this may be the way to go if you have mobility concerns. Newer ships are designed so that you won't have trouble getting around if you are in a wheelchair.

However, you will probably need to bring your own wheelchair on most ships. The cruise line may require one that is collapsible or narrow-gauge.

Wheelchair-accessible cabins are limited, so make sure to book early.

You may also want to look for a ship with a lot of elevators relative to the passenger compliment. A higher elevator ratio will mean less time waiting in lines.

If you use a wheelchair and will not be traveling with a companion to aid you, you may want to bring along a collapsible pointer or some means to extend your reach. This lets you reach elevator buttons, light switches, and higher storage spaces in your cabin.

Source: The Unofficial Guide to Cruises

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