Booking an Accessible Cruise

January 10th 2008 03:50 pm

Are you disabled and looking to book a vacation or spring break trip? Vacationing on a cruise ship is the perfect solution if you are looking to be pampered.

Before you book your cruise, one of the most important things you need to do is to research the cruise line and find out what accessibility features are available. Some of the options found on a cruise ship include: public bathrooms and staterooms large enough for a wheelchair or scooter, Braille-coded elevator buttons, room numbers and menus, guide dogs to assist individuals, and TTY kits. Employees working on the ship are available to assist individuals with embarkation, disembarkation and buffet services.

Things to consider before booking your cruise:

1. Are there accessible accommodations in the cabin such as wider doorways, modified bathrooms with roll-in showers and grab bars, toilets, door handles, light switches and closet rods? Are TTY/TDD kits available upon request?

2. Do the lounges, casinos and dining facilities have specific seating areas for guests with wheelchairs and scooters? Do the automatic doors and ramps provide accessible routes throughout the ship, including to the open decks? Is Braille and large-print located on the signs and menus?

3. Can all public rooms and elevators be accessed with a wheelchair or scooter?

4. Are the ports of call accessible? Does your itinerary include tenders? (small boats used to bring passengers to shore from the ship’s anchor point). These boats are usually not wheelchair accessible.

5. Request to view the ship’s deck plans or visit the cruise line’s website. This way you can see how the ship is laid out and what accessibility features are built in, helping you to reserve a room that meets your individual interests and needs.

Before you book your cruise, talk to a travel agent or look online so you can find out if the cruise ship will meet your accessibility needs.

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