Cruise lines that really accommodate people with mobility disabilities

My husband and I are hoping to take a cruise next year and would like to hear which cruise lines/ships you would recommend for someone who needs to use a rollator or wheelchair.
This year we went to Florida to attend a family wedding. The hotel where we stayed assured me that the place was ADA accessible and that I would have a room with a roll in shower. Great, right. Well I could not get into the ladies room that was located in the lobby area and the room itself was tight enough that I had trouble maneuvering around it. The roll-in shower was nice, but the shower controls and shampoo and soap cady where so far away from the installed bench that I could not reach them. There should also have been another grab bar.
So, now I am being more cautious when I travel. I do not want to find myself on a ship in the middle of the ocean wandering around to see if there is a ladies room in which my rollator will fit.
I would appreciate it if you would share your recent experience.
Thank you!!
Carol

1 Like

Hi carol , all cruise lines have accessible rooms , and you’ll find that a rollator or scooter is more the norm then you might think. but there aren’t as many true HC/ accessible rooms as you might think , with wider doors and roll in showers :frowning: , every cruise line will have a dedicated accessibility staff " desk " you can deal with on the phone , I would suggest using a good travel agent or calling the cruise line it self and making a personal connection with someone. if you are looking to book you own room you might be look are a year - year and a 1/2 out for availability . someone in the cruise accessibility desk may be able to help you find something open sooner

Able life makes a light weight roll after that folds like an umbrella stroller it has a seat and you can buy a basket for it. I found I could pull up on the folding handle (easily reached) and make the walker narrower to get through tight spaces. It also folds up very compactly for transport. Look it up on Amazon to see if it would work for you. Mine has been a lifesaver for me.

My experience on the Caribbean Princess last week was not top rate. In the shower I couldn’t reach the controls or the soap dispensers. I didn’t try to use restrooms away from my cabin, because I need my husband’s help for all of that.

1 Like

We have sailed on Celebrity ships twice and found them to be very accessible and the staff very accommodating. I would suggest that you fill out a disability access form that you can find on their website which gives you an opportunity to specifically detail what you need. I would also suggest that you measure your rollator especially the width and put that on the form (there is a place to put the dimensions of your mobility device) and then follow up with the cruise line accessibility desk to make sure they got it and that your rollator will fit

2 Likes

We have found that the newer the ship the better the ADA accommodations. We used the Norwegian Encore and it was good with a walker. I had a little trouble on a scooter as the buttons to open the passageway doors was often out of my reach. We got a ADA room at the last minute but had to pay a pretty big cost for it.

Royal Caribbean is great for accessibility but you do have to request a handicapped room. The bathrooms are large and the showers have a fold down seat which are great. I have no problem moving my power chair or a scooter (drove these for a few years before the chair). I book them a year in advance to make sure to get a handicapped room and use their website to make the booking. After booking I tend to call them and they have a department that handles all kinds of accessibility questions and/or requests. The doors are big enough that I have no problem going in and out of the room. All of the crew are super friendly and very helpful with whatever you need.

2 Likes

Hello Carol. I have traveled on Carnival and Princess Cruise lines many times with both my walker with the seat and my electric scooter. I have had fully handicap accessible cabins and limit mobility cabins. Everything from interior, ocean view or balcony. The fully accessible cabins have large 32 inch doors with automatic door openers,large floor space in the cabin and bathroom to turn a scooters around easily. Bathroom are large with shower chairs, grab bars and handheld shower heads and properly located controls and dispensers. The public bathrooms that are marked handicapped are again wide, electric doors and large floor space to maneuver to toilet and sink. I have left many times from multiple Florida ports but also from Baltimore he, Alaska, Hawaii, Sydney Australia, South America and Italy ports. Crew were helpful and I love cruising even with my multiple disabilities/handicaps.






Balcony fully accessible

1 Like

I have bee sailing exclusively with Royal Caribbean for the last 22 or so cruises. I have been on every class they have. Each cabin type has an accessible room. I have used a rollator, platform crutch, scooter and power wheelchair. If you book a room on the 10th floor or above, any mobility device will fit into an accessible room relatively easily. Below that, the hallways are a little narrower. Scooters have to be manoeuvred with semi precision. Wheelchairs are okay. You will do a lot of walking around the ship. Depending on your stamina could dictate what you use. A scooter will fit into the bathroom. There are a lot of ports where your wheelchair can go. Realize, not all countries follow ADA. I usually go on my own and see the area near the ports. On the ships be prepared to wait for elevators. Wheelchairs can turn around in the elevators but not so much scooters. If you eat in the main dining room, using a wheelchair, they will let you stay in it. Shopping on ship can be tight. With the exception of the miniature golf (Which is up a flight of stairs), everything is accessible. At least one pool and one hot tub has a lift. The theaters have space in the back for handicapped seating. Even though it is in the back, you can still see the shows. The public restrooms can be a little tight but doable. I find cruising is the best way to vacation.Processing: 395EA007-30A5-4576-A87A-141532E6C0D2.jpeg…
Uploading: 257CAF76-5315-4BEB-A4FD-1BCDE670D6CA.jpeg…
Uploading: 29890ECE-4FE5-49C3-B293-946F8E3BE8C1.jpeg…
Uploading: 8793FE59-24C4-4954-B98D-2E27CD6D2D1A.jpeg…
Uploading: 7D6E9B8A-E831-416C-8561-DA7EBC8392D2.jpeg…

4 Likes




Fully accessible interior room

3 Likes

Thank you for the photos and info from another willing but disabled traveller!

I travel with Holland America and find them very accessible and their crews are always so helpful. Accessible staterooms and suutes have all been pkenty large for my scooter and their public restrooms are vy far tte beat I have ever seen for handicapped accessibility. I made 1 trip on R9yal Caribbean and found it very lacking in accessibility. I wrnt into one public restroom inboard and tge handicapped stall was directly vehind the door to enter the restroom. I found their crew in the casual dining facility of mo help. No one single crew member offered me any assistance whenever my granddaughter and I dined there for breakfast or lunch. We decided to try the main dining room for lunch and it was okay but when we returned there the next day we were disappointed to find the menu was the same every day. HAL has made traveling very comfortable for me and I will cobtinue to travel with them. I also feel they cater more to middle age and older which I prefer. I did one Carnival ruise and did not like it at all. Accessibility was so-so but I find they cater to the 20’s and 30’s crowd

1 Like

Hello, I’m leaving Friday on my first cruise ever on MSC I will be sure to inform you upon my return as to how things go for wheelchair access.

1 Like

Amazing, have the best time!! We can’t wait to hear all about it!

1 Like

Thanks I will definitely try and post all about it. I do have hand controls so hoping it goes smoothly.

I might add that the Soltice class of Celebrity ships have automatic doors for the accessible cabins and accessible public stalls. Very convenient. Also as stated above you can request what you need before the cruise. One caution…you must ok well in advance as the accessible cabins fillip very fast.

2 Likes

Hi! Which cruise line has shower chairs available? That would be so great!!

1 Like

I have requested from both Carnival and Princess Cruise Lines to have shower seats when I am in a regular cabin. Request the shower seat when booking and from your cabin Stewart if not in your bathroom on boarding. If you have a fully accessible cabin the seat is a fold down from the wall in the shower. These are big and sturdy.

Hi all, it’s Pinky :fairy: again; one of your other Forum Moderator’s. I’m so excited to see how many brand new members to the Forum have joined in to help with this conversation. Welcome to cbh1337, fubar91353, Iconley3550 and ptcltdmarlene; and welcome back to kd5fto, we missed you on the Forum.

What a great topic conversation to have, as we all (mostly) love to cruise. So far all of the members have already suggested most of what I would advise for cruise lines and ships; especially with regards to Celebrity and Royal Caribbean (same company). We are huge fans of Celebrity cruise line, even though I suffered one of my worst cruises ever with them. Just like one of our members mentioned, you’ll want to stick with Solstice class or newer with them; as some of their ships are older and aren’t able to be adapted that great (even though they advertise them as accessible ships).

We made the mistake of taking the Celebrity Summit a few years back to go to Bermuda for a week after hearing the ship had been updated. Only after the ship pushed away from the dock in New Jersey did we start to discover that their were too many structural issues with the ship to be actually “wheelchair accessible/friendly”. Even with ADA adaptations all over the ship and in some cabins, the physical structure of the ship wasn’t designed during a period that accessibility was being factored in very well. They had even had 2 makeovers already, but it still just wasn’t enough. Besides the fact the floors had raised lips in the floor as you walked down hallways, the doors weren’t wide enough for my wheelchair and too many areas of the ship had thick pile carpet that was like trying to wheel through hardening cream of wheat. Not to mention, the ship was not designed for being able to get wheelchairs and scooters on to the tenders when the ship was in port in the New England stops. Something they didn’t even announce on-board till the night before our arrival. You can only imagine the screaming at the front desk from guests who were also as surprised as my spouse and I to learn.

But, Celebrity has evolved and their newer ships (Solstice and Edge classes) have been designed from Day 1 with accessibility in mind. Beyond solving all the structural issues we discovered on the older ships, these newer ships even designed a ground-breaking exterior elevator system to load scooters and wheelchairs right onboard; so no more being stuck on board while everyone else tenders to the smaller island docks. We’re actually booked to try out the first U.S. sailing of the Celebrity Beyond this fall; so will have some fresher feedback for you when we get back.

Its been a few years for us to cruise due to the lockdown and my health, but I hope to get back in the pattern (as we can do now and as budgets allow). Can’t wait to see all the new ideas the newer ships are coming up with.


I do want to give one warning since you mentioned wandering the ship looking for bathrooms. As you have probably noticed already, these ships are getting really big and spread out. If you choose to go on one the new giants of the sea and you struggle going long distances with your manual chair/rollator/walker; don’t be so conflicted with renting/bringing a scooter or power chair. Don’t let those distances wear you out and ruin your cruise; just get ahead of the issue and reserve your equipment plenty of time before you cruise to ensure you get the equipment you need. (Too risky to wait to book till last minute and their not be the type available you want.)

In fact, someone just posted a forum post about reaching out to the two companies that handle most of the rentals for cruise lines: Scootaround and Special Needs Group at Sea

So happy though we have some hard core cruise folks in the Forum who have decades of worth of knowledge about where the industry is right now. I depend on them a bit myself when doing my pre-cruise homework.

Thank you all again for joining us here on the Forum if this your first time posting or reading in the Forum and we welcome back again to everyone else.

Safe Cruising Y’all,
Pinky :fairy:

Thank you for all of this helpful information. My planning has begun!
Carol