'The Autonomous Cruiser: The Complete Guide To Cruising For Disabled Travelers’

'The Autonomous Cruiser: The Complete Guide To Cruising For Disabled Travelers’

We have gotten some great feedback on this article and are excited to open up a deeper conversation about it!!

Please feel free to comment any suggestions or questions!

Question from a member of our community:

Cruising on the East coast via riverboats. Are they for real? And what about the practice of charging me double even though they have single rooms.?

From a member of our community:

Island travel in a chair. I find it almost impossible. There have been no handicapped considerations on most of the Caribbean islands I’ve visited. Btw. Love your article as I’ve become a cruise addict. Depending on the destination. It is really ok to stay on the ship when in port for me.

From a member of the accessibleGO community:

Right now I’m trying to learn what I can and cannot do as far as devices to assist in walking or perhaps even a wheelchair (electric)?

Hey everyone, It’s Pinky; one of your Forum moderator’s here at AccessibleGo. :woman_fairy:

What a great article and full of so much truth about the struggles with traveling and our extra challenges when it comes to cruising :passenger_ship:. I could go on endlessly about cruising because I love (or did prior to Covid) cruising. Yes, it always takes a lot of pre-work to pull off a cruise when you have accessibility issues; but when you take your time and find a good one, its sooooooo worth it. I’ve actually spent some time myself working with the folks at Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises to help them with design help for accessible travelers on-board their ships and feel like the cruise company has come a long way in just the last decade.
You do need to be careful though of cruising on older ships because although their interiors may have been “revamped” or “refreshed”, there are still limitations to what types of structural changes can be made on the ships. I’ve noticed ships built after 2010 seem to be designed better, but have been seeing changes along the way for the last 20 years. Safest thing is to actually contact the cruise companies directly :selfie:and talk to them about the ships accessibility features since the websites rarely share those kind of details.
I do want to share a tip I learned years back about how to actually cruise affordable and accessible. We verified with several of the cruise lines that the very first cabins to sell-out when the new schedules are posted for future years, are the suites and accessible rooms (especially the more affordable inside and window cabins) :exploding_head:. That’s why those always seem to be sold-out way before the cruises; even when the other 90% of the ship is unsold.
And if you’re wondering why it seems that the accessible cabins are more than other rooms in the same category? It’s because the cruise line actually has multiple sub-categories of that style of room and they tend to make the accessible versions, the top-tier type in that category. :pleading_face: I will be honest with you, we have never been able to get a cruise line to price match with the advertised lowest price on a non-accessible cabin; but who knows since Covid? Maybe the cruise lines are more willing to negotiate now, just to fill the ships better? :pray:
If you get a chance, check out this great Vlog series on YouTube about cruising with disabilities; these guys are hilarious and think of things I would never think to check, (and somehow seem to always be cruising A.B.C.). So lucky. :video_camera:
Cruising with Wheels on Youtube

Ok everyone, we want to hear all about your cruise experiences? :ship: Let’s learn from each other and help encourage more folks to try cruising. Also if you have specific questions about cruising, please post those too and I am sure one of us will have an answer for you (or all of us…lol).
(Plus I am dying to hear about the post-Covid world of cruising; aren’t you?)

Keep on traveling everyone; It’s our world too! :wheelchair: :earth_americas:

-Russell :kissing_heart:

“Sailing, takes me away… to where I’ve always heard it could be…” :sailboat:

It is so frustrating that the cruise lines still feel the need to rip off us single travellers. Having said that there are some cruise lines that have given us some consideration. Fred. Olsen have gone above and beyond in the experience they offer their solo guests. The company provides 190 single xabins across their fleet of 4 ocean ships, Balmoral, Braemar, Bolette and Borealis and their new river cruise Brabant with a reduced (or Waived) single supplement on a number of cruises worldwide. They also offer exclusive gatherings to enable travellers to get to know each other with staff seating you toegther for dinner or arranging companionship when going ashore. There are also dance hosts onboard the ship and all ships offer adapted cabins.

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) have repeatedly been voted Porthole Magazine’s Best Cruise Line for Solo Travellers, and for good reason. The Epic, Breakaway and Getaway’s snug studios are purpose-built for people cruising alone and come with no extra charges, and guests staying in them are given exclusive key-access to a double-height communal lounge to meet and mingle. There’s a whiteboard to display messages for fellow guests, so it’s easy to arrange a get-together or post a time for a shore excursion meet. Solo gatherings are available each day and provide a great way to get tablemates for dinners and shows. All NCL ships are fully accessible.

More than a fifth of Saga’s over-50 travellers prefer to travel alone and with more than 100 single cabins across the fleet they are well catered for. The ‘Singles Mingle’ drinks party and exclusive ‘Singles Lunch’ are an excellent opportunity to meet other solo travellers and organise meals or outings together. Cocktail parties are hosted for solo cruises and there are get-togethers before each port for those who’d like to go ashore with a companion, with dedicated Solo Hosts that will seat new friends together on shore excursions. All restaurants offer open seating so you can opt to share your meal with other single guests, reserve a table to share with new friends, or take pot luck and dine with different guests each night - the maître d’ will be happy to arrange everything for you. The complimentary chauffeur service for passengers living within 250 miles of their departure port is especially attractive when travelling alone. Adapted cabins are available on all Saga ship.

Sam, I stay on the ship a lot of the time. I think its fabulous as I have the whole thing pretty much to myself but bear in mind some passengers feel the need to come back and claim their ‘free’ lunch before going back out again. All the bars and facilities stay open when in port and you can grab the best sun loungers, lol. Please don’t feel self-conscious as there are quite a lot of people who don’t get off as they might have been to the port before or quite simply want to get the most out of the ship.

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All devices can be taken on a cruise ship as long as you inform the cruise line at the time of booking and book the appropriate cabin for your special need and equipment. Most British ports offer wheelchair assistance at the terminal and companies like ‘Mobility at Sea’ will equip your cabin with specialised equipment like electric beds, hoists, raised toilets seats etc and it will be waiting in your cabin for your arrival. Even if you are not a regular wheelchair user it might be wise to book a electronic scooter as people underestimate the distances covered on a ship in a day. If visiting a cruise line’s private island a lot of them have beach wheelchairs. As with everything research is the key.