Cruise ships may look large on the outside, but for a person that’s bound to a wheelchair, the thought of going inside may be a bit intimidating. While navigating the ship in a wheelchair may seem scary, there are some tips for smooth sailing. Here’s what you need to know.
Before the day of your cruise departure, speak with guest services and request pier assistance. Anyone with limited mobility has priority boarding access. Your worries should decrease knowing that you won’t have anyone trampling over you as they’re trying to get on board, as you’ll already be on the ship.
About 98% of public transportation buses are appropriately equipped to accommodate people in wheelchairs, but how are cruise ships equipped? It’s important to note that only specific wheelchair vendors are allowed on the ship. Contact the cruise line to see if your wheelchair makes the cut. If it doesn’t, the ship should have some chairs that can be rented out for the duration of the trip. The rental can be delivered directly to your cabin, so you don’t have to worry about trying to find the wheelchairs when boarding.
If the ship you’re riding on accepts your type of wheelchair and it’s a power version, check to see if all electrical supplies on the boat will work with your charger. If they do, it’s a good idea to pack a power strip and an extension cord since outlets in the cabins are limited.
Even if you use a power chair, it’s a good idea to either bring a manual, folding wheelchair or have one reserved for you on board. You never know what could happen to your wheelchair while sailing and you don’t want to be stuck in your room the entire trip. The manual wheelchair will also be helpful if you plan to get off the boat at different ports.
Cruises can be a lot of fun but can be very intimidating for someone with a physical disability. Take the time prior to your trip to make sure you’re prepared and enjoy.