Cruising with a Disability: What to Know

The word POSH, coincidentally, has nautical and monetary roots and due to the intense sun refers to the cooler side of a ship in which to occupy cabin space on the early Indian cruises. Port Out Starboard Home later shortened to ‘posh‘ was only affordable by the wealthiest of society. In the early days of cruising the choice of destination was limited to transatlantic ports. However, due to advancements in technology and the effects of globalization, cruises now take in the all of the world popular destinations such as Europe, the Caribbean and the far away reaches of Alaska, to name a few.

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Frequently Asked Cruising Questions:

How long are cruises?
Typically cruises last for 7 or 14 nights, although some cruises can last up to three months for round-the-world trips.

Do I need insurance?
Comprehensive travel insurance is strongly recommended for all travel and is available through your travel agent (providing they are licensed). If you already have travel insurance, please advise us at the time of booking.

Do I need a passport or visa?
All travelers must have a valid passport with them and it is recommended that your passport has at least six months validity after your return date as several countries now require this. If you need a new passport, you should apply in good time prior to your departure date. Some itineraries require that you obtain a visa, depending on where you are travelling to. Details of visa requirements are available from your travel agent or from the cruise line.

Do I need vaccinations?
Some cruises require that you obtain vaccinations for certain itineraries. Full details of vaccination requirements are available from your travel agent. Further information can be obtained from your local travel clinic.

When will I receive my cruise confirmation and tickets?
Your cruise will be confirmed once you have paid your deposit, or final balance, if applicable. About 8 – 10 weeks prior to your departure we will send you all the necessary documents. At this time most Cruise lines; depending on the itinerary are using ‘electric documents’ which essentially means e-docs, which are emailed.

When will I know my flight details (if applicable)?
If you have purchased air with the Cruise line, we may not know exact details of your flights at the time of booking, however, your flights will be with a major airline & not a chartered flight.

How much luggage can I bring?
Typically there is not a restriction; however, if you are flying, the problem may be the limit with the airline.

I’m not fully mobile – is a cruise for me?
Guests who are not fully mobile or have other disabilities are welcome aboard ship.  Cruise lines have special, designated cabins, but availability is limited and early booking is advised. I would be happy to answer questions regarding any disabilities when cruising.

What type of clothes should I take?
First and foremost, dress for comfort. Daily life aboard ship and in ports of call is laid-back and casual. Warmer climates call for clothing made of lightweight, breathable fabrics. For cooler climates we suggest casual clothes that can be layered easily. There is not a strict dress code for the evenings apart from on formal nights, when a dress code may apply for entry. However, there is usually an informal alternative. Otherwise, guests usually follow the suggestion detailed in the daily program: casual, informal (jacket for men), and formal (cocktail dresses for ladies and dinner jacket or dark suit for men). Low-heeled shoes are sensible to wear when walking ashore and do bring your gym wear and trainers if you want to exercise onboard. Remember your swimwear but please note that swimwear is not permitted in the main restaurants and lounges and that shoes are required at all times.

What extras do I need to budget for onboard?
Personal expenses onboard are your responsibility. These services may include, but are not limited to: beauty treatments, on board shopping, photographs taken by the ship’s photographer, telephone calls, faxes, emails, drinks (unless included in the price of your cruise) and shore excursions. Please note that gratuities are normally added to your onboard account. Please check with us for specific details of these charges as they can vary from ship to ship.

Can friends come onboard?
Your friends are always welcome at the port to wave you off. However, due to stringent security measures and to ensure the safety of guests and crew, visitors are not allowed onboard.

What happens when I am flying to join my cruise ship?
If you have organized your flights independently, please note that it is your responsibility to arrive on time for the sailing. When you arrive, you will be met by a representative of the cruise line and you, and your luggage, will be transferred to the ship or to your hotel, if you are staying overnight before joining your cruise. (IF YOU HAVE PURCHASED A TRANSFER WITH THE CRUISELINE) To ensure that you have plenty of time, we suggest that you allow 4 hours before sailing to check in. Embarkation normally commences 3 hours before sailing.

Should I take my camera?
Yes, definitely. There will be picturesque shore excursions and ports and glamorous evenings with new friends that you will want to capture forever. In addition, ship’s photographers are normally present at most events onboard. There is no obligation to buy and photos can be viewed and purchased at your leisure.

Can I use budget flights?
With cheap flights, you can often make a saving this way, although it is your responsibility to make sure you get to the ship in time and you would need to arrange your transfers.

Can I combine a cruise with a Pre- hotel Stays?
Yes, many cruise itineraries really lend itself to it.

Will I miss high profile sporting events?
More and more cruise ships these days have large screens located on the pool deck, meaning, if the reception is clear enough, and the captain allows it, you won’t miss a thing.

What happens if I book a ‘Guarantee’ cabin – when will I know which cabin I have?
In some cases we hear back from the cruise line within 24 hours of booking. In other cases you might not hear of your definitivestateroom number until you embark. In 99% of cases however we can give you the assigned cabin number before we receive tickets.

 

Tarita Davenock (3 Posts)

Having a disability was never a concern in the early stages of MS; however, 18 years later it is foremost in my decision making. Every cruise that I have taken has been accessible; however, some received a better grade than others’. Holland America, RCCL and Celebrity provided exceptional facilities for us ‘difabled’. I pay very close attention to many things; being a Travel Agent, it was my job to learn the dynamics of cruise lines & destinations. So, where to?


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