Accessible Travel: Cruises for Wheelchair Users

The world is paying more attention to accessibility, and the cruise industry is no exception. From vessels to ports, cruise lines are increasingly aware of the need to cater to travelers with specialized healthcare needs.

Even with this new inclusivity, traveling with a wheelchair can be challenging. Spin the Globe, a blog dedicated to wheelchair accessible travel, breaks down how to pick a cruise line suitable for wheelchair users.

Choosing a Cruise Line:

How does someone choose the right cruise? The key is to find a cruise that offers an accessible ship and itinerary.

Before choosing a cruise line, look for wheelchair-friendly ships that dock at ports where a wheelchair user can easily get on and off the ship. It is also helpful to look for port cities that offer wheelchair-accessible tours, sidewalks and transportation.

The Cruise Critic recommends booking a vacation on cruise lines’ newest vessels to help ensure the most advanced accommodations for travelers with disabilities.

Cruises to Consider:

Sylvia Longmire, wheelchair user and travel blogger for Spin the Globe, has compiled a list of the most accessible cruise vacations from around the world. Here are some of her favorites:

Royal Caribbean 8-Night Scandinavia and Russia

Departing from Copenhagen, Denmark, this Royal Caribbean cruise docks in four ports throughout an 8-night span.

Travelers will experience:

  • Stockholm, Sweden
  • Tallinn, Estonia
  • Petersburg, Russia
  • Helsinki, Finland

The ship, Serenade of the Seas, features accessible staterooms, no-threshold balconies, pushbutton access to public restrooms and wheelchair-only seats in the theater, according to Longmire. In terms of the itinerary, wheelchair-accessible tours are available at each port of call.

Princess 7-Day Alaska Inside Passage

The Alaska Inside Passage from Princess is a 7-day trip that docks in various locations.

The vacation includes stops at:

  • Juneau
  • Skagway
  • Glacier Bay
  • Ketchikan

The ship embarks and disembarks out of Seattle, Washington. (Sidenote: In a study conducted by the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, Seattle was ranked as the most livable U.S. city for wheelchair users.)

Celebrity 12-Night Israel and Mediterranean

Embarking from Rome, Italy, Celebrity’s 12-Night Israel and Mediterranean cruise offers an accessible way to sail the Mediterranean. This trip takes place on the Celebrity ship, Apex, and docks at 7 different ports.

The list includes:

  • Rome, Italy
  • Olympia, Greece
  • Athens, Greece
  • Ephesus, Turkey
  • Haifa, Israel
  • Jerusalem, Israel
  • Limassol, Cyprus

Celebrity Cruises have a reputation for accessibility. According to accessibility blogger The Points Guy, Celebrity cruises offer accessible staterooms, public restrooms, elevators, dining and entertainment options.

To learn more about accessible cruising and travel, such as how to evaluate a ship’s public spaces and how to pre-gauge the accessibility of a vacation, visit Spin the Globe.

*Disclaimer: Any health and wellness content presented is for general informational purposes only. Such content is not intended to replace or serve as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.