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Top 5 Accessible Cruise Lines

25 August 2023

Wonder of the Seas

When it comes to accessibility, certain cruise lines are paving the way to more accessible cruising, to ensure that everyone is catered for and can have an incredible getaway. From accessible cabins on cruise ships, to accessible amenities throughout the ship and accessible shore excursions, cruise lines are ensuring that guests with mobility issues, developmental disabilities and hearing and visual impairments have all the amenities they require both onboard and ashore.

Although several cruise lines have accessible amenities in place, there are five major cruise lines in particular that have extensive accessible facilities and services in place; Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, Holland America Line, P&O Cruises and Carnival Cruise Line.

Read on to find out more about the top 5 accessible cruise lines.

Royal Caribbean

Anthem of the Seas
Anthem of the Seas

Royal Caribbean is the first major cruise line to prioritise accessibility throughout its fleet. With 28 cruise ships, including Anthem of the Seas, Wonder of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas, onboard there are several features that cater for guests with different disabilities.

Royal Caribbean Accessible Rooms

Accessible Junior Suite with Balcony on Grandeur of the Seas
Accessible Junior Suite with Balcony on Grandeur of the Seas‌ ‌

Firstly, there are accessible staterooms that are designed for guests with mobility issues and other disabilities. These accessible cabins feature larger sleeping, sitting and bathroom areas (159 sq.ft to 298 sq.ft) to allow for easier manoeuvrability.

Each of the staterooms feature grab bars, a fold-down shower bench, lowered sinks and other accessible features. All ships also have roll-in showers, excluding Quantum of the Seas which has an accessible bath.

Royal Caribbean Accessible Shore Excursions

Royal Caribbean also offers accessible shore excursions that accommodate wheelchairs, walkers and other mobility devices. With accessible transport, step-free routes and local independent operators that have previously offered tours for those with accessibility needs.

Alongside mobility issues, Royal Caribbean is one of the most autism-friendly cruise lines, offering initiatives for those with autism and other developmental disabilities. These products and services include sensory friendly films, priority boarding, dietary menu options and more. Visual and hearing impairments are also catered for, including braille/tactile signage throughout the ship, orientation tours, a visual-tactile alert system and more.

When booking a Royal Caribbean cruise, there is a guest special needs form that needs to be filled out in order for the cruise line to accommodate a guest with a disability.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Prima
Norwegian Prima

“Norwegian Cruise Line is committed to providing inclusivity and access to world-class holiday experiences by continuously improving and applying the most updated accessibility standards to exceed our guests expectations.” - Norwegian Cruise Line’s mission statement.

Norwegian Cruise Line is another major cruise line that offers extensive accessibility assistance for those with disabilities. With 19 ships in their fleet, they aim to give guests the “freedom of choice to cruise your way”. Within the cruise line there is a team of Accessibility Coordinators that will contact you ahead of your cruise to discuss accessibility requirements (after you have filled out a guest special needs request form).

For guests with mobility issues, Norwegian Cruise Line has wheelchairs on board that can be used for embarkation and disembarkation. Although they recommend that you bring your own wheelchair/mobility aid if possible, there are companies that you can use to rent wheelchairs that can be used onboard.

Norwegian Cruise Line Accessible Rooms

Accessible Balcony Stateroom on Norwegian Dawn
Accessible Balcony Stateroom on Norwegian Dawn

There are wheelchair accessible staterooms throughout all of their cruise ships, which offer wider door frames, shower benches, roll-in showers, handrails and other accessible features. Motorised scooters and wheelchairs are allowed in all accessible staterooms (if they are adaptable to 110 volts and powered by gel-cell batteries). All Norwegian Cruise Line ships have pool lifts and accessible bathrooms throughout. And on embarkation day, a staff member will be able to help with accessibility needs.

Those with developmental disabilities are also catered for, with services such as boarding and disembarkation assistance available throughout the cruise. Those with hearing and visual impairments have access to amenities and services such as a visual-tactile alert system in their cabins, pagers to assist with ship announcements and more.

Holland America Line

Nieuw Statendam
Nieuw Statendam

Next up is Holland America Line. A cruise line that was founded in the late 19th century, it has 11 cruise ships in its fleet. Boasting numerous amenities and services designed with accessibility in mind, Holland America Line wants to ensure that a cruise onboard their fleet is safe and comfortable for everyone.

Holland America Line Accessible Rooms

Firstly, all of their fleet is fitted with accessible staterooms for guests that require mobility assistive features. There are three types of accessible stateroom available onboard Holland America Line cruise ships:

For guests with hearing impairments, there are certain services available onboard Holland America Line, including visual-tactile alert kits in staterooms, telephones with amplified sound and written safety information. For guests with visual impairments, there is screen reader computer software available in the Explorations Cafe, screen reader programmes for daily activities and other news onboard, a familiarisation tour available and braille menus.

Holland America Line can also accommodate guests with developmental disabilities. Ahead of a cruise, guests can get in contact with the Guest Accessibility Department to inform them of any specific requirements that need to be met. The cruise line can then determine the best way to accommodate these needs, and recommend any accessible services/amenities onboard.

P&O Cruises

P&O Britannia
P&O Britannia

Britain's biggest cruise line, P&O Cruises currently has 7 ships within its fleet. Offering international cruises, including cruises that set sail from Southampton, it’s a popular cruise line with UK guests that are looking for a no-fly option. Welcoming guests with both mobility issues and other disabilities, after you have filled in the questionnaire sent ahead of your cruise, P&O Cruises will get in touch with you about how they can cater for your individual requirements.

P&O Cruises Accessible Cabins

Accessible Sea View Cabin on P&O Cruises
Accessible Sea View Cabin on P&O Cruises ‌ ‌

Throughout P&O Cruises fleet there are accessible cabins which feature the following:

P&O Cruises advises that partially adapted cabins are not suitable for those with mobility scooters or wheelchairs. Collapsible wheelchairs (that measure less than 51 cm in width) can be taken into any cabin onboard.

Alongside accessible cabins, around the ships there are other accessible features such as:

P&O Cruises also offer accessible shore experiences, offering a range of activities designed to cater for mobility and other disability needs.

Carnival Cruises

Carnival Celebration
Carnival Celebration

And finally, there is Carnival Cruise Line. With 24 ships in the fleet, it has been welcoming guests since 1972. Throughout their fleet, they have teams of trained crew members and a variety of accessible features to assist those with disabilities. Frequently making modifications to their ships to ensure that they are as accessible as possible, they offer areas around the ship alongside staterooms to cater for guests that require special assistance.

Most areas of their ships have accessible routes and in the Lido Deck, main dining room and other dining venues there are accessible tables. In the onboard pools onboard Carnival Horizon, Carnival Celebration, Carnival Jubilee, Carnival Radiance, Carnival Pride, Carnival Panorama, Carnival Mardi Gras, Carnival Vista and Carnival Sunrise, there are lifts available.

Carnival Cruise Line Accessible Rooms

Accessible Ocean Suite on Carnival Venezia
Accessible Ocean Suite on Carnival Venezia‌ ‌

Onboard Carnival Cruise Line there are specially designed staterooms to cater for those with accessibility needs. Guests that require these staterooms, are asked to fill out a mobility questionnaire ahead of travelling, to ensure that their requirements are catered for.

Similarly to Holland America Line, Carnival Cruise Line has three types of accessible cabins:

Carnival Cruise Line also offers facilities for those with visual or hearing impairments, including a visual-tactile cabin alert system, assistive listening headsets, sign language interpreters and other facilities throughout the ship.

Carnival Cruise Line is a sensory inclusive company (certified by KultureCity®) that has activities for those with developmental disabilities throughout their ship. From crew that have been trained on how to assist guests with sensory/cognitive needs, to noise-cancelling headphones, visual feeling thermometers and other amenities.

Book a Getaway with Iglu Cruise Today

If you’re interested in booking a cruise, look no further than Iglu Cruise’s cruise deals. With cruises sailing to a variety of different destinations, you’ll be able to find the best cruise getaway for you. Book today and enjoy a holiday of a lifetime!

You can also read our recent blog - The Top 10 Global Disability Friendly Tourist Destinations to find out about some of the world’s most accessible hot spots.

*Whether you’re looking at booking a cruise with any of the above cruise lines or another cruise line, be sure to read all accessibility terms and conditions to ensure that you are fully aware of the services and amenities that are included ahead of time.

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