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Tips on Cruises for Seniors with Disabilities & Other Ages, Wheelchair Use on the Ship, Stateroom Accessibility, and More

Traveling with a disability can be an intimidating process as you wonder if the accommodations will really be able to meet your needs and if personnel you encounter will be understanding and knowledgeable on persons with disabilities. A cruise is a way to put your mind at ease since cruises are often an excellent way to travel with a disability comfortably and safely.

We think exploring the world should be available to everyone and make our cruises as accessible as possible for those traveling with a wheelchair or other disability.

In this guide, we’ll cover using a wheelchair in port, stateroom accessibility, cruises for seniors with disabilities and special rates that may apply, traveling solo with a disability, shore excursions with a wheelchair or other disability, and other important things you need to know. We’ve also included aspects of our cruises that assist passengers traveling with blindness, autism, and dialyses needs.

What to Know About Stateroom Accessibility on a Cruise

Stateroom accessibility is a very important part of cruising with a disability and you’ll want to make sure you pick a ship that has a stateroom that meets your needs and which you or a loved one traveling with a disability can be comfortable in.

We want to make it possible for every traveler to easily see the world and so we have accessible staterooms on our cruise ships to make cruising with a disability a convenient and stress-free vacation.

Our accessible staterooms are designed for ease of use. The doors are wider than our traditional staterooms in order for a wheelchair to fit through, and there is no doorsill to enter the stateroom. The shower is also wheelchair friendly with roll-in accessibility and a handheld showerhead and fold-down shower bench. In addition, the bathrooms in our accessible staterooms have lowered vanities and sinks, higher toilets, ramped thresholds to the bathroom, and grab bars.

The living area of the staterooms on our ships are also conveniently designed for cruisers with a disability. You’ll find lowered closet rods to make hanging your wardrobe and choosing an outfit each day easier. Select staterooms also have a five-foot turning radius to make it easier to get around. For those who love a sea breeze and some fresh air, a wheelchair accessible balcony is even available if booked into an accessible Veranda Stateroom.

Book early if you need a stateroom that is wheelchair accessible or if you have mobility issues that require one of the staterooms equipped for those with disabilities. There are a limited number of these types of staterooms and though they are held for cruisers with disabilities until all other staterooms on the ship are sold out, they may still sell out early depending on the itinerary and time of year.

To reserve an accessible stateroom with us, you’ll simply need to fill out a Guest Special Needs Form at the time of booking. Not only does this form reserve an accessible stateroom, it also tells us other needs you may have during your cruise so we can make it a wonderful one. You’ll be able to list special needs and dietary restrictions on the form, and request extra amenities to make your cruise travels easier. Some of these include large print materials, teletypewriter, portable hearing room kit, and assistive listening devices.

This form is also where you can request an accessible stateroom with a roll-in shower (subject to availability).

If traveling with a wheelchair, this form also helps the crew to know of any help or special details that need to be known about your wheelchair. We understand a wheelchair is vitally important and expensive so want to make sure we are prepared to accommodate both you and your wheelchair. The form will have spaces to fill out the dimensions of your wheelchair, if it folds or not, and what type of battery it has.

It’s also important to note that the width of the doors for the accessible staterooms are 32 inches wide (nine inches wider than standard stateroom doors on our ships) and your wheelchair must be able to fit through it since it must be stored in the room. If you have an electric wheelchair, it also must be charged in your stateroom.

The same goes for those traveling with a power scooter. You’ll want to make sure it can fit through the door and be stored in the stateroom.

You’ll find the majority of accessible staterooms are conveniently located near elevators. In addition, you may want to check what end of the ship is best for you and pick an accessible stateroom on the end of the ship closest to the public areas you’ll be frequenting the most.

For example, if you know you’ll want to catch the shows at the theater each night, book a stateroom right above it so that you can easily get down to it to get your preferred spot and then quickly get back to your room after the show ends.

You also may prefer to be on the side of the ship closest to the pool deck or the spa if you think you’ll be spending a lot of time there. Our Celebrity-Solstice class of ships have one pool and one whirlpool that are equipped with lifts.

If you’re a huge spa fan, book one of the accessible AquaClass Staterooms. AquaClass guests get unlimited access to the relaxation rooms in the spa’s Persian Garden or SEA Thermal Suite (depending on the ship class you’re sailing on). AquaClass staterooms are also located close to the spa for easy access and come with perks such as daily fruit delivery, a selection of teas in your stateroom, and extra luxurious bedding and robes and high-end shower panels. You’ll also have a spa concierge to arrange treatments for you and you’ll get priority seating at Blu, an exclusive spa-inspired restaurant on board that focuses on clean eating without compromising on taste.

Wheelchair Assistance for Embarking and Disembarking

For those who don’t wish to travel with a wheelchair of their own, but need extra help getting to and from the ship on embarkation day or in ports, you can request a wheelchair be waiting for you upon arrival. Similar to airport assistance when flying, one of our crew team members will help escort you to your stateroom.

Traveling Alone with a Disability on a Cruise

Unlike some cruise lines, we don’t require that guests with disabilities have a travel partner on board. On the Guest Special Needs Form you can mark if you’ll need help with a wheelchair or power scooter upon arrival to get it (and yourself) on the ship. Once on the ship, you’ll need to be able to get around on your own, though our crew will provide reasonable mobility assistance if you need help accessing areas of the ship that are not accessible.

However, it’s important to note that our crew does not need to assist with any personal tasks, such as eating, getting dressed, or using the bathroom. If you need help with personal tasks, consider traveling with a friend or family member who can help since all our accessible staterooms are double occupancy.

Tips for Your Medication

If you have medication you must take, be sure to pack it in your carry-on and keep it with you when boarding. Pack enough medication for your entire trip since there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to get more in port. When filling out Celebrity Cruises’ Guest Special Needs Form, you can also request a sharps container or mini refrigerator if required for your medicine.

Accessible Shore Excursions

We understand that exploring off the ship with a disability may be a daunting activity, but we make it easy for you with accessible shore excursions and even have a dedicated team to help cruisers with disabilities plan fun and memorable days in port that can accommodate their wheelchair or any other disability or mobility restrictions you may have.

Before your cruise departs, reach out to our accessible shore excursion team via email and let them know the ports you’re visiting and what sort of things you’re hoping to see and do while there. The shore excursion specialist can help you learn which shore excursions are accessible in that port and which is right for you.

Common types of accessible shore excursions that you’ll find around the world include tours of city centers and ancient ruins, scenic drives, and beach breaks.

Tour boats may be accessible, too, making it possible to ferry over to islands across from the port city or to do whale watching or other animal viewing adventures. There are even accessible trams that can accommodate wheelchairs that provide scenic views overlooking the terrain (such as the Mount Roberts Tramway in Juneau, Alaska).

Choose Your Itinerary Wisely

We make things on board as easy as possible for cruisers with mobility restrictions or other disabilities, but one thing we can’t control is what the port is like. At certain ports of call, the port gangways are not wheelchair friendly, though this is rare. More common of an issue are the accessibility of the tender ports. Depending on your equipment it may not be possible for you to take the tender boat ashore. Power wheelchair and mobility scooters may not be taken on tenders unless roll-on capability is available. Therefore, you may want to try and book a cruise that doesn’t stop at too many tender ports. You can learn more by speaking with our tender accessibility team who will have all the information about each port’s accessibility so you can make an informed decision when choosing an itinerary. You can also visit our tender accessibility webpage to learn more.

When planning your cruise as a person with a disability, it’s also important to keep in mind the countries you’ll be visiting. Some countries have stricter laws that businesses need to follow in order to make sure common areas in the place of business are easily accessible for people with a disability.

Cruises for Seniors with Disabilities

If you’re age 55 or older and looking for cruises for seniors with disabilities, Celebrity Cruises can not only accommodate your disability, but also may make things easier on your pocketbook, too. Select sailings, particularly if booking last minute, sometimes have special senior rates. These rates apply even if you’re a senior, but are traveling with someone under the age of 55. You’ll want to double check the rates apply to accessible staterooms if you require one since senior rates often only apply to select staterooms.

To find out if a sailing you’re looking at has senior discount rates and is a good cruise for seniors with disabilities, give us a call and speak with one of our helpful agents who can zero in on exactly what type of cruise is best for you and the best rate you can get for that cruise.

Other Things to Know for Cruisers with Disabilities

Dialyses

Dialyses stations are located on board our ships, though only ambulatory peritoneal dialyses can be administered on board. Celebrity Cruises does not have the ability to administer hemo-dialyses treatments or to provide assistance for any dialyses treatments needed while on board. Guests using peritoneal dialysis will need to have all solutions and equipment that are required to perform the dialysis delivered to the ship at least two hours prior to sailing on embarkation day. Contact us to find out more information on the policies and procedures for guests needing dialyses while on board.

Oxygen

Passengers requiring oxygen cylinders can also bring them on board. You’ll need to let us know the type of oxygen cylinder, the quantity, and the delivery schedule. Check with us on the storage requirements for the ship you’re sailing on since the policies differ from ship to ship; however, you will be able to keep some or all of your oxygen cylinders in your room.

Autism

Our ships have also garnered the Autism Friendly Cruise Line status, a certification handed out by Autism on the Seas to cruise lines that have products and services that are accessible for participation by the autism and developmental disability community. Our ships have autism-friendly activities and entertainment, including sensory-friendly films and toys, special dietary menu options, a staff at the Fun Factory that has had autism-friendly training. Families traveling with a family member who has autism also get priority check-in, boarding, and departure on our cruises.

Visual or Hearing Impaired

Service animals are also allowed on the ship for all itineraries except those sailing to the United Kingdom due to DEFRA regulations. A relief area with cypress mulch is provided for service animals on board.

Signage and elevator buttons have braille on them on all the Celebrity Solstice-class of ships as well as Celebrity Constellation and Celebrity Infinity.

Sign language interpreting services in American Sign Language are available on cruises departing from and/or returning to the U.S. and Canada. A request for these sign language interpreting services must be made at least 60 days prior to sailing. Portable stateroom kits that include a visual-tactile alert system are also available upon request. The kit will provide visual alerts for knocks on the stateroom door, the telephone ringing, an alarm clock notification, and smoke detector alarm.

In addition, closed caption televisions are available in all of our fleet’s staterooms. If you’re hearing impaired and want to enjoy a show in our onboard theater you can take advantage of the Assistive Listening Stations on our Solstice-class of ships.

Don’t Let a Disability Stop You From Traveling – Start Planning Your Cruise Today!

If you have other questions about cruising with a disability or have a medical condition that wasn’t mentioned above, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We have a dedicated team to assist you with your cruise planning with a disability. Email special_needs@celebrity.com or call 866-592-7225.

To start browsing itineraries and staterooms, visit our in-depth and easy to use site to find your ideal cruise. Also be sure to check out Flights by Celebrity, which lets you conveniently book your airfare at the same time you reserve your stateroom, and has accessibility options for those traveling with a disability. With Flights by Celebrity, you have peace of mind due to our Lowest Airfare Guarantee and a Flights by Celebrity team of specialists who will assist you in the case of a flight interruption to get you rebooked as quickly as possible and on your way to your cruise before it departs, or to get back home after your relaxing vacation.

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