Top 5 Cruise Lines for Those with Disabilities

Cruising is a great choice of holiday for those people with disabilities.

All the major cruise lines have specific cabins for passengers who are dependent on a wheelchair or scooter for mobility issues or the blind and visually impaired.

When booking your cruise holiday, request an accessible stateroom. The cruise lines will keep this type of cabin open for booking to make sure it remains available for the disabled passenger.

Besides adaptable cabins, several cruise lines have revamped their excursions to accommodate their disabled passengers and help them fully enjoy the ports of call.

When booking be sure to inform the cruise line or agent of your full requirements.

Take a look below to see what the top cruise lines offer for those who thought that a cruise would be too complicated for them.


Their fleet contains some of the largest cruise ships in the world, which are perfect for getting around in a wheelchair. Each one of the Quantum, Freedom, Oasis, Radiance and Vision Class ships have over 30 different types of staterooms.

Many consider Royal Caribbean to be the best cruise line for those with disabilities. They have several items that other ships do not have such as portable room kits, assisted listening devices and even interpreters available for those that are deaf.


There are 28 accessible cabins on every one of their Vista class ships, with 4 inside cabins, 5 outside cabins, 13 balcony cabins and 6 deluxe balcony cabins. The wheelchair accessible tender service is a highly requested feature and Holland America has made it considerably easier for embarking and disembarking the tender.

The Window-Eyes software, available throughout the ship, reads text for those that have impaired vision.

Their latest ship, MS Koningsdam, will have special areas and cabin features to help mobility, especially for getting in and out of the cabin.

Image courtesy of Holland America

Holland America cat SA disabled bathroom


P&O caters to clients in a similar way to Holland America. Their accessible cabins contain wider doorways as well as special ramped access to the balconies.

The bathrooms contain wet room showers as well as grab rails and a shower chair. There are over 70 cabins suited for disabled people as well as elevators with floor buttons at easy reach for those in a wheel-chair.

P&O Cruises also offer special services for those hard of hearing. There are wireless visual systems and special text phones for those that want to communicate around the ship as well as to inform people in case of an emergency situation.

Special hearing aids are also available when you first embark. There are even closed captions available on television.

Image courtesy of P&O Cruises

Britannia Disabled Cabin


Cunard offers plenty of cabins that are suitable for disabled people. The Queen Mary 2 for example has cabins that are very spacious and feature extra large balconies for maximum viewing pleasure. The cabins also contain Braille signs and audio descriptive emergency warnings.

There are also 36 staterooms equipped for those hard of hearing. All ships provide complimentary assistive listening devices for hard of hearing guests. They are available upon request for use in the theatres and the planetarium. Cunard does have a limited number of wheelchairs available for hire onboard their ships.


Princess Cruises began their Access program in 1992 and today, their fleet has more than 350 wheelchair accessible cabins. They contain larger doorways, shower rooms, low closet railings and no thresholds in some parts. Special gangways allow for easy access to and from their ships.

The ships also contain easily accessible restaurants, theatres, spas and lounges. Elevators are equipped with arrival sounds and all theatres have infrared listening assistance systems. The portable room kits feature visual alert systems for door knocking, telephones, and smoke detectors. The ship libraries also contain a large amount of Braille books and books on tape.

Image courtesy of Princess Cruises

Crown Princess Tender

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Have you used an accessible cruise cabin? Let us know your verdict below.

Crystal Cruises to Have Largest River Vessel

Crystal Mozart Rendering

Regular cruisers are always seeking something different for their next adventure and one sector of the industry that has in recent years been growing in popularity is river cruising.

More and more seafaring cruise lines including Crystal Cruises have been looking into this lucrative niche. Crystal is known to cater to passengers seeking ultra-luxury. They have gathered many awards for their fine service such as being voted by Travel + Leisure readers for 20 consecutive years as the “World’s Best Large Ship Cruise Line” and as Conde Nast Traveller’s Reader Choice Awards for the past 22 years as the “World’s Best Cruise Ship”.

Crystal recently made headlines with the announcement that they were extending their signature quality to the rivers of Europe. Two new river cruise ships sailing under the name of Crystal River Cruises were due to set sail in March 2017.

News in the cruise industry can change quickly and the CEO Edie Rodriguez made it known that the company had a change of plans. They will launch three more luxury river vessels than previously announced; now totaling five in all. Crystal believe this expansion will pay off, making them serious players in the river sector. The new river cruise line will now commence earlier than planned and begin sailing in 2016.

Crystal River Vessel

One of the ships scheduled to embark on July 13, 2016 along the Danube River is the former MS Mozart. This vessel was built in 1987 and is scheduled to be the largest river cruise ship on European waters, holding more than 160 passengers and measuring 75.1 feet wide. She is presently going through an extensive dry dock refurbishment and will be known as “Crystal Mozart”.

Crystal Mozart cabins all have window views and the smallest suites have a spacious 203 square feet. The deluxe suites follow at 215 square feet; whilst 322 square feet is the size of the penthouse suite. The two-bedroom Crystal Suites are the largest on any river ship measuring a massive 860 square feet. Several venues are available for dining and there is a wraparound promenade. Everything for a luxurious stay is available including a spa, salon and fitness center, an indoor pool and library.

Crystal River Cruises Suite

“Once the transformation of Crystal Mozart is completed, it will truly be the crown jewel of the European rivers” stated Edie Rodriguez.

The remaining four vessels are being built at the German shipyard, Lloyd Werft and each vessel is appropriately being named as “Crystal Bach“,“Crystal Debussy“, “Crystal Mahler“ and the “Crystal Ravel”. Their designs will be along the lines of luxurious yachts and feature the ‘best of the best’ in amenities.

Cabins will boast walk in wardrobes and king sized beds. Debuting in June and August 2017, all of the ships cabins will be suites with the smallest cabins measuring a spacious 220 square feet. The next sizes measure in at 250 square feet (deluxe suite), 500 square feet (penthouse) and 750 square feet (the two-bedroom Crystal Suite). Tentative sailing schedules will offer the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers for two of these new vessels. Both will hold 110 passengers.

The other two are more intimate with an 84 passenger capacity. One of the smaller vessels will follow the Garonne and Dordogne rivers route, whilst the other will sail on the river Seine.

All of the new vessels will feature “spacious public areas” including the Palm Court with a dance floor and glass domed roof. There will also be fitness center, spa, and library. Sporting equipment will be provided for intensive activities such as biking around the countryside or kayaking along the tributaries on exciting excursions, known as “Crystal Adventures”.

The cruise line also plans on including overnight stays which will allow passengers a chance to enjoy the essence of the ship’s destinations after dark.

Crystal River Cruises promises that no matter which of the itineraries are chosen, the passenger will be presented with many scenic stopovers along the way. Bookings for the 2016/17 season on any of the new vessels will begin on the 30th of November.

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Anthem of the Seas delights New York!

Anthem of the Seas arrived in New York on Wednesday. The sister ship of Quantum of the Seas will be based in Cape Liberty New Jersey where she will embark on seven to twelve night itineraries to the Caribbean, Bermuda and the Bahamas.

The ship which carries over 4000 passengers was based in Southampton initially and her first sailing on 22 April was an eight night voyage to France & Spain. After her maiden voyage she spent the summer season visiting the Mediterranean, Canary Islands and Northern Europe.

San Juan as a Port of Call

San Juan

The Caribbean cruise season is about to commence with many cruise lines making a port of call at San Juan. On average, nearly two million passengers arrive at this port every year. The San Juan Harbour is the fourth busiest in the Western Hemisphere with many ships stopping here on their Caribbean cruise itineraries whilst others actually start and finish at the port.

The allure of San Juan is quite multi-faceted with the contrast from the modern portion of the resort area to the antiquity of the old town.

The capital of Puerto Rico has no problem accommodating this many passengers as there are two modern terminals with a total docking capacity for nine cruise ships on any given day.

The two ports (Old San Juan Pier and Pan American Pier) are strategically located in the harbour.


If arriving at this pier, you are placed in the heart of Old San Juan. From here you can visit most of the main points of interest of this colonial city that was Columbus’s second discovery. For passengers with limited mobility it is possible to take advantage of exploring the city with the use of a free trolley.


The Pan American Pier is located one mile away from Old San Juan. It is managed by Royal Caribbean and is a much needed and more recent pier. These docks were built to serve larger Mega-Ships. To reach the city centre, the ship may provide a shuttle service. However, if it doesn’t you’ll need a taxi which you can find by heading to the “Ground Transportation” booth when leaving the pier.

Ships in San Juan Port


Many of the attractions of Old San Juan can easily be seen and appreciated on foot. If you wish to save your energy, one of the best ways of getting around in the old town and historic areas is by trolley which will even take you to El Morro for free.

You could also rent an electric bicycle and explore on your own which gives you an opportunity to expand to other areas near to San Juan.

All cruise lines offer excursions for many of the island’s attractions. Check at the ships excursion desk or book online before you travel.


San Juan has been a top winter beach destination since the 1960’s. The long stretch of Atlantic coast to where it meets the Caribbean is home to a staggering variety of beaches. Noticing its potential, in the late 70s ships such as Costa Carla C, Cunard’s Countess and several Princess ships made stops in San Juan.

Feel the distinction of the city’s Spanish influence with its Colonial architecture harmoniously blending in with a touch of Havana Latino flavour. Steeped in history, San Juan has two notable forts, El Morro and Castillo San Cristóbal. Actively used (most recently in World War II), El Morro has been named a World Heritage Site. It is the largest fortification in the Caribbean.

San Juan - El Morro

The “Plaza del Mercado” allows visitors to catch a glimpse of real life in Puerto Rico.

Housed in the old Spanish barracks, The Museum of the Americas introduces visitors to Caribbean civilisation and history including the arrivals of slaves in the new world.

Many visitors confirm you won’t be disappointed with the beaches in Puerto Rico. Many of the fine sandy beaches have loungers and umbrellas for rent and a vast array of water sports. The nearest beaches to the cruise ports are in Condado area and Isla Verde.

Listed as the only rainforest in the U.S. Forest Service, El Yunque National Park (aka Caribbean National Forest) envelops the island of Puerto Rico and its rainforest covering over 25,000 impressive acres of wildlife and lush tropical vegetation. Bike tours with a guide are a popular choice to cover much of the park.

Outdoor enthusiasts should also visit the Rio Camuy Caves and its 10 miles of caverns.

For the active and adventurous types, go zip lining or mountain climbing on an eco-tour or play golf on one of the beautiful golf courses that have been used for the PGA Tour’s Puerto Rico Open.

If you want to find out about special offers that include San Juan please request more details here.

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Harmony of the seas debuts next spring and is getting a lot of attention on Twitter with the hashtag #getmeonharmony

The ship will be the third in Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class and the largest of the entire fleet. Give this fantastic project some oomph by Retweeting below!