What is the best cruise line for someone who has a disability?
Which ship is right for a wheelchair user or a slow walker?
How to choose the best cruise vacation for you!We're often asked, "What's the best cruise line for someone in a wheelchair or who can't walk very much?" There isn't a 'one size fits all" answer. When assisting you to the best choice of cruise for you, we look for the options that best fit your personal interests and your personal ability level.
Our clients present a very varied level of budgets, lengths of cruise vacations and past travel histories. And preferences are just as varied on reasons for vacations, why our clients enjoy doing most during trips and with whom they are traveling. We have worked with clients who are temporarily disabled due to a surgery recovery and we've worked with vent-dependent full-time power wheelchair users.
So, as you can see, there's no one answer of the best cruise line or ship. A ship which might be the perfect match for one person could be a disaster for another. To ascertain the best choices, one of our Accessible Vacation Specialists will ask you many questions.
All cruise lines offer a great vacation to their passengers.
They come with huge differences in amenities and pricing. Here are some of the differences.
Luxury Lines: Crystal Cruises, Cunard, Regent Seven Seas, Seaborn, Silversea
5 STAR – These lines appeal to the traveler who wants the finest quality with amenities and services that rival 6-star resorts. Most are on smaller yacht-style or mid-size ships (200-800 passengers). Pricing often begins at $3000-4000/person for shorter cruises but may be much higher. Guests tend to be well educated and well traveled. They know their preferences as to brand liquor, quality cuisine, and service on ships with a smaller ratio of staff to guests. The atmosphere is refined; there are often unique lecturers and experts on board. The ships or yachts cater to the smallest whim with an attention to detail. Dress for dinner is usually more formal, but with a few business casual nights. The higher prices may be a better overall value since they often include gratuities, most beverages, perhaps a few excursions, and a lot of extras. The cabins are often suites, usually with more square footage than a popular cruise line, and the amenities in the cabins often stretch to marble bathrooms with twin sinks, Jacuzzi tubs, upgraded beds, and extra service. Usually, these ships have a more exotic itinerary than the popular lines, often longer itineraries of 14-more nights.
Premium Lines: Celebrity Cruises, Holland America Line, Oceania Cruises, Princess Cruises
4 STAR - Premium cruise lines may appeal more to adults or to people who want some of the extras offered by luxury lines, but overall prefer a more sophisticated experience than that found on the Popular lines. They have fewer formal nights than luxury lines, but people tend to dress more formally than on Popular ships. They tend to attract more adults (and less children). The ships have cabins and suites. They provide some amenities such as nice china and linens, a better quality of cuisine and more brand name drinks. They tend to have fewer public announcements on the ship, more enrichment lectures or classes, and less “active” activities than found on most Popular lines. They tend to have more emphasis on personal service, spa treatments, artwork, etc Most have children’s programs but they may be limited during sailings where children are not typically expected. These ships are generally very large, with larger casinos, pools, dining rooms, theaters, etc. than those found on luxury lines.
Popular Lines: Carnival Cruise Lines, Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean International
3 STAR Popular – Popular cruises offer lots of amenities usually in a casual environment. These ships have lots of activities on large new or renovated ships with modern design on new. There is heavy emphasis on fun activities such as multiple pools and pool activities, sports, spas, fitness activities, nightlife and great entertainment. Rates include accommodations, all food on board the ship, 3 shipboard meals per day, 24-hour room service. The children’s clubs and facilities are more extensive - with slides and/or fountains in their play and pool area, lots of games and crafts, teen centers and disco, Rates generally from $50 - $150 per person per day.
2 STAR Popular – Almost all of the Popular lines have older ships. These ships may be refurbished with fresh décor and linens but may lack the glass and glamour, specialty restaurants, and shopping promenade that can be found on their newer sister ships. They are often used for short 4-5 night cruises to the Western Caribbean or the Bahamas from Florida, Galveston, New Orleans, or Mobile. They may be smaller ships than the newer siblings, and they almost always offer better prices for those on a tight budget.
Specialty Lines (river boats, discovery ships, paddle wheelers): America West Steamboat, Cruise West, Delta Queen Steamboat Company
These ships often operate on rivers in the U.S. (Mississippi, Ohio, Columbia), on the Great Lakes, in Canada, and along European rivers (riverboats or barges for canals). Some of these lines cruise in oceans but in specific regions that concentrate on adventure or a particular theme such as Baja Mexico whale watching, Alaska steamboating, Caribbean sailing schooners, Costa Rica, Galapagos, Big Band, Rock ‘N Roll, Christian “Steps of Paul” Mediterranean family and student cruises, and much more. Only a few of these lines offer full wheelchair accessibility – primarily the U.S. river cruise boats. These ships tend to be small ships, allowing them to visit smaller ports that a big ship cannot, and are usually priced closer to what the Luxury lines charge. They usually appeal to be who are destination, education, or theme-oriented.