Handicapped cruises allow the opportunity for everyone to fully enjoy a vacation without exclusion. By understanding and providing modifications which are necessities to make life more manageable for those with special needs, they have opened another door for those who may otherwise not be able to participate. More and more modern cruise ships are being designed and operated with an understanding of the need for wheelchair accessibility, accommodations for hearing and sight impairment, and even special menus designed for diabetics, gluten free, and many other individual needs. This truly means the difference between being safe and having a good time, or being left behind.
A traditional ship’s bathroom, or the head, is probably the most problematic of all obstacles that faces a special needs individual traveling at sea. Most are way too small to accommodate a wheelchair, frequently include a step up, and everything is at the wrong height. This causes what should be a simple, straightforward, everyday need to become a major time consuming ordeal. Even when there is not a step between the main cabin and the head, usually a lip prevents the ease of access for one who requires the use of a wheelchair.
Today’s modern ships offer over-sized bathrooms at room level and without barriers between the main cabin and the powder room, the balcony sitting area, and the entrance to the cabin itself. This makes it possible for an individual in a wheelchair to simply roll in unassisted. They offer raised commodes, shower chairs, grab bars, lowered mirrors and sinks and more.
Handicapped accessible cabins are generally positioned nearby elevators in order to make traveling around the ship more convenient for passengers with special needs. This also allows for close access to emergency exits and life boats.
Cabins designed especially for the hearing impaired are available and many ships provide hearing impaired kits that may be added to a standard cabin. This allows those with a hearing impairment to utilize vibration and lights in place of sound for telephones, alarm clock, someone knocking on the door, warning announcements, and more.
The blind traveler will benefit from Braille menus, sign postings, daily excursion notices and also on-board news reports. Many will offer some of these in computer files as well. Often a tour prior to setting sail will be available in order to help visually impaired passengers become acclimated to the ship’s layout.
It is a good idea for anyone with a handicappedd travel need to contact assistance services, guest relations, and the ship’s concierge before booking in order to ensure that necessary modifications will be planned on and prepared in advance. Disabled cruises are a great way for everyone to visit and enjoy many international locations.