If you are picking up your cruise from Southampton, I use a disabled taxi from a company called Go-Mobility. This is an excellent service: their taxis use a long extended ramp so making access easy. They pick you up at the airport in the drop off area inside the car park just across from the main airport building.
Tel: +44 023 8000 6090
Cruising has most definitely become a great way to travel if you are using a wheelchair or mobility scooter. One of the downsides is that it is now so popular, you have to book quite early in order to obtain your accessible stateroom. Some are situated aft, some forward – but the best ones are mid-ships where it is most stable. The majority of the cruise ships are very well equipped; some have manual wheelchairs for use when visiting ports, toilet raisers, commodes etc. However these have to be reserved at the time of booking and cannot be guaranteed.
The cruise company will usually send out a Mobility Questionnaire in advance of your voyage. This is comprehensive and is kept on file in case of illness on board. It is worth mentioning that whilst the ship’s medical facilities are excellent, it can be quite an expensive visit if you have forgotten medication for example. An initial charge is made, usually in US$, even before you have seen a nurse or doctor. The dispensary does stock a good range of medicines and tablets, such as for regulating heart conditions, diabetes, epilepsy and such like. But it is much better to take a sufficient quantity of your own medication which you should always place in your hand luggage. It can take a few hours to get your suitcases to your stateroom so it is better to have your medication with you.
TIP: Take a prescription with you outlining all your current medication. It can be really difficult remembering all the items and dosages when away from ones usual surroundings.
Shortly before your departure date, you will receive your ticket or e-ticket. This will clearly state your stateroom number and time for checking in. This is staggered to avoid queues building up.
As you pull up at the cruise terminal, porters will take your luggage off you so do make sure that your stateroom labels are secured.
There are dedicated accessible check-in desks. You will be issued with your ID pass card. It is really important to keep this card on you at all times. You will not be permitted to leave or re-enter the ship without it. Do not place your ID card close to iPhones or iPads as the magnetic tape will wipe the card clean. Passports, money and valuables etc. should be placed into the stateroom safe.
TIP: It is really handy to have a pass holder on a chain – that way your card is always kept safe and easily on hand when needed.
Where tender ports are advertised, the cruise agents usually point out that the disabled passenger must be able to physically stand and step over into the tender itself.
I have found that crew members are very helpful and willing to assist but it can be daunting when the sea is a little choppy! They will also help transferring wheelchairs or scooters over once you have transferred into the tender. It is well worth doing a little bit of research about the place you are visiting as not all countries are as disabled savvy as the UK!
Swimming on board cruise ships:
Many ships have chairs which are operated by the Pool Butlers and which lower you safely into the pool. These photos were taken on board the Celebrity Solstice in 2016 – great fun and very easy to access.