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Accessible Cruises Common Characteristics

Accessible Cruises Common Characteristics

Today’s newer cruise ships are accessible, which gives children and adults with disabilities/special needs the opportunity to enjoy cruising in comfort and style.

Planning Services:

  • We offer our planning services free of charge to those cruisers who book a cruise through us. Our booking site is, a Cruise Planner’s / American Express Travel Partner franchisor.
  • For the best cruise experience, we research cruise itineraries to match your cruise destinations. For cruisers who use wheelchairs and cruisers with mobility restrictions the importance of destination port docking facilities becomes apparent when you consider the restrictions and the risks of transferring from a cruise ship to tenders in ports with shallow harbors and rough seas.
  • Our services also include identifying cities that have hilly or flat terrain. Do streets and roads have cobble stones and do tours have accessible vehicles?
  • Our services are not limited to the ships, itineraries, ports and shore excursions. We work with the Special Needs Group to provide cruisers with a wide array of rental equipment (see the Equipment tab).

Ship Features

  • Comply with the guidelines and standards of the American with Disabilities Act, if coming into US ports as well as sailing from US ports
  • Enable children and adults with disabilities and special needs to cruise to destinations, all over the world, by giving them on-board access to the accommodations, services and assistance that they need to be safe and comfortable while at sea and in ports of call.
  • Have fully accessible staterooms, with wider doors than the standard staterooms, and roll-in showers, grab bars and turning space for persons with physical disabilities that use a wheelchair, or scooter or other mobility devices.
  • Accessible rest rooms throughout the ship
  • Gangways wide enough to accommodate most wheelchairs and scooters.
  • Common areas such as the main pool, all restaurants, event areas, theater and discos, bars, casino, most decks, library and corridors are accessible to persons using mobility devices
  • Elevators have extra wide openings and usually are accessible to all but the top deck of most ships.
  • There are Braille stateroom door plates and braille stairway handrails at landing levels, braille elevator command buttons and braille directional labels in passenger corridors
  • Hearing Impaired Kits are available
  • Personal wireless amplifiers are available in the theaters
  •  Oxygen can be in use
  • Seeing Eye Dogs are permitted
  • Restaurants accommodate special dietary needs and food allergies.

Cruiser Profile


  • Physical disabilities or medical conditions that require mobility aides, including but not limited to wheelchairs, scooters or walkers
  • Children with cognitive, physical and/or developmental disabilities
  • Visual disabilities/impairments
  • Hearing disabilities/impairments

Special Needs:

  • Special diets for religious reasons, allergies, and specific medical conditions
  • Conditions requiring oxygen use, injectable medications, and medications requiring temperature regulated refrigeration
  • Parents with infants and young children requiring cribs, high chairs, strollers and access to diapers, formula refrigeration and bottle heating services.

Jean Campbell’s background makes her the ideal Certified Accessible Travel Advocate. Not only does she have a MS degree in Education and Therapeutic Recreation from Herbert Lehman College NY, she has 35+ years of experience in developing and delivering education, social and recreation services to children and adults with special needs, including those with physical, cognitive, developmental disabilities, medically compromised conditions, and cancer.
Her personal commitment to children and adults with special needs comes from having a younger brother with a disability.
She has designed and developed over 100 education, social and recreation programs for youth and adults with special needs.

Preschool and Early Childhood Programs

  • Education and reading readiness programs
  • Summer camps
  • Socialization and independent life skills
  • A digital website teaching life skills,

Community Based Programs

  • Recreation programs and continuing education
  • Swimming
  • Therapeutic horseback riding in conjunction with the NYPD Mounted Unit
  • Music Therapy
  • ESL for Youth and Adults
    • ESL Writing Workshop – 30 hours for  intermediate level students – MILESTONE-LIC/SUNY
    • ESL Workshops -50 hours for volunteer navigators  at intermediate level -Bellevue Hospital
    • English for Ma n’ Me Workshops – 40 hours of ESL for non-English speaking preschool children and their mothers (Mandarin speakers) – Henry Street Settlement, NYC

NYS State Funded Developmental Programs

    • Desktop publishing for adults with disabilities


  • Horticulture therapy
  • Dance and music therapy
  • Writing workshops
  • Computer literacy and desktop publishing
  • Social programs, excursions, dinner and theater events

Leadership Positions

  • Founding Director American Cancer Society (ACS) Patient Navigation, Metro NY
  • Executive Director, D.E.B.R.A. of America, Inc.
  • Dir. of Development Services, Grace Institute, NY
  • Founder/Ex. Director of Choices Center, New Rochelle, NY
  • Founder/Ex. Director, South East Consortium
  • Presented at the Smithsonian on Innovations in Multimedia
  • Testified for D.E.B.R.A. of America, Inc. before Congress


Accessible Stateroom Features Include:

  • Stateroom and bathroom door width at least 32 inches
  • Bathroom doorway threshold ramped
  • Located close to elevators
  • No stateroom doorway threshold
  • Closet rod and safe lowered for easy access
  • Sink and vanity lowered
  • Roll-in shower with grab bar
  • Shower seat and handheld shower head
  • Toilet seat raised and between 17 to 19 inches high
  • Sleeping, sitting and bathroom areas have a 5-foot turning radius
  • Accessible Restaurants, entertainment venues, spa, casino, shops, pool area, decks, corridors, gangways

Accommodations for Hearing Disabilities/ Impairments

  • Portable hearing room kits that provide visual and tactile alerts for door knocking, telephone ringing, alarm clock and smoke detector
  • TTY (Teletypewriter) that interfaces with Guest Relations Desk TTY to better meet all in-stateroom needs
  • Amplified telephones in staterooms and public areas

Assistive Listening System (ALS) available in

  • Sign Language interpreters are available on a shared basis to guests who utilize American Sign Language as their primary means of communication
  • Closed-captioned televisions in staterooms

Accommodations for Visual Disabilities/Impairments

  • Service dogs can be accommodated on board
  • Braille/tactile signage on stateroom doors
  • Braille/tactile elevator buttons and audio call signs
  • Braille deck numbers on staircase handrails
  • Menus and daily activity newsletter are  available in large print
  • Staff led tours of the ship
  • Staff assisted food selection and seating in the buffet areas

Accommodations for Children with Physical and Cognitive Disabilities

  • A number of cruise ships have complementary youth programs that welcome children with disabilities in their daily program activities.
  • Book well in advance to insure that you get the best stateroom location and configuration, preferably near an elevator.
  • Notify the cruise line as to what ship you will be on and share information on your child’s disability and special needs.
  • Call in advance to secure assistance with boarding and disembarking Ask if you can get priority boarding.
  • Review shore excursions before you book a particular ship. You want to reduce, if not eliminate, the use of tenders to bring passengers to shore from ships anchored a distance from shore.
  • Rent what equipment you will need on the ship such as a pediatric wheelchair, pediatric oxygen, bed rails, cribs, baby food, and nutritional supplements.


Most cruise ships can accommodate a cruiser’s dietary requirements with a variety of special dietary menus. There is no additional charge for these dietary substitutions.

  • Special dietary needs meals are available at each meal
  • Diabetic friendly items are included in each meal offering
  • Low-sodium, low-fat and gluten-free items are included in each meal menu.
  • Lactose-free/soy milk and Ensure are available at no extra charge.
  • Cruise ships can accommodate most food allergies

Tips when traveling with Special Dietary Needs

  • It is important to book your cruise early and make your special dietary needs known when booking, so that what you need is available for you in the main dining room, when you come on board. Lead time for getting some special diet foods can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months
  • Carry a list of your food allergies and dietary needs to share with the dining room Matre’d. It is standard practice on most ships for dining room staff to review menus daily with guests on special diets


  • Cruise ships do have wheelchairs to assist persons with physical disabilities in getting on or off their ships.
  • If you need a wheelchair, scooter or other mobility equipment while on the ship, it is best to rent what you need rather than try to bring your own equipment on board.
  • Your rental equipment will be delivered to your stateroom prior to your arrival and will be picked up at the end of your cruise by Special Needs Group/Special Needs at Sea.
  • Special Needs Group/Special Needs at Sea is the preferred
  • cruise lines’ supplier and the only preferred accessibility partner of Cruise Line International Association (CLIA), the world’s largest cruise industry organization.


  • Dedicated to fulfilling the requirements for persons who want to travel, but may require special needs equipment.
  • Has trained agents providing service worldwide to 215 metropolitan areas in 68 countries
  • Recognized as the leading global provider of wheelchair, scooter, oxygen and other special needs equipment rentals for children and adults.
  • Recommended by the world’s major cruise lines for superior service and value.  The ONLY company referred by ALL of the major cruise lines.
  • Provides equipment to guests on cruises, visiting hotels, resorts, theme parks and conventions.
  • Delivers equipment on the day of embarkation and picks up rental equipment om the day of disembarkation 4
  • For equipment that we can provide visit our site at
  • A Certified Accessible Travel Advocates, Jean Campbell can assist you in identifying your equipment need, and in placing an equipment order.