Cruise lines, along with the rest of America, have come a long way since the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) passed July 26, 1990. Although most American cruise lines offered wheelchair accessible cruises before the ADA passed and between 1990 and 2005, it wasn’t until 2005 that the law as extended to foreign-flagged cruise ships. The law required that all foreign-flagged ships that carried passengers to and from U.S. ports must be wheelchair accessible. Wheelchair accessible means, the ship must be equipped with handrails, accessible furniture and closets, wide door frames, wheel-in showers, and low sinks.
Today, disabled passengers can travel on any major cruise line with ease. However, disabled passengers prefer some cruise lines to others. Among the best cruises for disabled passengers are Royal Caribbean cruises aboard Independence of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas, or Freedom of the Seas. These massive ships feature ample space to move about, 32 wheelchair accessible cabins, portable room kits, Braille and large-print menus, Braille-equipped elevators, close captioned TVs, assisted-listening devices, and sign-language interpreters. The ships even have pools and whirlpools with a lift.
Other Royal Caribbean ships that are perfect for disabled passengers include Brilliance of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas, and Radiance of the Seas.
If you are interested in a luxury cruise, try Crystal Cruises. Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity feature all of the usual suspects including handrails, accessible furniture and closets, wide doorframes, wheel-in showers and closets, and low sinks. Crystal Serenity offers wheelchair accessible rooms with balconies as well as wheelchair accessible suites, and outside rooms. Crystal Symphony offers access in outside suites and cabins only.
Royal Caribbean and Crystal Cruises are not the only cruise lines with ships that offer comfortable surroundings and accommodations for disabled passengers. Persons with disabilities can also try Holland America’s Zuiderdam, Westerdam, Noordam, or Oosterdam; Princess’ Crown Princess, Emerald Princess or Ruby Princess; Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Magic or Disney Wonder; Celebrity’s Millennium, Infinity, Summit, Constellation or Solstice; or Regent’s Seven Seas Mariner or Voyager.
For more information about the cruise lines listed in this article, please visit the cruise lines official website for details (below). You can also use any of the phone numbers listed below to call and speak with a live representative.