The Current and Future State of Cruising with Special Needs
CORRECTION: Originally, Vicky Garcia’s quote was said to have come from Special Needs at Sea, but it was actually provided by Cruise Planners.
As cruise travel continues to rapidly grow, the need for the industry to cater to more markets expands with it. One market in particular that is well attended to is the special needs demographic, and specialists that TravelPulse reached out to agree that cruising is a fantastic choice for such clients.
Jessica Pentland, a Cruise Planners franchise owner, said, “I think disabled travelers will be pleasantly surprised by how easy cruising can be for them. All major ships are ADA compliant, although the older ships lack the most up-to-date amenities, like pool lifts or lowered casino tables.”
New ships on the other hand can offer more in the way of wheelchair-accessible staterooms as they continue to increase in size and capacity. Looking back though, Pentland added, “Princess [Cruises] is a real stand-out, having made improving accessibility a main concern back in the ’90s. Each vessel is equipped with special wheelchair mechanisms on the gangway.
“They were also the first to offer accessible shore excursions. Hopefully, more providers will follow this lead, and disabled cruisers will have numerous shore excursions to choose from. Today there are entire tour operators and travel agencies dedicated to the disabled and special needs market. Everything from port transfers to group tours for slow walkers can be easily arranged.”
One organization that is dedicated to those with limited mobility is Special Needs at Sea, a preeminent supplier of cruise travel equipment rentals. “As a company we have made the commitment to train everyone at our Home Office Team about special needs for our travelers and have invested in each of them being Spe
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