If you are planning a cruise travel vacation, now is a great time to do so! Cruise ship lines are becoming more accessible-aware and continue to make accessibility a priority in serving their growing numbers of passengers. Taking some time to understand the available services and facilities before you travel will make your excursion that much more enjoyable. To assist in this regard, we have provided the following articles to help you get the most out of your time on the high seas.

Finding a Cruise to Suit Your Needs

There are many different cruise lines providing services to various parts of the world. Within each cruise line, you will even find different ships that are suited to different types of cruising. It's up to you to find out which cruise is the best fit for your needs. The best way to do this is through some basic research.

Choosing a Cruise Ship

Cruise vacations are an excellent way to travel in a safe and comfortable manner. If you have made a good choice in vessels, you will be able to enjoy much of the same accessibility and freedom of movement as any other passenger. This article provides some useful points of consideration when making your cruise ship choice.

About Shore Excursions

"All ashore that's going ashore!" That old familiar cry is still used today, although you are more likely to hear a series of beeps and buzzers telling you that you had better make your way to the gangway for disembarking. It's just one of the many things you need to be aware of when leaving the cruise ship for an exploration of an exotic port.

Accessible Cabins

An important consideration for those planning sea travel is the accessibility of your cabin. Though you will not likely be spending a great deal of time inside your room, it is still important to have a comfortable haven after a long day. Use the following basic points to help you make a choice before you book your cruise.

Do your doorway and all room entrances accommodate mobility devices?

You need to verify with your travel planner or cruise ship authority that your mobility vehicle will fit through all required doorways and entranceways on the ship. The best way to do this is by supplying these people with the correct dimensions of your mobility vehicle (e.g. a standard scooter is approximately 24 inches wide -- that means that doorways can be no smaller than 2 feet).

Are there doorsills or lips leading to other rooms or outside decks?

Ask about doorway lips and other runners that are installed in public areas. If the lip is particularly high, you may need assistance when navigating with your mobility vehicle.

Does the bathroom provide accessibility features like grab bars or shower seats? Can they be made available?

Accessible bathrooms include features such as wider doors, hand rails, wheel-in showers with fold down seats, water controls and showerheads installed at heights that you can reach from your seat. They will also include sinks and mirrors at wheelchair height, along with raised lavatory seats. Ask about not only your cabin bathroom's accessibility features, but also those found in the general public restrooms. If you are on another deck and need to use the facilities, it may be a long trip back down to your cabin.

Are light switches, telephones, televisions and other devices accessible at lower levels?

A true accessible cabin will have the switches, cords and other handles installed at a reasonable height for those seated in wheelchairs. If you are not guaranteed these helpful features, then ask for the existing measurements so you can be prepared.

Does your cabin offer a distress alarm?

Depending on level of mobility, situations may arrive where you need to ask for assistance. If the rooms do not have appropriate buttons, then you may consider requesting a pager-type device for this purpose.

At the very least, your cabin should be able to accommodate your mobility vehicle. If your vehicle is your main source or transportation, your cruise will be much more enjoyable if you can move about your room in relative ease.