Today's newsletter is for all the folks who have written me over the years regarding cruises for travelers with special needs.
Today's newsletter is for people with limited mobility, who use a walker or cane or wheelchair or scooter.
It is for people who are hard of hearing or deaf, for people who have low vision or are blind, and for people who must travel with service animals or with supplemental oxygen.
This newsletter is for all the people who long to travel the world despite additional challenges. And for the people who would travel with them.
When you wrote in the past, I had to apologize because the information you sought simply did not exist, anywhere.
Now, after more than a year of research and development, I am very pleased to tell you that Vacations To Go has filled a void in the travel industry by creating a department dedicated to assisting travelers with disabilities, as well as the first comprehensive, ship-by-ship guide to facilities, services and amenities geared to travelers with special needs.
We've put the information on our Web site, with search tools that not only show you the ships that will meet your needs but help you find a great bargain as well. Click here to visit our Special Needs section now.
Cruise lines have been working for years to accommodate passengers with disabilities, and more than 90 of the world's best cruise ships are now accessible to some extent.
There are ships with TTY phones and vibrating alarm clocks for guests who are hard of hearing or deaf; menus in large print or Braille for people who have low vision or are blind; roll-in showers, push-button doors and pool access for travelers who use wheelchairs or scooters; and many other features to make cruising accessible. There are services that will deliver oxygen tanks or wheelchairs or scooters to a ship on the day of departure, and retrieve them at the end of a cruise.
However well-suited cruise ships may be for travelers with special needs, the global travel industry still has much work to do to remove obstacles to people with disabilities, and it is important to travel with realistic expectations. Some things are beyond the control of the cruise lines, including the accessibility of foreign port cities.
For example, there are some foreign ports that currently lack wheelchair-accessible transportation, preventing passengers who use wheelchairs from participating in planned shore excursions. There are museums and other attractions built long ago that can only be reached via steps or stairs or long climbs over cobblestones. There are ports where cruise ships drop anchor rather than dock, where rough sea conditions or weight considerations could make it unsafe to transfer a passenger in a wheelchair or scooter to the tender, preventing that passenger from going ashore.
Still, I believe cruises are the easiest way to travel the world, and even a missed port call is an opportunity to stay on a floating resort to enjoy the amenities -- spa, pool, library, game room, etc. -- while you have them almost to yourself. There are always passengers who choose to stay on board when their ship is in port.
Our Special Needs department is open Monday-Friday from 7am to 7pm and Saturday from 9am to 6pm, Central Time. Be sure to tell your cruise counselor about all your special needs prior to booking so that he or she can determine if they can be met.
Vacations To Go