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Cruising for the Disabled Part 6 Cruising with RCI
For those who have disabilities, a cruise can provide a great holiday experience. The major cruise lines are doing everything they can to make cruising accessible for all, improving access in staterooms, public rooms and corridors, as well as making use of modern technology. If you are able to follow a trip to that most amazing of places, Orlando, with a few days on a cruise ship I am sure that you will find it a wonderful experience, and a great way to ‘wind’ down after a hectic and enjoyable time at the theme parks.
Royal Caribbean Cruises is also equipping their ships to make cruising a comfortable experience for disabled guests, and whilst facilities will differ across the fleet, according to the age of the ship, they are doing all they can to make their ships fully accessible.
A number of their ships now have accessible staterooms close to the elevators, with 32”-34” doors, flat floors, and a 5 ft turning circle in areas for sleeping and sitting, as well as in the bathrooms. The staterooms themselves range from 159 sq ft to 298 sq ft, and have no sill to enter the room. Rails in closets have been lowered, and fridges are available in many staterooms, but can also be requested. Some staterooms also have accessible balconies, and some rooms now have safes which are lower to make access easier. The bathrooms have grab rails and built in shower stools, plus raised toilet seats and lowered sinks. Bathrooms also have ramped thresholds, and roll in showers with hand held shower heads.
All of their corridors are wide enough for a wheelchair to make a 180 degree turn. Doors leading out onto deck areas now have touch buttons to open them – very important as these doors are often, of necessity, very heavy. Public rooms feature entrances with gradual inclines rather than steps, and if it is necessary then ramps are provided.
Royal Caribbean have also provided the following services for guests needing special assistance:
1. Early Boarding
2. Cruise transfers using a specialised vehicle with a lift
3. Boarding and departure assistance
4. Scooter access
5. Hydraulic lifts for one pool and one Jacuzzi throughout the fleet
6. Accessible tendering
7. Accessible Guest Relations Desk
8. Accessible Blackjack tables in the Casino
9. Deck plans which show accessible paths of travel.
So cruising if you have a disability can be a pleasurable experience, and certainly nobody should now feel that they cannot cruise from a US port.
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