Accessible Cruises on Holland America Cruises
Holland America Cruises for Guests with Special Needs
Holland America Line does not discriminate against persons on the basis of disability and seeks, to the extent feasible, to accommodate guests with disabilities. Recognized by publications like the "Handicapped Travel Newsletter," Holland America is at the forefront of the cruise industry in providing facilities and services to guests with disabilities.
As part of its Signature of Excellence® service enhancements, Holland America Line recently introduced "Access to Excellence" which illustrates how Holland America Line ships accommodate guests with a variety of special needs including those requiring wheelchairs, scooters or service animals; those who are sight or hearing impaired; and those using oxygen.
To provide the best experience Holland America Line requests advance notification about any special requirements at the time of booking. In limited situations where an individual with a disability would be unable to satisfy certain specified safety and other criteria, even when provided with appropriate auxiliary aids and services, Holland America Line may find it necessary to ask the individual to make alternative travel arrangements.
For guests who use wheelchairs, Holland America Line has wheelchair accessible staterooms equipped with roll-in showers, shower seats and heavy-duty handrails. In addition, the exterior and bathroom doors are wider than standard doors in order to accommodate the width of most wheelchairs and scooters. The availability of these accessible staterooms can be limited. Holland America recommends that if a guest requires one of the accessible staterooms, the guest should make a request as early as possible and should hold an accessible stateroom at the time of booking.
Bathrooms in non-accessible staterooms will have a five-inch step and a 19.5 inch-wide doorway. However, additional pieces of equipment can be brought in to the stateroom in order to assist passengers with certain physical limitations. For example, a portable commode, hand-held shower and/or elevated toilet seat can be provided. Guests requiring additional equipment can make their requests through Holland America's Access & Compliance Department.
All public rooms on Holland America Line ships are wheelchair accessible. Elevators on board all ships accommodate wheelchairs, as do designated public area restrooms.
A limited number of wheelchairs are available on board each ship. The on board wheelchairs are for use during (dis)embarkation and emergency situations only. Guests requiring use of a wheelchair on a continuous basis should either bring their own or rent one from a medical supply company.
For the safety of all guests and crew and to enhance accessibility for persons with special needs, Holland America strongly recommends that all personal electric mobility equipment (scooters) meet the following criteria:
- Width: 23" maximum in order to be accommodated in a standard cabin, unless collapsible to a width of 23" or less
- Weight: 100 lbs. maximum without battery
- Batteries: Gel or Dry Cell only
It is recognized that for some people, a larger scooter may be essential. If a passenger requires a larger scooter, please contact Holland America to discuss the requirements. Persons utilizing scooters that are wider than 23” must be booked in one of the accessible staterooms.
Also, to enhance accessibility on and off the ship, scooters weighing more than 100 lbs. may need to be of a type that is easily disassembled. For the safety of all passengers and crew, mobility equipment needs to be securely stored and charged in the passenger's stateroom, and not in hallways or elevator lobbies on board Holland America vessels. Scooters left in these areas could restrict people needing to travel through these areas in an emergency, particularly other passengers using mobility aids since they would have no way of getting by a scooter left in a hallway.
Although Holland America Line's ships dock at many ports of call, there are times when the ship is at anchor some distance from the port and it is necessary to use the ship's tenders (small boats) to transport guests to and from shore.
Twelve ships are now equipped with wheelchair-accessible tenders — the ms Statendam, ms Ryndam, ms Maasdam, ms Veendam, ms Rotterdam, ms Volendam, ms Zaandam, ms Amsterdam, ms Zuiderdam, ms Oosterdam, ms Westerdam and ms Noordam.
With a regular tender, transferring from the ship's tender dock to the tender and from the tender to the pier ashore may be difficult for those who use wheelchairs, in certain sea conditions. In some situations, mobility assistance will involve carrying passengers. Situations may occur in which guests who use wheelchairs or scooters may not be able to go ashore at the time they desire or are unable to go ashore at all in certain ports.
For the safety of all concerned, the ship's captain shall make the final determination regarding the carrying of guests, taking into account all appropriate matters, including, but not limited to, weather conditions, ship's location, weight of the passenger, etc.
Visual & Hearing Impairments
With one month's notice, large print or Braille menus describing the inspired cuisine offered across a myriad of venues, from the elegant Dining Room to the casual Lido Restaurant.
Infrared systems/Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) are available showrooms and theaters and Window-Eyes computer software is available in the Explorations Café that lets you navigate the web as you listen. Downloadable daily activities, news and menus are available for laptops with screen readers.
For guests who are deaf or hard of hearing, Holland America Line's ships have TTY/TDD equipment, amplified telephones, visual alert alarms, closed caption decoders on televisions and an assistive listening system for the show lounges and theaters available upon request.
Service animals are permitted on board Holland America Line ships. Guests may walk their animals on a service deck where a relief area, including padding such as sod or wood chips, can be constructed with advance notification. Also by advance request, the maître d' will arrange a convenient table in the dining room with space for the animal on the floor. Guests must supply their own pet food and make arrangements for quarantine papers and port clearances through their travel agent. Guests should be aware that many ports do not allow animals, including service animals, to disembark the ship.
Holland America Line ships are not equipped to provide passengers with oxygen other than on an emergency basis. For security reasons and also to ensure that outside vendors will properly and promptly service the equipment they provide to passengers, Holland America has selected CareVacations as the only outside vendor permitted to deliver oxygen supplies to the ship. All oxygen and/or oxygen equipment being delivered to a Holland America vessel, must be delivered by the following company:
Oxygen and/or oxygen equipment deliveries will not be accepted from any other company. Guests are also welcome to bring their own oxygen and/or oxygen equipment on board from home. Please note that our staff and crew are not permitted to handle guests' oxygen and/or oxygen equipment during the (dis)embarkation processes. Thus, guests must be able to handle their own supplies if they are bringing their own supplies from home. Guests are required to advise Holland America Line of their specific arrangements prior to sailing. Failure to properly notify Holland America of oxygen arrangements may result in the denial of boarding.
Accommodations for guests with special needs can vary by cruise line and by ship and changes can be made at any time without notice. It is important that you advise your agent at the time of booking about any disabilities or special requirements that you may have so that your needs can be assessed accordingly.