Accessible Cruises on Princess Cruises
Princess Cruises for Guests with Special Needs
Princess has long placed a high priority on making cruise vacations accessible for all guests, including those with special needs. The company initiated its award-winning Princess AccessSM program in 1992 to raise the standards of cruise ship accessibility across the fleet, while keeping in mind the constraints and special considerations inherent to a ship at sea. Even before this time, however, Princess' well-recognized guest service extended to accessible cruising. Princess' efforts in this area have garnered them many awards and recognition.
The Princess fleet offers more than 350 wheelchair-accessible cabins. Each vessel features up to 31 accessible cabins, across a variety of stateroom categories. These rooms are designed for wheelchair maneuverability, with widened doorways into both the cabin and its bathroom; wheel-in showers, hand-held showerheads and bath distress alarms; as well as lowered closet railings, sinks, and handrails; and removed or revamped thresholds. Additional equipment is also available on request, such as toilet seat raisers, shower stools and bed boards.
Wheelchair users will find access-friendly design across most of the Princess fleet, making it easy to enjoy each vessel's restaurants, theaters, spas, lounges and open deck space. Elevators have generous 36- to 42-inch doorways, and wheelchair seating is available in show lounges and other public spaces.
For additional details on prearranged mobility equipment rentals, please contact:
- Phone: 888-494-7303
Sight & Hearing Disabilities
Guests with sight and hearing disabilities will find vessels equipped with such helpful features as Braille elevator call buttons, audible arrival sounds and infrared listening assistance systems in the Princess theaters. ADA "all in one" kits are available upon request — featuring telephone amplifiers, visual smoke detectors, door knock sensors, text telephones (TDD) and other aids. In-cabin movies feature close captioning, and ship libraries feature a selection of books on tape.
Princess ships also welcome service animals, and have hosted a variety of such special helpers, including seeing-eye dogs, hearing-assistance dogs, and even a "helping hands" monkey.
On Shore Accessibility
On shore, Princess continues to innovate accessibility for guests. Special gangway mechanisms on most ships simplify embarkation and disembarkation for wheelchair guests in many world-wide ports. While onshore facilities and levels of access vary, Princess has made efforts to expand accessible offerings by working with local service providers. In St. Thomas, for example, Princess was instrumental in developing tours featuring the island's only accessible trolley. The line's own private beach call in the Bahamas, Princess Cays, features ramps for easier access. Guests will find guidelines in Princess' shore excursion listings to indicate the level of access for each tour.
Alaska cruisetour guests will find their vacations accessible as well. All of Princess' custom-built Alaska wilderness lodges meet ADA guidelines, with accessible rooms and public spaces. The company's exclusive Midnight Sun Express® railcars also offer access to the lower levels of the car, including dining areas and outside observation platforms.
Travelers with disabilities should check in with the onboard Tour Office to ensure all shore excursions can accommodate them. Not all port facilities are accessible for those using mobility devices. Ports may be accessed by a variety of methods including a ramped gangway, a series of steps or by tender. In some cases, you may be able to access the tender, but the shoreside facility will not be accessible. Many ports of call use a mechanism known as a "stair climber" to assist guests up and down the gangway. Guests must transfer to a Princess wheelchair, which is connected to the stair climber and operated by the ship's personnel. If you cannot transfer or your personal mobility device cannot be easily disembarked, you may be precluded from going ashore. With your safety and comfort in mind, the decision to permit or prohibit guests from going ashore will be made on each occasion by the ship's Captain, and the decision will be final. Ports that normally use tenders to access the shore are noted on the itinerary.
If you will require oxygen supplementation during your sailing, please contact our Fleet Medical Department at (661)753-2680. You will be asked to send a letter or prescription from your doctor. You will also be required to let us know the type of equipment you will be using and whether you will be bringing your own supplies or if you will be having the equipment delivered to the ship.
Guests undergoing dialysis should be aware that Princess' ships' medical facilities are similar to those of an urgent care center and do not have available specialists or specialized facilities. Should an emergency situation arise during the course of your cruise, it is recommended that you be prepared to provide a complete list of medical conditions, medications, and allergies to the medical center.
Although Princess strongly recommends against undertaking the risks involved, they will allow a guest requiring peritoneal or hemodialysis to travel on their ships at the guest's own risk. It is recommended that a guest requiring dialysis consults with his or her nephrologist prior to making travel arrangements. You should be stable on your dialysis treatments for a period of at least 12 months prior to sailing.
Before booking a cruise, the treating nephrologist should consider carefully the following:
- There is no nephrologist available on any of the Princess cruise ships for dialysis patients.
- Ships are not equipped with back-up battery support for dialysis related equipment.
- A guest may be at sea for several days without any immediate hospital and/or specialist back up, and if the itinerary is not within the U.S., the availability of specialized shore side facilities can be extremely limited.
The risks to the guest who misses an appointed treatment are very serious, with little recourse available while at sea. The guest assumes these risks when a ship is prevented from entering a planned port of call for any reason.
Guests are expected to make all arrangements regarding dialysis, whether self-administered onboard or at a shore side facility. Environmental Officers can assure that dialysis waste disposal policies are followed, including providing the stateroom with a closed lid waste receptacle lined with a bio-hazardous bag for care of bags or pouches of bio-hazardous waste.
Finally, you should be aware that there are charges associated with being treated in the medical facility during the course of the cruise, and that ordinary trip travel interruption insurance does not generally cover such treatment costs if you require medical consultation or treatment. An itemized bill will be provided which can be submitted to the guest’s health insurance company after the required treatment is charged to the onboard account.
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.