Going on a Cruise With a Mobility Scooter? Here’s What You Should Know.
Posted by Tom Lee on
Mobility Scooters For Cruises, What to Expect & How to Prepare For Your Next Cruise
If you’re planning a trip on a cruise with a mobility scooter there are a few things that you should know before embarking on your nautical vacation. We created this article to help educate our followers when it comes to the best mobility scooters for cruises, the rules and regulatory bodies that deal with cruises and accommodating mobility scooters as well as what to expect when you are about to board and when you’re on board a cruise with a mobility scooter.
It’s crucially important to know that each cruise line is different when it comes to their level of accessibility. Its important that you call the cruise line you’re going to go on to ask about the process for bringing a mobility scooter on a cruise ship as well as asking for as much information about the individual cruise line’s accommodations for individuals traveling with a mobility scooter on a cruise. Royal Caribbean, for example, has mobility scooter accessible rooms on all ships within their fleet. These state-rooms have main room and bathroom doors that are at least 32″ wide which is enough for most mobility scooters and wheelchairs to fit through. Royal Caribbean also offers Whirlpool lifts, Pool lifts, low elevation slots in the casino and even accessible lowered desk stands at the guest relations office of all ships. Below is an example of a main door opening that has automatic sensors, which is a standard for all main doors and bathroom doors.
Best Mobility Scooters For Cruises
When traveling in general its always best to have a lightweight mobility scooter that is compact if possible. If that’s not possible, we recommend measuring the dimensions of your scooter and contacting the cruise line to ensure that your scooter is going to fit through all door ways, entrances and exits. In most cases, cruise lines are required to have doorways that are a minimum of 32″ wide. If you have a larger mobility scooter that is very long, you might have trouble getting in and out of narrow hallway turns, elevators or other small spaces. This is why we recommend a scooter that can handle the users weight but that is still compact. To help with taking sharp turns in narrow areas, we also recommend choosing a mobility scooter with the best turning radius in its class.
One of the most recommended models that is compact and that offers a great turning radius making it easier to take turns is the 4-wheel Jazzy Zero Turn Scooter by Pride Mobility. The Jazzy Zero Turn is loaded with great features like dual-suspension, dual motors, led headlight, USB phone charger port and a very comfortable seat. It can handle up to 300 lbs and can go up to 10 miles on a full charge. Pride Mobility provides excellent customer service for warranty claims and also includes a 1-year in-home service contract for each new scooter free of charge.
Another one that is considered the best mobility scooter for going on a cruise is the Buzzaround LT scooter which is one of Golden Technologies Buzz Around Scooters that have been around for a very long time. The 3-wheel Buzz Around LT is capable of supporting up to 300 LBS and has a 37″ turning radius. Golden Technologies also provides excellent customer service for warranty claims and also includes a 1-year in-home service contract for each new scooter free of charge.
We also recommend any travel-sized scooter that offers a turning radius comparable to that of a Jazzy Zero Turn scooter which is 38″. To view our most up-to-date full line of travel friendly mobility scooters, click here.
Rules, Laws & Standards For The Cruising Industry With Respect to Accommodating Passengers That Rely on Mobility Scooters
Most of the major Cruise Lines like Royal Caribbean and Norwegian offer a wide variety of accessibility features that makes it possible to travel with a mobility scooter on a cruise ship vacation. Like most facilities on land, the major cruise lines like Royal Caribbean strive to make each ship that sails through US waters is ADA compliant but they don’t stop at that, they often go above and beyond the minimum requirements imposed by the ADA. In 2015 the US DOJ (Department of Justice) reached an iconic settlement agreement with Carnival Cruises which changed the way development for the cruise industry with respect to accessibility for passengers. The settlement was reached with Carnival Cruises and it mandated that Carnival Cruises provide equal access to their accommodations, as they were ruled as public places that need to comply with the ADA. While not all cruise lines have adopted the requirements set forth by the ADA, the settlement certainly has created a standard that all cruise lines are aware of and most likely acting on.
Aside from the ADA which many people are familiar with, there are other regulatory bodies, agencies, organizations, memberships etc that deal with the safety of passengers that are traveling on cruise ships at sea. In some cases, there are specific requirements for accessibility in order to enter an association, gain licensing to certain membership groups or to gain certain accreditations. One of the most well-known and respected associations that deal with the cruise industry is the CLIA. The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) was first established in 1975 and it is known as the biggest cruise association which helps to provide a unified voice & is considered to be the leading authority of the international cruise community. CLIA aims to standardize the way cruises regulate safety and professionalism for the cruise community to have peace of mind while traveling at sea. To see a list of cruise lines that are members of the CLIA, you can visit the official website by clicking here or by viewing the list below.
The cruise industry as a whole has been proactive when it comes to providing accessibility features for guests with disabilities to travel comfortably. in 1975, the International Maritime Organization and the CLIA worked together to create a fair and effective standardized framework for the cruise and ship industry. This included a section of standards for the design and operation of ships/cruises with regards to the accommodation of passengers that have disabilities. In 2019, the USDOT (Department of Transportation) published a set of regulations that included practices and procedures for transporting individuals with disabilities on cruise lines and ships that enter or cross through US waters. This includes ships that are sailing with foreign flags.
What to Expect When Going on a Cruise With a Mobility Scooter
Royal Caribbean is by far one of the most accommodating cruise lines for passengers that have disabilities. With that being said, Royal Caribbean offers priority boarding to all passengers that have a disability or mobility device. So when boarding the ship, you are able to bypass the long lines and move right up to the security checkpoint faster. In the ship, you’ll find that all access points have ramps and or elevators. Doors are equipped with buttons that can be pressed to automatically open doors in the event that the sensors do not work to automatically open doors. You’ll also find that there are many desks, kiosks, slot machines and chairs that are lowered for disability access. The off-boarding process is also just as easy if you have a mobility scooter, you are able to move to the priority off-boarding line to skip the long wait. All in all, going on a cruise with a mobility scooter or power wheelchair is pretty easy to do if you are cruising on a Royal Caribbean ship.
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