Friday, July 12, 2013
Sail With Dis-Abilities on the Disney Cruise Line - Port Adventures
Sail With Dis-Abilities on the Disney Cruise Line – Port Adventures
I’ve stated before how Dis-Abilities friendly the Disney Cruise Line is. In truth it really is very Handicap Accessible while on the ship and Castaway Cay (Disney’s Private Island). Disney goes way beyond the necessary accommodations to make sure that all guests feel comfortable and as many activities as possible are accessible to people of all abilities. Reality is they can’t make everything accessible.
One thing that must be remembered is that Disney does not own or operate the Port Adventures they offer. These are outside companies that Disney has checked out for safety, cleanliness, and quality of service. Disney has no ability or responsibility to require or enforce the Americans With Disabilities Act with these outside tour companies in countries outside the USA. So when visiting ports outside of the United States be aware there may be a few or no Ports Adventures available for those with physical limitations. This includes being able to get off the ship at all.
The first thing that must be noted is that Disney Cruise Line makes every effort to pull directly into port and not tender guests in. This is always Disney’s first choice, and they pay extra port fees for this so that ALL passengers that wish to disembark at that port can. When guests are required to tender from the ship (ride a smaller ship from the cruise ship to the port) those that cannot navigate a short set of stairs that is moving in the waves must remain on the ship. Only those that can walk or have a member of their party carry them onto the tender boat can disembark and go into port. This said even the best plans go awry and Disney cannot always pull directly into port as planned. Power chairs and scooters cannot be accommodated on the tenders. Wheelchairs that can be folded up and carried onto tender boat can be accommodated in most cases.
Most other countries do not have laws requiring access to transportation, services and buildings like the USA does. So when you go into other countries buses, taxis and buildings may not have access you require if you are in a wheelchair or scooter or have other mobility issues. Therefore you may not be able to find transportation to the Port Adventure of your choice or have access to the facility. Disney Cruise Line does make note in their information on Port Adventures if the adventure is accessible for those with disabilities. They give you an idea on what level of physical activity is involved with each Port Adventure. This helps you making wise choices when planning.
Disney Cruise Line has made sure that all areas of Castaway Cay (Disney’s private island) are accessible to everyone! There are even sand wheelchairs available for use for free on a first-come first-served basis on Castaway Cay. There are flat easily navigated paved pathways around Castaway Cay so wheelchairs and scooters are welcome. So even if you can’t get off at other ports you can always get off at Castaway Cay!
For my readers with disabilities I will encourage you to look closely at the Port Adventures in every port. Call DCL before your cruise and before booking any Port Adventures to see what ports you will be required to tender in if you have mobility issues. Before booking that Port Adventure make sure you can get off the ship to enjoy it. Tell DCL of your abilities and ask them for suggestions on Port Adventures that fit. If you can’t find a Port Adventure that fits your abilities then consider just tooling around the port and looking at the shops. Do not wander too far from the port. You need to make sure you can get back before the ship leaves. You also want to make sure that you do not travel into non-tourist areas. Always stay safe!
I also suggest to you, my readers that you let Disney Cruise Line know that those with disabilities wish to go on Port Adventures! Suggest kindly and without losing your temper that Disney Cruise Line might be able to “encourage” tour companies in other countries to be more aware of those with disabilities and how they can make accommodations.
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