5 Reasons Why Cruising is the Best Way to Travel in a Wheelchair

If you have been reading my recent blog posts then you know that I recently returned from an 8 day Caribbean cruise. During this cruise I visited some amazingly beautiful places such as Puerto Rico, Turks & Caicos, Virgin Islands and St. Maarten/St. Martin. As a wheelchair user, traveling can often be a bit of a headache. Especially when visiting five different countries. Can you even imagine the stress of trying to haul a wheelchair from country to country?! Well, it was actually rather easy for me because we cruised. This was my fifth cruise and I have gone on so many because it’s just so easy and stress-free. If you are a wheelchair user and haven’t cruised yet, what are you waiting for? Here are 5 reasons why cruising is the best way to travel if you have wheels for legs:


wheelchair accessible cruises



1) No worries about the wheelchair getting damaged


Many wheelchair users that I’ve spoken to in the past are afraid to travel because they have heard so many horror stories about wheelchairs getting damaged during flight. However, I’ve flown quite a lot and luckily, there have only been two instances where my chair was damaged. Both times were very minor and the airline repaired the damages immediately. While I haven’t experienced any major catastrophe yet (knock on wood!), I still worry every time that something could happen during a flight. Since you can stay in your wheelchair throughout the entire cruise, there are no worries about damages. The only thing to worry about is if there will be chocolate molten cake at dinner that night.



2) You can see several different places/countries without having to transfer in and out of a plane


One of my least favorite parts of flying is getting on and off the plane. I feel like I’m just another piece of baggage that is getting tossed around between transferring to the aisle chair, then to the plane seat, then back to the aisle chair, and back to my wheelchair upon landing. Needless to say, it isn’t a very fun process for me. If I were to fly to 4-5 different countries in one trip, I would have to be put in the dreaded aisle chair and tossed around a bazillion times. But on a cruise I can visit multiple places without ever having to leave the comforts of my royal chair-iot.


wheelchair accessible cruises

We got a cute new towel animal in our room every night



3) Same voltage as the USA


As I have mentioned before in my post about travel tips for wheelchair users, one of the more stressful things about traveling to a new country for me is dealing with voltage issues. As a wheelchair user, electricity is crucial for me. Without it I literally can’t do anything. When I visited Germany, as soon as we plugged my chair into the wall (with the proper adapter) the charger blew up. Not only was this a travesty for me, but it managed to put out the power in our entire hotel. Since then, I’ve been kind of terrified every time that I attempt to charge my chair in a new country. On a cruise, or at least the ones that leave from the USA anyway, the voltage is the same as America – 110 volts. So even though you are in foreign countries, you can still easily charge your chair after a long day of rolling around the islands.



4) You don’t have to carry your own luggage and medical equipment


When I travel, I tend to take quite a bit of luggage and equipment with me. I usually take at least one piece of luggage, a shower chair, and sometimes a hoyer lift as well. Since I can’t really carry anything myself, whoever is traveling with me has the honor of being loaded down with all of my crap (sorry!). It’s an almost impossible task for one person to carry it all. But here’s some great news: on a cruise there are people to help you! As soon as you enter the port upon arrival, you can drop all of your luggage off at the door and then go park. They tag all of your luggage so that it (hopefully) won’t get lost and then it is delivered to your stateroom within a few hours.


wheelchair accessible cruises



5) Everything is conveniently in one place!


Imagine for a minute that you’re at the casino and you want to go to dinner in a little while and then see a broadway style show after that. In any city throughout the world you would have to call an accessible taxi to take you from place to place and it wouldn’t hardly be worth the trouble. However, on a cruise you can do all of this and more without ever having to leave the ship. You can just hop on the nearest elevator and be anywhere within a few minutes. There’s a broad variety of activities to constantly choose from and it’s a great feeling to know that you don’t have to worry about finding and paying for an accessible taxi every time that you want to go somewhere.



As you can see, cruising is a terrific option for any wheelchair users that are wishing to travel. It’s extremely convenient, accessible, and most importantly FUN! Are you ready to book your cruise vacation yet?



P.S: I am available to go if you’d like to take me! 😉







  • Paul says:

    Brilliant article Cory, I never thought about all the potential dangers & things to work around if you are in a wheelchair; cruises really do seem to be a great option! I have been on three personally, all with Royal Caribbean – Two in the Caribbean and one in the Med, loved every second of them. I too like how you can see many different places fairly easily

  • sarah says:

    I’ve only been on one cruise around Mexico and I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. I really enjoy your blog because it makes me so much more aware of the challenges that someone in a wheelchair must face while traveling. This post in particular makes me think about how cruises are also a great option for elderly for many of the same reasons you listed above.
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  • Katie says:

    I’ve actually never been on a cruise, but some of my family go every year and they LOVE it! Mostly because it is so easy. I can definitely see how it would be so much easier with wheels to travel via cruise. I’ve never really thought about what you’d have to go through to travel. Thanks for opening my eyes and hopefully inspiring many others to travel in whatever way they can! 🙂
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  • Great post Cory. I love the idea of a cruise, only unpacking once, having most of your meals and activities included and lots of time to just relax. I’ve been reluctant in the past to give cruising a go because I get seasick sometimes, but this is my year and I plan to take a short 3 night cruise later in the year to see if I do love it before hopefully doing a longer cruise next year in Alaska.
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  • Amy says:

    Great post! I took my first cruise last summer and loved how easy it was. I can see how it would make traveling so much more accessible for wheelchair users. I recently attended a conference where a college student who uses a wheelchair presented on his experience doing Semester at Sea. He had mentioned that the idea of study abroad seemed overwhelming to him until he considered doing the Semester at Sea and traveling by ship. Long story short, he had an amazing experience.
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  • Tamara says:

    I’m not surprised that cruising is easier than other types of travel for wheelchair users. Many of those benefits apply to everyone, especially getting to see many places without having to pack and repack and worry about transportation logistics. Cruising takes the trouble out of planning.
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  • For a number of reasons cruising isn’t really my scene, but I can totally see how it might be the best option when it comes to accessibility. I’m glad you’ve found an option that provides so much enjoyment for you! 🙂

    Also, what a cute little towel animal there! What other towel animals did you get?
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  • Karen says:

    What an enlightening read this was for me. Sometimes its easy to forget how even little things can make traveling so much more enjoyable, and cruises are apparently preeettty great for those little things.

    I’m curious if you’ve ever been to Southeast Asia, and what your experiences there were like. Was there any destinations you found particularly wheelchair friendly, and some that weren’t? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

    • Cory Lee says:

      Thanks for commenting Karen! Unfortunately I have not visited Southeast Asia yet, but I’m dying to go there so hopefully soon. Will let you know once I’ve been 🙂

  • Louise says:

    I have only been on 1 cruse myself and that was before we adopted my son who has a SCI and uses a chair. He is 14 and I would love to cruse to Alaska. How are the room size and bathroom accommodations? There would be 3 in our room.

  • Lynda Enders says:

    1. Waiting for ship’s elevators is the PITS…nobody will let you in without a fight, regardless of how long you wait for a break in the line.
    2. Ports of call in foreign countries are difficult (no ADA requirements to ease the obstacles)
    3. Traveling alone in a chair and requesting help to open sea-proof doors will often get you a “you shouldn’t be traveling alone” remark.
    4. Be prepared for disgruntled passengers at the buffets if you slow the line or request assistance. I’ve been on 6 cruises (HAL, Disney, Premier) ranging 10 days to 3 weeks. Sometimes with Service Dog (4 cruises), sometimes with family/friend. St. Maartin is my favorite port of call. None of the cruises arranged accessible port of call transport and I was once abandoned at the Treasure Island Pier by the water taxi service. Cruising without escort is an exercise in extreme adventuring. I’ve also spent a month in Europe (3 bus tours end-to-end) plus other European adventures both with and without chair… Only 1 more destination on my bucket list…Alaska…

  • Robert Stonehouse says:

    Hi cory, great blogs i always read them, i too have spinal muscular atrophy, i have only ever been on a short mini cruise from newcastle uk to amsterdam, i have to admit i enjoyed it more than flying. Shame it was only a short cruise i could have stayed longer.

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