Cruising is the most relaxing way of exploring the world in a week. There is certainly no argument there. Wait, did somebody say “a week”? Some cruises last up to two weeks, or longer. No matter how long a cruise may last, the fun and excitement are non-stop.

When it comes to preparing for a cruise, there is a hint of homework to be done. Such homework is paramount for all guests to complete. When it comes to preparation, guests must decide whether or not they will need special assistance. When the two words “special assistance” are mentioned, the term “wheelchairs” comes to mind. On any cruise, wheelchairs are known to be numerous. It depends on the itinerary and the cruise profile (ex. guests’ age range). Elderly and/or physically impaired guests need to keep in mind three considerable hints when seeking wheelchair assistance. If they follow these three hints, life on two wheels will be a walk in the park.

3. Online check-in: Of all steps to preparing for a cruise, this hint is a no-brainer. The online check-in processes throughout the cruising industry are mirror image of each other. Once the cruise is successfully booked and paid for, the online check-in process begins. In the cruising industry, online check-in is king. Dominantly, it minimizes guests’ time at the check-in counter. The less time at the counter, the more time spent exploring the ship. What does online check-in have to do with requesting a wheelchair? There is a step which guests must keep a sharp eye out for. The online check-in process includes the question whether or not guests will need wheelchair assistance at the cruise terminal. Wheelchair assistance is available upon request. If the guests answer “yes”, they must specify as to whom in the party will need wheelchair assistance. As long as wheelchair assistance is requested online, guests should have a short waiting time. It is easier done than said.

2. Wheelchairs onboard ship: Week-in and week-out, regardless of cruise line, guests encounter the same song and dance. It seems that they never catch on to this hint. There always a ton of confusion regarding wheelchairs at the cruise terminal and wheelchairs onboard ship. They are two completely different matters. If guests are in need of wheelchairs for the length of the cruise, they must visit the guest services desk onboard ship. Wheelchairs onboard ship are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. There are a limited amount of wheelchairs available onboard. Wheelchair assistance in the terminal are intended for pier-to-ship only. Once having boarded the ship, the guest must visit the guest services desk. If guests rented scooters or wheelchairs via the cruise line or their the travel agents, they should immediately follow up with guest services. On sailing day, the guest services staff are inundated with hundreds of guests’ matters. Some matters are more pertinent than others. If in need of wheelchairs, guests must not procrastinate.

1. Bringing their own wheelchairs: This is the hint of all hints-the golden hint. Waiting for wheelchairs at the pier and onboard ship is enough to dampen guests’ spirits. Undoubtedly, it can be over-the-top stressful. To avoid the obstacle of waiting for wheelchairs at the cruise terminal and onboard ship, guests should do the easiest thing of all-bring their own wheelchairs. By bringing their own wheelchairs, the waiting game is completely eliminated. Upon arrival at the pier, guests can be taken care of right away. Disney Cruise Line greatly preaches to guests the convenience of bringing their own wheelchairs. Guests bringing their own wheelchairs allows for a smooth transition from pier to ship, and vice-versa.

A cruise is the perfect way to escape the stresses of the real world. There is so much to look forward to. Guests look forward to the fine dining experience, the world-class entertainment, and definitely-the exciting shore excursions. When it comes to guests requiring wheelchair assistance, three hints of advice need to be kept in mind. Guests must request wheelchair assistance while completing the online check-in process. If guests need wheelchairs for the duration of the cruise, they must immediately visit the guest services desk. To make life one hundred percent easier, guests should bring their own wheelchairs. The more prepared the guests are, the smoother the transition between the pier and the ship. Musical Chairs is a fun game to play, but it should not have complicate anyone’s cruise vacation.

About Author

David Kriso has been a travel writer since August 2011. He is a contributing writer for both of his hometown's newspapers, The Gazette, and The Observer. His articles focus on cruise and railroad travel. David is also published online at, a cruise magazine based in Vancouver, Canada and at Amtrak's story site, David also writes for the publication On, he writes about cruise and rail travel. David is a long-time train traveler, avid cruiser, and a Disney traveler since age 4.

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