Princess Access Makes Cruise Vacations Accessible For Passengers With Disabilities
Award-Winning Program Addresses Special Needs at Sea
East Denver LIVING WELL Magazine
Princess has long placed a high priority on making cruise vacations accessible for all passengers, including those with special needs. The company initiated its award-winning Princess Access 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.
Today, 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 all follow guidelines set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and 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.
Sight and 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, Princess continues to innovate accessibility for passengers. Special gangway mechanisms on most ships simplify embarkation and disembarkation for wheelchair passengers in many worldwide ports. While onshore facilities and levels of access vary, Princess has made efforts to expand accessible offerings by working with local service providers.
Alaska cruise tour passengers 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.