Cruise with a Disability

Taking a cruise with a disability is not impossible. However, it takes a little extra planning. Using a travel agent for this type of trip may be advisable to ensure that all your needs are met. You can work directly with customer service on the cruise line you are interested in using. You will need to know, however, which questions to ask to make sure that you will be able to cruise in comfort.  

 

Most Cruise Lines Are Not ADA Compliant  

 

Almost every cruise line that actively operates in the United States is from another country. Because of this, many of the ships are not ADA compliant. Older ships especially are notorious for having very small cabins, almost miniature sized bathrooms, and lack of ramps or other mobility assistance devices.  

 

Newer and larger ships, however, have become more adaptable for people traveling with disabilities. Depending on your disability, you will have different concerns that you must address.  

 

Mobility Disability  

 

If you require a wheelchair, it is very important that you speak with the cruise line about your accommodations. Make sure that they offer suites large enough for your chair with an accommodating bathroom. Ask about the different ports that you will visit to see if you will be able to disembark from the ship. Some ports do not have wheelchair accessible shops or tourist destinations.  

 

Hearing Disability  

 

If you have a hearing disability, you can request certain items from the cruise line that will make your travel much more enjoyable. TTY and TTD devices are available upon request. Many of the cruise lines offer kits that include visual smoke alarms, vibrating alarm clocks, and door sensors that will alert you if someone is at your cabin door.  

 

Sight Disability  

 

Those traveling with a sight disability may find that taking a cruise can be difficult if they use a service animal. While cruise lines all accept service animals on their ships, many of the foreign ports will not allow service animals to come off the ships. These countries have strict rules about foreign animals and rarely make an exception for service animals. You will need to ask the cruise line what the rules are concerning these animals at the ports you are stopping at to see if you will be able to leave the ship.  

 

The best way to have an enjoyable cruise is to be very upfront with the cruise line or travel agent about your needs. Ask a lot of questions.  Be specific.  The only way that your needs can be met is if they are known. 

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More information

Please note: VAT is removed in the checkout process

In the UK, disabled people do not have to pay VAT when buying certain disability aids and services (This can be claimed by friend or family member purchasing on their behalf). Not everything supplied to disabled people is necessarily zero-rated for VAT. Goods and services on which you do not have to pay VAT are usually known as 'zero-rated' or 'eligible for VAT relief.

Who is eligible for VAT relief?

You must be 'chronically sick or disabled' to qualify for VAT relief. The HMRC comment on this is as follows. A person is 'chronically sick or disabled' if they either:

VAT Relief on our Disability Aids

All products on the Aids for Mobility website are flagged with an option to claim VAT relief during Checkout if it applies to that item. When you add a zero-rated product or service to your Basket, you will be asked to tick a checkbox to confirm that you, or the person for whom you are buying the item, are eligible for VAT Relief.

How VAT relief works

If you are claiming VAT Relief you will be asked to complete an extra few questions during Checkout, where we will ask you to provide brief details of your disability and confirmation that the product is for 'personal or domestic use'. We will keep a record of this declaration along with your order details. You can then buy the product(s) in your Basket at a price that excludes VAT. You will be asked to make this declaration each time you place an order that includes zero-rated products. It is a legal requirement that we record this information for every order, and we apologise for the inconvenience.

More information from HMRC

You can find out more about VAT Relief for disabled people on the HM Revenue and Customs website. If you cannot find the answer to your questions there or would prefer to speak to an adviser, you can call their Helpline on 0845 302 02 03.

The helpline is open from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm, Monday to Friday. (Closed weekends and bank holidays).