Q. Can I disembark at every port if I am a full time wheelchair user?

 

It may not be possible for wheelchair users to get ashore in all ports of call. At the majority of ports visited by our ships we deploy a short ramped low level gangway, commonly referred to as the ships brow, this then allows wheelchair users easy access to shore. We do our very best to make sure that all guests get ashore in as many ports as possible, although there will be times when it is not possible to deploy the ships brow. This is usually due to ports with a large tidal range where the ramp becomes unavoidably too steep and unsafe to use during the course of the day with the tidal movements.

At ports where it is not possible to use the ship’s brow, access to shore will be either by a long shore gangway fitted with self levelling steps to take into account the tidal conditions or in some cases, wooden batons for foot grips – dependant on tidal conditions the baton type can be quite steep at times.

The ship may also use its own narrow steeped gangway (the “accommodation ladder”) which also features self levelling steps to take account of the tide. 

 

Tenders

 

 

In some ports it is necessary to anchor off shore rather than alongside the dock or quay . When this is the case, we use a tender to take you ashore. A tender is a small vessel that carries around 100 passengers. In order to board the tender, please note that you will be required to use steps (up to 20cm/8 inches high) and navigate the gap between the platform and the tender (of up to 45cm/18 inches).

 

In the interests of safety, we require all guests wishing to use the tenders to have sufficient independent mobility to negotiate steps and traverse a gap of up to 45 cm/18 inches. Anyone wishing to board the tender will need to demonstrate this ability via a mobility test prior to tender embarkation by stepping unaided over a distance of 45 cm/18 inches. Children who are unable to step across a gap of this size will be permitted to use the tender service provided their parent/guardian is able to demonstrate that they can carry or pass them safely across the mobility test gap.

 

There will be crew members there to guide and steady you as you embark, but they cannot support, carry or lift guests on board the tender for safety reasons. Please wear appropriate, flat, and securely attached footwear, when embarking and disembarking the tender.

 

If you use a wheelchair or mobility scooter, please note that you or your travelling companion are responsible for assembling and disassembling your wheelchair/mobility scooter. The crew will endeavour to assist where practical and safe to do so, providing that no individual part weighs more than 20kg/40 lb.

 

If you have notified us that you have reduced mobility you will be invited to a tender briefing on board and given the opportunity to take part in the mobility assessment (described above) in advance. This must be completed independently, without any assistance. If an officer decides it is not safe for you to board a tender, please respect their decision as this decision is taken to ensure your safety, in accordance with health and safety law.

For more information on tenders please refer to What is a tender? and tender ports please refer to the question Can wheelchair users use tender launches to go ashore?

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