Wheelchair Access & Special Needs
Holland America Line is committed to providing safe, easy, and accessible accommodations for all persons with disabilities, to the extent that is feasible. However, some needs require adequate time to prepare for a guest's arrival. It is recommended that guests make every effort to contact the Access & Compliance Department and submit a Special Requirements Information (SRI) Form well in advance of the departure of their cruise and/or cruisetour. It is recommended that an SRI form be submitted immediately upon booking, or a minimum of 45 days prior to departure.
Guests who are unable to care for their basic needs (e.g. dressing, eating, and attending safety drills) MUST have a capable traveling companion. The medical staff on board is not available for daily care unless an individual is hospitalized in the ship's Medical Center. In limited situations (either on board or ashore), Holland America may find it necessary to ask the individual to make alternative travel arrangements, such as if an individual with a disability is unable to satisfy certain specified safety and other criteria, even when provided with appropriate auxiliary aids and services.
Holland America Line vessels have specially designed staterooms for guests who use wheelchairs. If you have not booked a wheelchair accessible staterooms, but instead will be using a standard stateroom, it is important to know about some limitations that adversely impact maneuverability, especially ingress and egress into bathrooms. For example, bathroom dimensions, doorsills, and the height of bathtubs in standard staterooms are often difficult to negotiate for guests who have limited mobility. Additionally, standard stateroom doors and hallways may be too narrow for a wheelchair or scooter* to maneuver into and out of the stateroom.
*Note: For safety reasons, these mobility devices must be stored and charged in the guests' staterooms.
Wheelchair Accessible Staterooms offer features such as wider entry doors, roll-in showers with grab bars and benches/seats, and hand-held shower nozzles, as well as lowered closet and towel rods.
- Wheelchair accessible stateroom entry doors measure 32 inches wide.
- Wheelchair accessible bathroom doors measure 32 inches wide.
Accessible stateroom locations are noted on the Deck Plans for each ship.
Ship Transfer Options
For individuals with limited mobility, the use of a wheelchair will be the primary mobility assistance aid for getting on and off the ship. Certain ship transfer operations (i.e. during tendering and at the gangways) may not be fully accessible to wheelchairs or scooters. When a ship is unable to dock, guests are taken ashore on smaller boats called tenders. Some guests with limited mobility may find it difficult to embark or disembark the ship at certain times while tendering or while docked due to steep gangways and steps, particularly during low or high tide. Also, please note that scooters and wheelchairs which are more than 100 lbs. (without the battery) are not allowed to be transferred from the ship to tender and/or from tender to shore.
Most Holland America Line vessels have been retrofitted with a tender-lift system that enables guests to roll directly on and off tenders while remaining in their wheelchairs. However, please be advised that adverse weather conditions such as wind, swells, or extreme tide levels may prohibit the use of the ship's tender lift equipment. Additionally, some port facilities may not be able to accommodate the lift equipment. If you require the use of this equipment, please speak with the Guest Relations Manager upon embarkation for further details or to coordinate specific arrangements.
Situations may occur in which guests with limited mobility may not be able to go ashore at the time they desire or are unable to go ashore at all in certain ports. For the safety of all concerned, the Captain shall make the final determination regarding whether or not it is advisable to provide assistance to guests with mobility impairments, or to carry their mobility assistance device (wheelchair, scooter, walker, etc.), taking into account all appropriate matters including, but not limited to, weather conditions, ship's location, weight of the guest or their mobility device, etc.
Personal Mobility Equipment
For the safety of all guests and crew, and to enhance accessibility, Holland America Line strongly recommends that all personal electric mobility equipment meet the following criteria:
- Width: 23" maximum (in order to be accommodated in a standard stateroom), unless collapsible to a width of 23" or less
- Weight: 100 lbs. maximum (without battery)
- Batteries: Must be gel or dry cell or AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) only
Holland America Line recognizes that for some people, a larger scooter may be essential. If you believe you need a larger scooter, please contact the Access & Compliance Department to discuss your requirements.
For the safety of all guests and crew, scooters and other mobility equipment need to be securely stored and charged in the guest's stateroom, not in hallways or elevator lobbies. Scooters left in hallways and elevator lobbies could restrict people needing to travel through these areas in an emergency, particularly other guests using mobility aids, since they would have no way of getting by a scooter left in a hallway.
Holland America Line is no longer able to provide complimentary wheelchair assistance for any purpose other than embarkation, disembarkation, and emergency situations. Holland America Line wheelchairs are not available for shore excursions or for use on board. If you will require regular use of a wheelchair, it is recommended that you bring your own wheelchair with you. You may also make advance rental arrangements prior to your sailing and have a wheelchair delivered directly to the ship for use on board and in ports of call.
Special Needs at Sea and CareVacations/CruiseShipAssist are the vendors that Holland America Line has approved for delivery of mobility devices. Please contact these vendors directly for pricing and availability.
Special Needs at Sea
Phone: 800-513-4515 (or locally at 954-585-0575)
Phone: 877-478-7827 (or locally at 780-986-6404)
Please be advised that all pre-arranged mobility equipment rentals must be made by the guest and the third party provider. Consequently, you assume the entire risk of utilizing these third party services subject only to whatever terms or arrangements are made by you or on your behalf with the service provider. Refund issues must be dealt with solely between you and the service provider. We recommend contacting one of these companies to confirm your arrangements as soon as possible in order to ensure the availability of your specific requests.
Shoreside Wheelchair Assistance
Because facilities in ports around the world vary significantly, wheelchair accommodations may not be available for some land tours and/or shore excursions. Furthermore, many transportation vehicles around the world do not have wheelchair lifts. Thus, it may be necessary for Holland America Line to make alternate transportation arrangements such as a sedan vehicle. This requires that a guest who uses a wheelchair be able to transfer from his/her wheelchair to the front or back seat of a sedan. Due to the limited number of lift-equipped vehicles in foreign locations, guests may incur additional costs for transportation related to airport transfers, shore excursions, and tour/hotel packages. Please note, lift equipped transportation within the United States may be arranged without additional costs. For information on alternative transportation arrangements and associated costs please contact the Access & Compliance Department . Please advise Holland America Line as far in advance as possible of any special needs for transfers. This will help to ensure availability of the appropriate vehicle(s) and for Holland America Line to provide an estimate of additional associated costs.
Guests should be aware that certain third party shore excursion facilities may not be fully accessible to guests with disabilities. Although Holland America Line endeavors to make sure these companies comply with legal requirements, they cannot guarantee that all are able to provide facilities that are accessible to individuals with disabilities. For detailed information on accessibility of shore excursions, it is strongly recommend that guests contact the Shore Excursions Department prior to embarkation at 1-888-425-9376 (or locally at 206-626-7320) or visit the Shore Excursions Office on board.
Wheelchair assistance that is requested for airports or train stations must be done directly through the airline or rail station. Holland America Line is not able to arrange for wheelchair assistance at airports or train stations.
Options For Deaf or Hard of Hearing Guests
To help maximize the cruise experience for guests who are deaf or hard of hearing, Holland America Line has made the following items available:
- Stateroom kits that include a visual and tactile alert for someone knocking at the door, the phone ringing, or an alarm.
- Stateroom televisions capable of showing closed captioning (some satellite feeds do not transmit with captioning, so this feature is available only when the signal the ship receives has captioning).
- Telephones with amplified sound for staterooms.
- Assistive Listening Systems with portable receivers in the show lounges to assist guests who are hard of hearing to hear the shows.
- Written safety information and a copy of the lifeboat drill safety speech.
Options For Guests Who Are Blind Or Have Low Vision
To help maximize the cruise experience for guests who are blind or have low vision, Holland America Line has made the following items available:
- Window-Eyes® computer software in the Explorations Café that allows guests to navigate the web by listening to the text.
- Downloadable daily activities, news, and menus for guests with laptops with screen reader programs. These items may also be downloaded to the Window-Eyes® enabled computer in the Explorations Café.
- With 45 days notice, large print or Braille menus describing the inspired cuisine offered across a myriad of venues, from the elegant Dining Room to the casual Lido Restaurant.
- A familiarization tour of the vessel upon arrival.
Holland America Line only permits service animals on board, defined as those animals that are individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. Guests are not permitted to bring pets, therapy/companion animals, and other animals that do not meet the definition of service animals. If you have any questions about whether the animal you wish to bring on board is, in fact, a service animal, you may contact the Access & Compliance Department.
Your itinerary may include ports of call that have very specific and strict requirements that need to be met prior to your service animal being allowed off of the ship. Please be sure you understand the requirements for a service animal to disembark in each port of call. The best places to obtain specific information on required documentation and immunizations for your service animal are the U.S. Department of Agriculture's website, local customs offices in the specific ports, and from your service animal's veterinarian. All documentation and immunization requirements are established by government authorities and not by Holland America Line. Should you need assistance in locating this information, please contact the Access & Compliance Department.
To board the ship, your service animal must have current vaccinations. Records confirming the vaccination status should be provided to the Access & Compliance Department prior to your departure. It is also recommended that you carry the immunization records with you in case they are required at any port of call. If you do not have the proper documentation and proof of vaccinations for your service animal required at a port of call, or if there are local quarantine requirements, your service animal will be denied the right to leave the ship. If your service animal is denied the right to leave the ship in a specific port of call, the staff and crew will work with you to determine what actions may be possible to allow you to visit the port without your service animal. Please note that in your absence, you will need to provide for the care and supervision of your service animal. Except in those circumstances where your service animal has been denied disembarkation, you may not leave your service animal unattended on the vessel or in your stateroom at any time.
Oxygen Deliveries On Board
Guests requiring continuous or intermittent oxygen for chronic conditions must make their own arrangements prior to travel. Holland America Line ships are not equipped to provide guests with these services other than on an emergency basis in the Ship's Medical Center. For security and safety reasons, Holland America has selected CareVacations/CruiseShipAssist and Special Needs at Sea as the only outside vendors permitted to deliver oxygen supplies to Holland America ships.
Special Needs at Sea
Phone: 800-513-4515 (or locally at 954-585-0575)
Phone: 877-478-7827 (or locally at 780-986-6404)
Note: Oxygen and/or oxygen equipment deliveries will not be accepted from any other companies.
Please be advised that all oxygen and oxygen equipment rental arrangements must be made by the guest and the third party provider. Consequently, you assume the entire risk of utilizing these third party services subject only to whatever terms or arrangements are made by you or on your behalf with the service provider. Refund issues must be dealt with solely between you and the service provider. We recommend contacting one of these companies to confirm your arrangements as soon as possible in order to ensure the availability of your specific requests.
Guests are also welcome to bring their own oxygen and/or oxygen equipment from home. Please note that the ship's staff and crew are not permitted to handle oxygen and/or oxygen equipment during the embarkation and disembarkation process. Thus, you must be able to handle your supplies if you bring your own. Please contact the Access & Compliance Department prior to sailing if you will require oxygen while on your cruise.
Please Note: In accordance with FAA regulations, airlines have restrictions concerning traveling with oxygen and oxygen containers. It is the traveler’s responsibility to be familiar with and comply with the regulations of the airline they are traveling on.