Disability Friendly Caribbean Ports of Call

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Cruising with a Disability -
Which Caribbean ports are least accessible

Cruises are often touted as the easiest way for those with disabilities to travel. And that is true if you consider only embarkation and disembarkation at your home port. Those wide, long ramps are ideal for wheelchairs.

Embarking is easy and so it is once aboard since all modern ships have special wheelchair accessible cabins with low thresholds, wide bathroom doors, and roll-in showers.

Actually getting to see the Caribbean is not nearly as easy in many Caribbean ports of call because the ships cannot dock. They never actually land but have to anchor well away from land, sometimes miles away.

Ships that anchor offshore have to tender their passengers ashore by boat. The tender may belong to the ship or be a small, locally-hired boat.

Obviously, local boats come in all sizes and with various varieties of comfort. And the local boatmen may have no experience dealing with someone confined to a wheelchair.

Belize City Cruise Ship Tendering Passengers
It's calm this day off Belize City. Imagine using a
wheelchair on a rough day and having to be lifted.

There is the sales pitch (and myth) that the crew is always willing and able to carry a wheelchair down the gangway no matter how steep and how rough the seas.

That is simply not true during bad seas. As an able-bodied person even I've had difficulty boarding some tenders during rough conditions. The surest--and safest course--is to avoid Caribbean ports where the ships have to anchor and tender.

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