Accessible Europe River Cruises?

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#1
34 Posts
Joined Jul 2007
I have searching the internet to see about accessible river boats in Europe, but cant seem to find any that are. It even seems that some of the boats have been built very recently, but arent catering to the disabled community. Am I right?
#2
san diego
3,163 Posts
Joined Nov 2005
For the most part, you are right; they are not built with the disabled community in mind although a couple of the newer ones do have one or two so-called accessible cabins.
You do not say what disability you or your traveling companion may have, but if you are pretty well confined to a wheelchair there are certainly problems associated with river travel. Because the level of the river varies by several feet from one season to another, the boat often docks alongside a levee which slopes up to the streets. These are often made of cobble or brick and it is very difficult to push a wheelchair up to street level. And even then, because most of the stops are old historic river towns, the streets are very often cobblestones or brick and there are just no cut curbs. And because the most interesting sites are old historic ones such as churches there are generally steps to get in with no ramps. In major cities like Vienna and Budapest conditions may be somewhat better but because of the volume of river traffic at prime travel time it is sometimes necessary to get on to another boat which is tied up in order to get ashore. This latter condition is especially bad on the Nile
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retired-still cruisin'
#3
34 Posts
Joined Jul 2007
I am a para, and use a wheechair for mobility. You are right, family and friends have all comented on how difficult it would be in Europe for a wheelchair, and maybe the reality is that unless one would be quite content missing out on a few activities it may not be worth forking out the dollars for this type of cruise. I have had an AB friend come back from one of these cruises recently, and after seeing all her photos I thought that this would be something that i would definitely want to do.

Do you know which ones have wheelchair cabins in them, by chance?
#4
Wisconsin
6,138 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Originally posted by Strawberryflds
I am a para, and use a wheechair for mobility. You are right, family and friends have all comented on how difficult it would be in Europe for a wheelchair, and maybe the reality is that unless one would be quite content missing out on a few activities it may not be worth forking out the dollars for this type of cruise. I have had an AB friend come back from one of these cruises recently, and after seeing all her photos I thought that this would be something that i would definitely want to do.

Do you know which ones have wheelchair cabins in them, by chance?
You might want to go to this board and ask:
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=191

I'm going to guess here, though...and this is a pure guess...you won't find any with an accessible cabin. At least certainly not as we think of "accessible" in the US. There just isn't much interest in it, no laws about access. Presumably people like us in wheelchairs don't go out much, or are confined to institutions!

To be fair, I also tried to find out if there were riverboat cruises here in the US (like, along the Mississippi)...and THEY weren't accessible, either..

There's still a long way to go with this issue, I'm afraid!
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I've cruised on Princess, Carnival, HAL,
NCL, Hurtigruten and a couple of even smaller lines in the past. HAL is (for now) my favorite!

#5
North Carolina
7 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
I'm a T-4 Para and have been on several ocean cruises, and would love to go on a river cruise some time. I've been doing some research and wanted to share some useful links I recently found:
http://www.accessibletravel.co.uk/di...er-cruise-ship
http://www.bargesinfrance.com/nouvelleetoile.htm
http://www.scenictours.com/destinati.../ships-suites/ :
See Europe in comfort from a Scenic "Space-Ship" -- RJ Category Junior Suites are located on the Danube Deck and BJ Category Junior Suites are located on the Rhine Deck. RJ Junior Suite 302 configuration differs from the diagram, as it provides barrier-free access in the bathroom, and does not include a bath. Twin beds are not available in Suite 302.
http://www.disabilitytravel.com/inde...uise-egypt.htm

If anyone has been on any of these cruises, please let me know your opinion on the level of accessibility.
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#6
Moon Township, Pa
23,155 Posts
Joined Oct 2000
The biggest problem with river cruises is the fact that you have to somehow make it from the river up to the street level of the cities/towns in which you dock. In most cities, it's either via stairs, rough cobblestone hills or dirt trails. None are good for anyone with mobility problems or for someone using a mobility device.

Another problem is the "crankiness" of the river. A lot of times, the river is too low to handle the boats and your river tour turns into a bus tour. And we all know that for many of us, buses are totally impossible.
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Darcie
#7
5 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
Originally posted by homeboss
http://www.scenictours.com/destinati.../ships-suites/ :
See Europe in comfort from a Scenic "Space-Ship" -- RJ Category Junior Suites are located on the Danube Deck and BJ Category Junior Suites are located on the Rhine Deck. RJ Junior Suite 302 configuration differs from the diagram, as it provides barrier-free access in the bathroom, and does not include a bath. Twin beds are not available in Suite 302.
http://www.disabilitytravel.com/inde...uise-egypt.htm

If anyone has been on any of these cruises, please let me know your opinion on the level of accessibility.
I am very curious, well a bit more than curious - bloody pissed off actually! That so many accommodation venues, especially in the UK and now it seems afloat too, only provide TWIN BEDS!! Are PWds not supposed to sleep with others????? My wife and I don't do TWIN BEDS!!!!!!
Any comments on this?
#8
170 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
Originally posted by uppitycats
There just isn't much interest in it, no laws about access. Presumably people like us in wheelchairs don't go out much, or are confined to institutions!
Hint; pressume less. Just because there are cultural differences it does not mean anything different from US accessibility standards equal not going out much or being institutionalized. For instance; many of our European countries have a multitude of laws and systems in place for about anything and all when it comes to other much needed factors for including all within your society.

When I just think of our own little Dutch piece of globe, some of the examples are affordable medical care and medications, getting whatever aid needed without it costing you and arm and a leg (incl. those needed for sports), providing all kinds of care to be able to remain living in your own home, coverage for needed care of same level when on vacation, coverage to get your house made accessible without little or no cost, opportunities to actually emigrate to a native tongue nursing home and getting it covered to the same extend as you would back home, getting some of the morecosts of vacationing and travelling with a disability or chronic illness covered, getting 24/7 care at home if you prefer that above a nursing home or other options etcetc. When I look at the US with my Dutch standard of this and were one to draw quick conclusions, I could come to the conclusion that sounds earily simular to those I just quoted.

As far as public accessibility goes; let's remember Europe has a total different history than the US. Totally different architecture. That in and of itself is a great influence on things. Architecture one doesn't even want to sacrifice at all costs, after all isn't that what those visiting come for? It's part of an identity and a different outlook on things. Combine that with cultural and political differences throughout the years on what each nation feels about how things need to be done

Focussing on river cruises? There are companies out there that cater but it will greatly depend on the outlook one has to this. Is one expecting a US way of things? Don't go, it can and probably will disappoint very easily. Aware of the possibilities, culture, history and geography of the waters, ports etc. you want to hit? Results in a totally different experience.

Besides the "general" companies out there, there are ships operated by funds, patientadvocacy groups and what not. They will only cater to those with disabilities and/or medical needs, including provide onboard care. They will even take passengers that are (mostly) bedridden. And yes; get them into port where possible. All within limitations of personal ability and safety. Greatest thing, imho, is that a great deal of these guests will find their cruisefare largely or even in total will be paid by funds and what not. Gives an opportunity to those to travel when they haven't been able to afford it themselves. Main reason for mentioning them though; it's one of those examples that it is possible but within the limitations, safety and culture of the destinations.

Are things perfect? Hell no! But then again, nowhere on our globe including the US nor my little piece of globe has a even close to perfect system when it comes to creating a total allinclusive society.
#9
Morris County, NJ
257 Posts
Joined Jun 2007
Thank you Selma. Wonderfully said! I am also interested in a river cruise and have started to do research on it. I've found in all of my travels that if I focus on what I can do and see, rather than what I can not, I can truly enjoy myself and experience other cultures. I've also found that if I am willing to make compromises, the residents of (most) places are more than happy to help find a way to make my experience wonderful. I do not need to climb to the top of a pyramid to experience the wonder of it!