Posted February 1st, 2012, 10:19 AM
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.