Accessibility and Support for Ocean Cruises
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Accessibility and assistance
At Saga, we endeavour to provide an exceptional experience for all guests, and we want to ensure you make the right choice when booking your cruise with us.
If you need to notify us of any special requirements, please do so at the time of booking. If you have already booked, please make sure you notify us no later than 48 hours before departure by calling us free on 0800 373 034.
Failure to inform us could result in denied boarding. Every effort will be made to cater for your requirements; however, we are unable to accommodate all needs.
- Carriage of guests up and down gangways in ports other than turnaround ports
- The hiring of hoists or mobility equipment, and assistance with using personal hoists
- Any level of personal care, for example, using the bathroom, eating, or movement around the ship
- Routine daily care of assistance dogs including but not limited to feeding, exercise and sanitary needs
- Guardian services or emotional support
If you are travelling alone and once on board, we feel you are unable to cope, a senior officer will discuss the situation with you, and you may be asked to leave the ship at your own cost in extreme circumstances.
There will be some instances where a guest should be accompanied by a fare-paying travelling companion who can dedicate the time and attention needed to ensure the required care is received.
It's important that you discuss your needs with us prior to booking so that we can assess your individual circumstances and inform you if a travelling companion is required. Failure to tell us of any requirement for disability assistance may result in denied boarding, or curtailment of the cruise.
If you are booking our return UK travel service to take you from home to your departure point, you must let us know if you plan to take a wheelchair, scooter, or any other mobility aids or medical equipment, in order that we can arrange a suitably sized vehicle.
Certain types of gaseous oxygen or portable oxygen concentrators will be accepted on board. If you have such a requirement, you must notify us at the time of booking and no later than 48 hours before you travel.
This time is required to check whether your type of oxygen can be carried and, if so, to make the necessary preparations before the oxygen is brought on board.
Also, the ship will have limited storage capacity so notice is required for us to check if this will be available.
Please note, liquid oxygen is not permitted.
Only one oxygen cylinder may be stored in your cabin at any one time. This is in addition to the cylinder currently in use. Any remaining cylinders must be stored in the appropriate ship's storage facility elsewhere if available.
You will be responsible for providing any supplies or equipment needed. You also need to be able to administer the oxygen yourself or you'll need to travel with a fare paying companion capable of performing this function.
If you have a medical condition where you need to dispose of medical waste or sharps, please let us know prior to your cruise and we will make sure a medical waste or sharps bin is in your cabin.
You can tell us by calling 0800 373 034.
It is important that you let us know so that our crew are not injured if you place needles in your regular cabin bin.
Due to the specialised equipment and expertise required to safely administer haemodialysis, regrettably you will be unable to cruise with us if you require this treatment.
We can however accept peritoneal dialysis patients. Please let us know at the time of booking, providing at least 48 hours’ notice if you require peritoneal dialysis. You will need to supply your own equipment and need to be able to carry out the procedure yourself or be accompanied by a fare paying companion who can do this for you.
For safety reasons, if you are permanently reliant upon medical equipment or need to take bulky, heavy equipment (i.e., unable to be carried in a rucksack or similar case) you will not be able to use the ship's passenger tender service. Consequently, at ports where the vessel is at anchor, if you carry such equipment or are unable to assist yourself into the tender, you will need to remain aboard the vessel.
Hearing and visual impairment
Assistance that can be provided includes:
- Someone to meet you at the terminal
- Guidance to and through check-in and to your cabin
- Assistance with baggage from the car, through check-in and to your cabin
Assistance that can be provided includes:
- Assistance in making your way to toilet facilities in public spaces
- Assistance to your seat in any dining facility
- If accompanied by a companion, a cabin adjacent to them, if available at the time of booking
- Orientation tours on request
- Advice on essential information regarding the planned route
Assistance that can be provided includes:
- Retrieval of baggage and assistance with its transfer to the terminal
- Assistance from your cabin to disembarkation and through customs and immigration
- Assistance from baggage collection to the point of exit
In order to assist deaf or hard of hearing guests with the passenger embarkation safety drill, a subtitled safety video is available on the cabin's television.
This video runs on a loop and is available 24/7. Those who are unable to hear the captain’s safety announcement on embarkation day should take the time to watch this video at the earliest opportunity.
Any member of the ship’s crew will be happy to answer any questions you may have after watching the video.
A number of visual alarm units are available on request. When fitted into the cabin these will flash indicator lights when loud alarms sound.
Also, they provide a fixture that will vibrate a pillow to alert you whilst you are sleeping.
Most entertainment rooms on each vessel have hearing loop systems installed. This will improve sound volume and clarity with hearing aids switched to the 'T' position.
The vessel can provide all its daily publications (e.g., cinema guide, daily paper) in large print upon request; Braille playing cards are also available upon request. Please let us know about your requirements when you book.
Although not a requirement, it is recommended that a blind or visually impaired guest travels with a fare-paying companion. This recommendation is made purely based on personal safety.
In the unlikely event of an emergency on board, a travelling companion will greatly aid your timely relocation to your allocated muster station.
If you need to notify us of any special requirements, please do so at the time of booking. If you have already booked, please make sure you notify us no later than 48 hours before departure by calling our us free on 0800 373 034.
To ensure that the crew can cope in an emergency situation, the number of guests who require a wheelchair or mobility scooter to be booked on any cruise is restricted for safety reasons.
It's therefore essential that you ask at the time of booking if there will be space for you to bring your wheelchair, mobility scooter or other equipment on board. Please contact a member of our Sales Team on 0800 096 0079 to enquire about availability. If you've already booked, please call our After-sales Team on 0800 504 505 instead.
All guests that require the use of a wheelchair or mobility scooter on board will only be booked into a wheelchair accessible cabin and will need to store their wheelchair or scooter within the cabin.
If you arrive at check-in with a wheelchair or mobility scooter and have failed to declare that you are bringing this with you, and no wheelchair spaces are available, then you will be denied boarding on the grounds of safety.
Wheelchairs cannot be provided by the ship, either for use on board or during excursions. Anybody that requires the use of a wheelchair must provide their own.
- Wheelchairs or mobility scooters must be stored within your adapted cabin when not in use and must never be stowed in corridors as they are considered an emergency escape route
- Crew members are not able to carry guests up or down the gangways; this is a risk to both crew and passengers
- In a berth port it may be concluded, on occasion that the gangway presents too much of a risk to put wheelchairs or mobility scooters ashore. On these occasions you may need to remain on board
- You must be able to manoeuvre yourself or have a travelling companion who can assist you
- In some ports, tour coaches may not be able to accommodate wheelchair users or carry mobility scooters
- Wheelchairs are available in Southampton and Dover, but these are for embarkation and disembarkation only
- The lifts on board have dimensions of 176 cm(l) x 156 cm (w) with an 89 cm door width
If you require a wheelchair for use on shore excursions only and not on board the ship, the ship will store it for you. As storage is limited, please make us aware if you will be bringing a wheelchair on board for use ashore. Wheelchairs cannot be provided by the ship, either for use on board or during excursions. Anybody that requires the use of a wheelchair must provide their own.
The following equipment is available on board. There is only a limited number of each item so if you require the use of any mobility equipment, please let us know at the time of booking or at the earliest opportunity to enable us to ensure that the necessary equipment is available.
- Bath step
- Bath board
- Shower stool
- Raised toilet seat
- Toilet frame
- Toilet frame and seat range
- Commode with wheels
- Bed rail
- Bed raiser
- Memory pillow
If you need to bring any other mobility equipment on board, please make sure you let us know. This equipment must be stored within your cabin when not in use and must never be stowed in corridors as they are considered to be an emergency escape route.
You are responsible for getting your equipment to the ship. If the equipment is electrical, and you need more than a standard 3-pin plug, please let us know. Our ship’s voltage is 240v and we have UK 3-pin and EU 2-pin sockets in our cabins.
If you wish to hire a hoist or mobility equipment, we recommend using Mobility at Sea.
If you need to take an assistance dog on board, please let us know at the time of booking. If you have already booked, please make sure you notify us no later than 48 hours before departure by calling free on 0800 373 034.
The limitations on assistance dogs carried on each vessel at any time are:
- Registered assistance dogs only
- Maximum of 1 assistance dog per guest
- Maximum of 2 assistance dogs per vessel
It's therefore essential that you let us know at the time of booking if you require an assistance dog so we can ensure there is the availability and make the necessary arrangements.
The limitations on cruises that can be booked if you are travelling with an assistance dog are:
- All ports of call must be within EU Pet Passport Scheme Qualifying Countries and Territories
- There must be a port of call available for tapeworm treatment for the assistance dog 1-5 days before the disembarkation in the UK
- You will need to ensure that the assistance dog complies with the Pet Passport Scheme
Please be aware that some ports of call may not allow the assistance dog to go ashore.
Assistance staff in the cruise terminal can be found along the boarding route and will escort you and your assistance dog from the terminal check-in to the ship.
An appointed vet arranged by us will be present when you embark so that they can check the pet’s passport and scan the microchip using either their own scanner or the scanner provided by you.
Whilst on board, it is your responsibility to ensure:
- Your assistance dog’s general welfare
- You supply and feed your assistance dog
- You do not let your assistance dog disturb fellow guests
- Your dog has a tapeworm treatment 1-5 days before returning to the UK. The ship's Guest Services Director will help you book this treatment, arrange transport for you, and maintain a copy of the treatment document
During disembarkation, the appointed veterinarian shall check the assistance dog’s passport and scan the microchip using either their own scanner or the scanner provided by you.
We do not offer assistance for embarkation or disembarkation unless you have told us that you need assistance in an emergency on board, and this is only given at turnaround ports.
If you have registered for emergency assistance, then we will assist you with getting to the ship (gangway entrance) from check-in. You will need to walk from the car to the check-in desk. If you have booked an adapted cabin, a porter will assist you from the car to the ship.
During the cruise, the crew are unable to help you with getting on and off the ship and you will be expected to be able to do this yourself. We will always try to use accessible gangways where the port facilities are available. The gradient of the gangway will be dependent on tidal conditions.
As your safety is our priority, the crew will stop you from using the gangway if they feel you would not be able to manage it safely. If this is the case, you will need to remain on board.
At some ports, the ship will anchor offshore, and you will be taken to land by small boats called tenders. We highlight planned tender ports in our brochures using an anchor symbol and point out in the itineraries on our website where a tender port is planned.
It is important to note though that even if the ship is scheduled to dock at a pier, it can change to tendering without notice due to weather, sea conditions and other factors. On Spirit of Discovery and Spirit of Adventure our tenders are wheelchair accessible, however we cannot guarantee the accessibility of the shore tender landing area. If it is not accessible, then you will have to remain on board.
Prior to embarking a tender, all guests will be required to demonstrate their ability to step unaided across a marked distance of 35cm. This is to ensure safe boarding of the tender. If, for any reason, the ship is diverted or moved away from a berth to anchor, the step test will still take place.
If you feel that you cannot safely get yourself to your muster station in an emergency without help, then you must tell us. During an emergency the lifts will not be operational, and you will be required to climb stairs. If you have a disability, we recommend that you have emergency assistance. If you have booked an adapted cabin, then you will automatically get emergency assistance.
Please note that each cruise has a maximum number of emergency assistance spaces. If these are all booked for the cruise you are interested in, we will look to suggest an alternative cruise. We will have to refuse you travel if you have not booked it and arrive at the port and request it.
If you require the use of a wheelchair or mobility scooter for permanent or regular use on board, you will need to book a wheelchair accessible adapted cabin.
Adapted cabins are available on each of our ships. Their cabin numbers are:
- A Deck: A021, A523, A028, A531
- Sun Deck: S009, S509
- C Deck: C036, C537
- D Deck: D025, D526
Please contact us to enquire about the availability of an adapted cabin.
All public areas and venues have level or ramped access and are accessible by lift.
The theatre can be accessed via a sloped entrance on deck 6 and has a dedicated seating area for users of wheelchairs and mobility scooters. Please talk to the Entertainment team on board for guidance.
Both our Lido and Spa pools have a hoist available with a weight limit of 136kg/300lbs.
To help you choose the excursions most suitable for you, we have graded each according to the activity involved, as detailed below:
- Panoramic Tour – A slower paced excursion with the majority of sightseeing taking place from your vehicle. There may be a short walk at the port to join your vehicle and any other walking will be at your own discretion, for example at photo stops.
- Easy Activity – Up to approximately 500 yards on mainly flat terrain, with the possibility of some steps.
- Moderate Activity – Between 500 yards and one mile over mixed terrain, often with steps. Please refer to individual tour activity descriptions as some of these tours may not be suitable for those with mobility concerns who are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability.
- Strenuous Activity – Considerable walking for distances over a mile, usually over uneven terrain with many steps. Generally these tours are aimed at able walkers who can manage the pace of the tours within the time frames of the itinerary and steps required without assistance. These tours are not available to wheelchair guests and may not be suitable for those with mobility concerns who are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability.
Guests should also refer to the individual descriptions once shore excursions are on sale on Manage My Booking. They are set out to offer practical advice based on Saga’s operating experience. You are strongly advised to ensure that your chosen excursion is suitable for your individual personal requirements. Further advice on the suitability of excursions is available from the Explore Ashore Team on board.
In some ports, tour coaches may not be able to accommodate wheelchair users or carry mobility scooters.
Please inform us if you require the use of a wheelchair or scooter while on tour so that we can check if there is suitable transport available in that port. We will also be happy to arrange private transport if you would like to explore independently instead.
If you are in any doubt over the suitability of any excursions, please contact us or speak to the Travel and Tours team on board.