Accessible Cruise Travel vs Accessible Land Travel
One of the key decisions to make when traveling with a disability in Europe is whether you should travel by cruise ship or by train/car/plane. Here I present 8 Reasons Why Accessible Cruise Travel is Better followed by 8 Reasons Why Accessible Land Travel is Better.
8 Reasons Cruise Travel is Better
1) “Don’t waste energy on the things that don’t matter.” – I met a disabled passenger on a cruise, and he said this was the reason he only travels by cruise ship. I thought it was a great way to state it. All of your energy will be spent on enjoying your trip instead of traveling from place to place!
2) No bad neighborhoods on a cruise ship – When traveling on land, you always run the risk of choosing a bad hotel. You could be in a neighborhood with a high crime rate, lots of cobblestones and hills (such as those shown in the Istanbul photo on the left), strip clubs, panhandlers, or the overly crowded section of Venice (such as those shown in the Istanbul photo on the right). Or maybe you choose a great hotel in a great location, but the building next to you has loud construction going on! With accessible cruise travel, you don’t ever have to worry about sleeping in a bad neighborhood.
3) Only unpack once – To me this is one of the best parts about accessible cruise travel. I don’t have to pack and unpack every time that I need to switch hotels. Unpack once at the start of your trip and pack once at the end of your trip, and you’re done!
4) More consistency in dining quality – You’ll be hard pressed to find a bad meal on a cruise ship. On land it’s easy to walk/roll into a charming restaurant only to be disappointed by the food.
5) All cruise staff speak English – If you are on one of the major international cruise lines (Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian, Celebrity, Princess, Azamura, Seabourn, etc…), all of the cruise staff will speak English. On top of that, they’re from all over the world which makes for some fascinating discussions!
6) Excellent customer service – Customer service by the waiters, maids, and bartenders is usually very good on cruise ships. The cruise lines train their staff extensively to make sure this is the case. Paying for the same quality of customer service would cost much more on land.
7) Easy to see multiple countries in a short trip – Cruising is the only way that you can say “I slept in Italy last night, I’m in Croatia today, and I’ll be in Greece tomorrow.” You don’t have to spend any of your daylight hours catching trains, because the cruise ship comfortably transports you while you sleep!
8) Cruising can be cheaper than land travel – Depending on your travel preferences, cruising can be cheaper than land travel. If your budget is of primary concern, choosing an interior cabin, sailing in the off-peak season months, choosing an itinerary with ports that don’t require expensive driving excursions, and limiting the amount of incidental expenses on the ship can really bring the price down. Travel smart and cruising can be cheaper than land travel!
accessible shore excursions, and port accessibility reviews.
8 Reasons Land Travel is Better
1) One day is too short in many ports – This is one of the biggest drawbacks of accessible cruise travel in my opinion. How are you going to see Rome in 10 hours when you need a full week? One day is also not enough time in Istanbul, Athens, Tuscany, Naples, Venice, and many more ports.
2) If you need maximum accessibility, land travel provides more options – If you have special needs beyond wide doorways and roll-in showers, land travel allows you to choose from different hotels with different accessibility features (grab bar positioning, bed height, etc…). You’ll be able to find the perfect hotel accommodation for your needs (example accessible Paris hotel shown on left, example Venice hotel shown on right).
3) On cruise excursions, it’s tough to not be a tourist surrounded by tourists – When 3000+ passengers pull into port, most of them want to see the highlights. The ruins at Ephesus (shown in the photo below on the left), St. Mark’s Square in Venice (shown in the photo below on the right), and the Colosseum are just a few of the popular attractions that tourists will flock to. You may spend more time waiting in line than experiencing the culture! Land travel allows you to get away from the tourists and see how the locals live.
4) Many of the great European cities are inland – Madrid, Paris, Munich, Lucerne, Prague, Zurich, Vienna, and Budapest are just a few of the cities you’ll miss with accessible cruise traveling.
5) You can immerse yourself in a single culture – I love working on a few phrases in a foreign language when I travel. With a week or two in Italy and a few weeks of practice beforehand, I’m able to do some basic communication in Italian. I feel like a local! With cruises, it’s really tough to work on a language or get a feel for local customs when you’re switching countries every other day.
6) Better ambience in restaurants on shore – While the dining areas on cruise ships are generally fancy, there is still something to be said for dining on a scenic piazza in Rome (Campo de Fiori shown on the left) or the Grand Canal in Venice (shown on the right).
7) Finding accessible shore excursions can be difficult in some ports, and impossible in others – We’ve spend countless hours researching accessible shore excursions in Europe. In many ports vans with wheelchair ramps are hand to find and/or expensive. In other ports, electric wheelchair users (and anyone else who can’t walk up bus stairs or transfer into a normal car) will have no option but to stay on the ship!
8) Land travel can be cheaper than cruising – Although the accommodation and food are a bargain with accessible cruise travel, the cost of the trip can add up when you start to factor in accessible excursions. If you’re traveling on land, you can travel cheaply by avoiding large expensive cities, choosing hotels outside the city center, dining at affordable restaurants, and using public transportation. Travel smart and land travel can be cheaper than cruising!
Accessible Cruising in Europe
Accessible Cruise Travel vs. Accessible Land Travel
Choosing Your Accessible Cruise
13 Tips for Disabled Cruisers in Europe
Top 20 Accessible Mediterranean Cruise Itineraries
Accessibility Reviews of European Cruise Ports
Are Cruise Tenders Accessible?
Accessible Mediterranean Cruise Excursions
Discount Accessible Cruise & Excursion Packages
Cruise Port Accessibility Reviews
Athens (Piraeus) Cruise Port Accessibility
Barcelona Cruise Port Accessibility
Civitavecchia (Rome) Cruise Port Accessibility
Istanbul Cruise Port Accessibility
Kusadasi Cruise Port Accessibility
Livorno (Florence) Cruise Port Accessibility
Monaco Cruise Port Accessibility
Mykonos Cruise Port Accessibility
Naples Cruise Port Accessibility
Sorrento Cruise Port Accessibility
Venice Cruise Port Accessibility
Accessible Mediterranean Cruise Excursions
Athens Accessible Cruise Excursions
Barcelona Accessible Cruise Excursions
Civitavecchia (Rome) Accessible Cruise Excursions
Ephesus (Kusadasi & Izmir) Accessible Cruise Excursions
French Riviera Accessible Cruise Excursions
Istanbul Accessible Cruise Excursions
Livorno (Tuscany) Accessible Cruise Excursions
Mykonos Accessible Cruise Excursions
Naples Accessible Cruise Excursions
Venice Accessible Cruise Excursions
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