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What assistance is offered to guests with a disability or reduced mobility?

P&O Cruises welcomes guests with disabilities and reduced mobility and we aim to make their stay as relaxing and comfortable as possible. To ensure that we have an accurate and up-to-date record of guests’ requirements, a new "Your on-board needs" questionnaire must be submitted for each cruise or if the guest’s circumstances change as soon as possible after booking and no later than two weeks before they sail.

Guests will be asked to confirm whether they require assistance in the event of an emergency during the booking process. If the guest didn’t make us aware at the point of booking that they require assistance, then they need to contact their travel agent or the Customer Contact Centre urgently to confirm their requirements and complete a “Your on-board needs” questionnaire via My P&O Cruises. These requirements will then be added to their booking, however this is subject to availability.

We'll do all we can to assist guest while they’re on holiday with us. But please be aware, we're unable to note any requests for where cabins will be allocated or which dining is assigned. All allocations are made dependent on fare type and when the booking was made.

Embarkation and disembarkation assistance for guests with disabilities

  • Embarkation assistance in Southampton can be requested on the "Your on-board needs" questionnaire via My P&O Cruises. Registering for embarkation and disembarkation assistance does not entitle guests to a priority or fast track service. However, if they adhere to their allocated embarkation and disembarkation time, this will ensure they are embarked and disembarked as quickly as possible.
  • Embarkation assistance is available from inside the cruise terminal building. On arrival, there will be a mobility assistance team wearing high visibility jackets who will escort guest through embarkation, either in their own mobility aid or a ships wheelchair. Embarkation assistance is also available for guests with hidden disabilities. Guests must only take essential items with them as hand luggage as this will need to be managed between them and their travelling companion.
  • Disembarkation information will be advised on board. If guests have any questions, they should contact Reception. For disembarkation, guests should only take essential items with them as hand luggage as this will need to be managed between them and their travelling companion. The assisted disembarkation process can take a long time due to the volume of guests wishing to disembark at the same time, and guests will be disembarked in priority order.

Travelling alone

  • Guests’ well-being while on board is important to us. If guests need help with daily things such as using the bathroom, eating, or movement around the ship, they’ll need to travel with a companion or personal assistant. The ship's crew cannot assist guests with these tasks.
  • If a guest is travelling alone (or their companion is no longer able to assist them) and it becomes clear that they’re unable to manage safely and independently on board without help, we'll talk to them and create a course of action. If they need a carer to help them whilst at home, they’ll be required to travel with a companion or personal assistant who can provide the same level of care for their safety whilst on board.

Accessibility on-board

We want everyone to enjoy the ship to its full potential while staying safe, so here are the key things guests need to be aware of:

  • The majority of public areas and venues have level or ramped access. There are raised door thresholds throughout the ship which need to be negotiated with care. Guests may find the layout of the ship narrower than they are used to. 
  • Please also pay careful attention when backing out of lifts in a mobility scooter/wheelchair as these are often in close proximity to the staircases. In the interests of all of our guest’s safety on board, mobility scooters and wheelchairs must be driven at a safe speed at all times.
  • There will be wheelchair spaces in our theatres and other entertainment venues for the use of full-time wheelchair users and their companions, allocated on a first come first service basis. Each ship has different arrangements for the safe storage of mobility aids during performances. Guests should talk to the Entertainment team on board for guidance.

Swimming pools

  • All of our ships feature a pool chair style hoist, designed for self-transfer, available for use with a weight limit of 135kg.

Fly-cruise holidays - information for travellers with disabilities

  • If guests have reduced mobility or a disability, they can get support when travelling by air, at the airport and on the flight by completing the "Your on-board needs" questionnaire via My P&O Cruises.
  • If guests choose a fly-cruise holiday, they’ll need to check-in their wheelchair/mobility scooter at the airport with their baggage (most scooters/wheelchairs can be taken to the gate now so they can use this around the airport and then it will be put in the hold once they board the flight). The airport’s own assistance team will be provided at check-in. They’ll support the guest with getting to and boarding the plane.
  • Guests will also need to let their airline know about any mobility aids (electric wheelchairs/scooters/CPAP etc) that they’ll be taking on to the flight as soon as possible (certain flights can only accommodate 2/3 scooters due to batteries and space, so the airline could refuse them), but no later than 14 days before departure.
  • If the guest is flying with a scheduled airline, they’ll need to contact them directly. If the guest flying on one of our charter flights with TUI or Jet2, please call Flights.
  • Our charter flights can offer vegetarian, vegan, diabetic or gluten-free meals, although what’s available can vary depending on the airline. For scheduled flights, please review the airline’s website for more information.

Flying with medical equipment

  • Any medical equipment guests need on board the flight needs to be battery operated as the airline can’t provide a power supply.
  • If the guest needs additional oxygen on their flight, please call Flights as only one guest is permitted to fly with additional oxygen on each flight. 


Please let us know if the guest:

  • Intends to bring their own hoist or commode, as airlines may have weight-associated restrictions.
  • Require additional baggage allowance for mobility equipment/ medical supplies.
  • If they need to use a CPAP/BiPAP/nebuliser/oxygen concentrator during the flight, please call Flights.


For more information, please see "Can I fly if I have a pre-existing medical condition, reduced mobility or any disability that requires assistance?".

Getting ashore

  • Staff will be able to provide wheelchair or arm assistance from the top to the bottom of the gangway only where safe to do so. Guests must make their own way to/from the terminal/shuttle bus/tour buses etc.
  • When choosing a cruise, please bear in mind that it may not be possible for wheelchair users to go ashore in all ports of call. Certain ports have extreme tidal ranges that make gangway access too steep for safe passage of wheelchairs or mobility scooters. 
  • For information about ports and tenders, please see "Can wheelchair users use tender launches to go ashore?".

Accessible shore experiences

  • Shore experiences add an extra dimension to our guests’ holidays, so wherever possible we offer accessible shore experiences.
  • If the guest is a full-time wheelchair user or unable to board a coach, it gives them the reassurance that their trip ashore is suitable for their needs and that they’re in safe hands. 
  • Guests can book accessible shore experiences at My P&O Cruises. Places that offer wheelchair-friendly activities will begin with the word "accessible". As with any other shore experience, they are available to book up to 365 days before departure. And although our accessible shore experiences are specifically wheelchair friendly, if there are extra spaces nearer to departure, they may be offered to guests using other mobility aids.
  • For Norwegian shore experiences please note due to Norwegian law wheelchairs must have neck support to be permitted boarding the coach.
  • We ask guests to bear in mind that due to health and safety requirements concerning the design of the ship, port infrastructure and equipment, it may not always be possible to offer our shore experience programme. It is also worth noting that our tour providers/coach operators will reserve the right to refuse carriage to any guest who is unable to negotiate the steps of the coach independently – but this does not apply to lift coaches for full-time wheelchair users. In many cases, taxis for hire are usually readily available close to our ship’s berth, should guests wish to travel independently.
  • Mobility scooters can't be accommodated in accessible vehicles as they cannot be safely secured in transit.

Pre and post-cruise hotel stays for City Stays and Land Tours


If the guest has booked a hotel with us as part of a pre or post-cruise package (City Stays and Land Tours), and has special hotel accommodation requirements, please let us know as soon as possible so we can secure a suitable room. This will be subject to availability as accessible hotel rooms are limited.


Transfers to and from the hotel

If the guest is a full-time wheelchair/mobility scooter user or is unable to board a coach, let us know. We'll ensure our chosen supplier is aware of their needs and provides the most suitable vehicle available.

Assistance in an emergency on-board

  • If the guest has a disability or reduced mobility which might mean that they require additional assistance in an emergency situation, they must advise us at the time of booking or as soon as the need is known. We will then use this information to ensure that each ship has a list of guests requiring extra assistance, together with their cabin numbers, before the ship sails. Any guest who is a wheelchair or mobility scooter user must be allocated an evacuation chair in the event of an emergency, and those guests using mobility aids or are blind or deaf are strongly recommended to have a minimum of one-to-one assistance.
  • In the event of an emergency and when guests are called to their muster stations, all guest cabins are checked and evacuated by the Cabin Stewards. Any guest who requires assistance getting from their cabin to the muster station will be given the required assistance by the ship’s specially trained guest assistance team.
  • Special evacuation chairs are available on all ships which will be utilised to transport guests down the stairs if required. This assistance will be arranged by the Cabin Stewards evacuating the cabins.
  • In the event that a guest is away from their cabin, either on the open decks or in a public room, at the onset of an emergency, these areas are also checked and evacuated. In this event any guest requiring assistance would be taken directly to their muster station by the guest assistance team and a life jacket/s would be provided in the muster station.
  • This assistance will be arranged by the crew members assigned to evacuate these areas. Similarly, if a guest requiring assistance presents themselves on a stairway at the onset of an emergency, this assistance will be arranged by a stairway guide. Stairway guides are present on all stairways designated as guest evacuation routes.
  • Please note that in the event of an emergency, guests with restricted mobility will not be able to use the lifts (as with standard worldwide emergency procedures, lifts are not to be used in emergency situations due to the risk of becoming trapped in the event of a power failure). Please also note that in the event of an emergency, those guests using motorised wheelchairs or scooters will need to be transferred to either a regular wheelchair or evacuation chair. It is not possible for the guest Assistance Party to transport guests in motorised wheelchairs or scooters down the stairs, due to the additional weight and the subsequent risk of injury to the guest and members of the guest assistance team in attempting this.

Additional Information

  • You must ensure to ask every guest “In the unlikely event of an emergency, would anyone on the booking need assistance?”. If they would require assistance, please add the relevant level of support to Polar Online using the "package list" option. If a guest is bringing a mobility scooter or wheelchair on board, you must add evacuation chair assistance for them. However, it’s not possible to add this resource to existing bookings. If this step is missed or needs to be added post-booking, please complete the Partnership Helpdesk Webform and we'll come back to you as soon as possible. For bookings sailing within the next six months, you should call the Partnership Helpdesk for urgent support.
  • If the guest has mobility or accessibility requirements, they must complete their "Your on-board needs" questionnaire via My Cruise as soon as possible after booking and no later than two weeks before they sail. You can send them a reminder to do this by following this process guide.
  • We have a range of how-to-guides on Shine Rewards Club. Please click here for Cunard and here for P&O Cruises.
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