Print Logotype

Can wheelchair users use tender launches to go ashore?

Going ashore

  • Crew will be able to provide wheelchair or arm assistance from the top to the bottom of the gangway. Gangway assistance is available to guests only where safe to do so. If crew determine gangway access has becomes unsafe for any reason, please respect their decision – it’s taken to ensure everyone’s safety.
  • From the foot of the gangway guests must make their own way to/from the terminal/shuttle bus/tour buses etc.
  • Where shuttle buses are supplied, every effort is made to provide an accessible shuttle bus, however for reasons out of our control this may not always be possible. If booked on the P&O Cruises Select Price fare where shuttle buses are included in the guest’s fare, in ports where a shuttle bus is provided but an accessible service is unavailable, guests are invited to use a taxi service as an alternative. The taxi should take the same route and drop off and collect at the same point as the shuttle bus service. The guest must keep their receipts and speak to Reception when they arrive back on-board where the expenses will be refunded to their on-board account.
  • In consideration of health and safety, tour providers/coach operators reserve the right to refuse carriage to any guest who is unable to negotiate the steps of the coach independently.
  • If the shore experience is operated by minibus, there will be no storage space for mobility scooters or wheelchairs.

The types of gangway we use

  • We use a variety of gangway configurations to cope with tidal conditions.
  • At ports where it is not possible to use the ship’s brow, access to shore will be either by a long straight shore gangway fitted with self-levelling steps to take into account the tidal conditions or in some cases, wooden batons for foot grips. The baton type can be quite steep at times, due to tidal conditions.
  • The ship may also use its own narrow stepped gangway (the "accommodation ladder") which also features self-levelling steps to take account of the tide.

Ports with steep gangways

Certain ports have a big tidal range which means there can be a big height difference between the quay and the gun-port doors, making the gangway too steep for the safe passage of wheelchairs or mobility scooters. These ports include (but aren't limited to):

  • Bilbao
  • Brest
  • La Coruna
  • Le Havre
  • La Rochelle
  • Lisbon
  • Zeebrugge
  • Malaga
  • Cadiz
  • Madeira
  • Rotterdam
  • Hamburg
  • Cherbourg
  • Boston
  • Halifax
  • Portland
  • Quebec
  • Darwin
  • San Francisco
  • Mumbai


There is a strong chance guests who use a wheelchair or mobility scooter will have to stay on board at these ports. We apologise if this is disappointing, but we hope guests appreciate that it’s in the interest of their safety.

You might find “What is a tender?” useful.

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.
Was this helpful to you?

Please rate this answer by selecting one of the stars below (1 star low, 5 stars high).

Poor Excellent