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River Cruises to Europe


Mobility Issues And River Cruising - IMPORTANT Please Read.

We recently received a question concerning the viability of river cruising for those with mobility issues.

Q: Are the Viking River Cruises shops handicapped accessible? What about walkers, scooters, canes, wheelchairs etc.

A. Viking does not have wheelchair-, nor handicapped accessible cabins. Scooters are a problem as well. That is the same for most river cruise ships, regardless of operator.

Before you make your river cruise booking, there are certain things that you need to be aware of:

•Gangways can have steep angles, although there are metal grips to aid guests who are on-foot. If you use a walker, or cane this will be a problem. During the high season when ships are sometimes docked three and four abreast guests will have to travel between vessels.

•River cruising involves a fair amount of " walking" shore excursions and in the old towns of Europe, most of these walks are along cobbled streets and cobbled steps. If you are unable to traverse these streets, you will not be able to take the shore excursions.

•Boats may be moored a distance from the historic centers. You may have quite a walk into town. At other destinations where it was too far to walk, you may be transported by coach.

•You need to make sure that the person you are travelling with is able to help you with all your physical needs. River cruises generally operate with a smaller crew than the ocean cruises and they do not have staff available to personally attend to passengers with mobility problems.

Be aware that river cruising is now a very popular form of travel and when there is more than one boat in port, the boats could be moored alongside each other. If your boat happens to be the one that is moored away from the landing pier, then passengers are required to walk across gang planks through the lobby of the other ship before getting to the landing pier. Be aware that this could happen to you.

In the end, your ability to take a river cruise may depend largely on the extent of your mobility issue.


If you are unable to travel without physical or mechanical assistance, we recommend you NOT take a river cruise; a cruise aboard a larger cruise ship with handicapped accessible cabins and facilities to assist you would likely be a better choice.


From Viking River Cruises Official website:

"Viking River Cruises requires you to report any disability requiring special attention while on your Viking Cruises itinerary to Viking at the time the reservation is made. All vessels and motorcoaches are equipped to European standards. Most transportation services, including the vessels and motorcoaches, are not equipped with elevators or wheelchair ramps. Viking will make reasonable attempts to accommodate the special needs of disabled travelers, but is not responsible in the event it is unable to do so nor is it responsible for any denial of services by vessel operators, air carriers, hotels, restaurants or other independent suppliers. We regret that we cannot provide individual assistance to a vacation participant for walking, dining, getting on and off vessels, motorcoaches and other vehicles, or other personal needs. A qualified and physically able companion must accompany travelers who need such assistance and must assume full responsibility for their well being. The guest assumes the full risk of use and of any prohibitions imposed by vendors. Motorized scooters are not typically suitable on international cruises and cannot be accommodated. The carrier reserves the right not to accept passengers who are in an advanced state of pregnancy either upon commencement of or at any time during the river or ocean cruise."


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