Reduced Mobility and Special Needs with Irish Ferries
Reduced Mobility and Special Needs
Lending you a helping hand
Whatever you need Irish Ferries will do their best to help make travel on their services as easy and comfortable as possible for passengers with reduced mobility and special needs.
In addition to mobility and sensory restrictions the disability facilities are available to passengers with mental health problems, specific learning difficulties and medical conditions which may have an impact on day-to-day activities. In order to assist we need be aware of your needs. So please let Irish Ferries know at least 2 days before you travel.
Below are some links to information to help you plan your trip.
Facilities available & the best way to access them
Wheelchair accessible ports and ships.
Wheelchairs are available for short term passenger use in our ports and on the ships
Specially adapted public toilets in the ports and on the ships.
Dedicated seating areas on the ships.
Specially adapted cabins on the cruise ferries.
Hearing loops at all of the reception desks on board and ashore.
Registered guide dogs allowed on the passenger decks.
Please contact Irish Ferries at least 2 working days (48 working hours) before travel commences. Self-identification is the best way for them to help you. If you have reduced mobility your booking will be flagged, and they will try to position your vehicle close to the passenger lift on-board thereby making the transfer from the car deck to the upper passenger deck areas as easy as possible. Send an email to: email@example.com
If you are travelling as a wheelchair passenger, please make sure to add “Passenger with Wheelchair” to your booking.
Please be aware that there are limitations to the service Irish Ferries can reasonably offer and deliver.
During the crossing the crews will be happy to advise and assist. Please contact the reception desk on board.
If you are a customer with a hidden disability or have a family member with a hidden disability, help is always at hand in the Irish Ferries ports or onboard their ships.
Irish Ferries are pleased to be able to offer you a sunflower lanyard to wear on your journey through their Ports and onboard their ships. Wearing a sunflower lanyard allows the Teams to recognise that you have a hidden disability without you needing to declare it. This allows you to travel independently through the Port and onboard the ships, whilst knowing that if you need any additional support during your journey, any of the Team will be able to support you. Irish Ferries Teams have been trained to recognise the sunflower lanyard and act accordingly.
How to request a lanyard
If you’re travelling with Irish Ferries in the near future, they’ll be happy to post you a lanyard. To allow time to process your request please allow 5 working days (based in Ireland) and 7 working days (based in the UK). To order your lanyard simply email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
How to pick up a lanyard
To pick up a lanyard, please go to the Irish Ferries Ticket Desks in the Port Terminal when you arrive at the Port. They will be happy to give you a sunflower lanyard, even if you haven’t requested or need special assistance.
HSC Dublin Swift
There is one wheelchair access platform on board which is situated at the back of the ship.
The lift goes up to main passenger deck and enters the main passenger deck at the back of the ship which is in the Lafayette Café area.
It can accommodate wheelchairs up to 1.48m long and 1.1m wide.
Full time wheelchair users can now access the Club Class lounge on the Dublin Swift.
To request parking close to the lift onboard, Irish Ferries can only guarantee vehicle placement beside it for full time wheelchair dependent passengers. They will do our best for all other special needs requests but there are limitations to what they can provide.
If you are travelling with a mobility reduced passenger or very young children or children with special needs they suggest that you consider travelling on one of the cruise ferries instead as the car deck space is more generous on the cruise ferries and the embarkation and dis-embarkation pace is more leisurely.
Due to the nature of the fast craft medical oxygen cylinders for personal use are not allowed on board.
This is a very large cruise ferry. The car deck space is generous and loading is done at an efficient pace.
There are 4 lifts from the car deck to the passenger decks. If you have pre- requested vehicle placement close to a lift you will be asked at check-in to activate your car hazard lights. Your vehicle will be called on board when a suitable placement beside a lift becomes available.
There are three specially adapted wheelchair accessible toilets on board – one is on deck 11 close to the Club Class lounge and the other two are on deck 9.
Club Class on the Ulysses is very suitable for full time wheelchair dependent passengers as a lift goes directly from the car deck to the Club Class lounge which is situated on deck 11.
There are four specially adapted wheelchair accessible cabins on board. These cabins are situated on passenger deck 10. There is direct lift access to the cabin deck.
The shop, cinemas and restaurants are on deck 9 – there is direct lift access between all decks.
There is a special seating area for reduced mobility passengers on deck 9 beside the reception desk.
This is a cruise ferry. The car deck space is very generous and vehicle loading is done at an efficient pace.
There is a dedicated “special needs” vehicle parking area. This area is situated just outside the entrance door to the main passenger area on deck 5. If you have pre- requested special needs vehicle placement you will be asked at check-in to activate your car hazard lights and your vehicle will be called on board when access to the special parking area on deck 5 is available.
There is one specially adapted wheelchair accessible toilet on board – the toilet is on main passenger deck 5.
There is no Club Class lounge on this ship.
There are two specially adapted wheelchair accessible cabins on board. These cabins are situated on passenger deck 5 (same deck as the restaurant, bar and shop).
There is no lift from passenger deck 5 to cabin deck 6 where all the other cabin types are. Access is by stairs only (about 20 steps)
The reserved seat lounge is on deck 6.
v Isle of Inishmore
This is a large cruise ferry. The car deck space is generous and loading is done at an efficient pace.
There are 4 lifts from the car deck to the passenger decks. If you have pre-requested vehicle placement close to a lift you will be asked at check-in to activate your car hazard lights. Your vehicle will be called on board when a suitable placement beside a lift becomes available.
There are two specially adapted wheelchair accessible toilets on board – one is on deck 7 and the other is on deck 8.
The Club Class lounge is on deck 11. There is no lift from deck 9 to deck 11 so Club class is not suitable for full time wheelchair dependent passengers. The Club lounge is accessed by stairs – approximately 40 steps.
There is one specially adapted wheelchair accessible cabin on board. This cabin is situated on deck 9 close to the lift.
The shop, restaurant, lounge bar and café are on deck 7 and 8.
There is a special seating are for reduced mobility passengers in the motorist lounge on deck 7.
MV WB Yeats
This is a very large cruise ferry. The car deck space is generous and loading is done at an efficient pace.
There are 5 lifts available from the car deck to the passenger decks. If you have pre- requested vehicle placement close to a lift you will be asked at check-in to activate your car hazard lights. Your vehicle will be called on board when a suitable placement beside a lift becomes available. There is a gangway lift available for foot passengers – goes from gangway deck 7 till deck 10, in service only for gangway operations, not in use at sea.
There are three specially adapted wheelchair accessible toilets on board – one is on deck 11 Grey stairs, second one is on deck 10 beside the reception desk and another one on deck 10 Purple stairs.
Club Class on the W.B. Yeats is very suitable for full time wheelchair dependent passengers as a Club Class lift goes directly from the car deck 7 to the Club Class lounge which is situated on deck 10.
There are four specially adapted wheelchair accessible cabins on board. These cabins are situated on passenger deck 8. There is direct lift access to the cabin deck.
The shop, cinema, bar, cafe and restaurants are on deck 10 and deck 11 – there is direct lift access between all decks.
There is a special seating area for reduced mobility passengers on deck 10 beside the reception desk.
There are wheelchair securing points available on deck 10 and deck 11.
All food outlets are easily accessible to passengers with reduced mobility. Furthermore, each of our restaurants is equipped with movable furniture to suit individual needs.
Medical Oxygen for personal use
Passengers travelling on any of the Irish Ferries cruise ferries in a private vehicle may carry a maximum of 6 size “F” or smaller cylinders containing compressed Oxygen UN1072. Passengers must carry a letter from their doctor confirming that they require medical oxygen. The onus is on the passenger to ensure that their own medical oxygen cylinder is in good working order.
Due to the nature of the fast craft oxygen cylinders are not allowed on the Dublin Swift.
Irish Ferries are delighted to offer some special % discounts on published fares. Please note that you may only use one % discount per booking.
In Ireland this special discount is available to members of the Disabled Drivers Association (DDA) and the Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA). Please send an email to email@example.com with your new booking reference and details of the appropriate organisation and your membership number. The discount will then be applied.
In Britain, members of the disability alliance group Disabled Motoring UK (previously known as Mobilise) receive discounts on Irish Sea routes. Just contact this group directly and they will make the booking for you.
If you have a special query regarding on-board facilities or special needs please contact our Disability Officer – Nicola Hammond firstname.lastname@example.org. (Mon to Fri 9 to 5)
Ships – facilities for passengers with reduced mobility and special needs
Isle of Inishmore
Ports – facilities for passengers with reduced mobility and special needs
Accessible Travel and Disabled Discounts with Wightlink
Wightlink are there to help when you need it. If you have a disability, reduced mobility, a medical condition or just need some extra help, you can rely on Wightlink to make sure your journey meets your needs.
Once you’ve made your online or phone booking, please let Wightlink know how they can help at least 48 hours before you travel. They will then assess your needs and ensure that we can meet them on your chosen sailing, including if you are bringing any specialist equipment on board.
Should Wightlink be unable to help, they will explain why and may ask you to travel on an alternative sailing.
If you don’t advise Wightlink in advance, they will still do our best to allow you travel as soon as possible after you arrive at the port. However this may mean your departure is delayed and assistance will not be guaranteed.
Wightlink will do their best to help with:
Wider lift access space on board.
Assistance to and from the car deck or FastCat (please note we are only able to provide assistance at our ports).
Loan of a wheelchair while you are travelling on board.
Transportation of equipment that is safe and authorised to take on board.
Providing ramps on the ship so you can access the deck with a wheelchair or pram more easily.
Information for passengers who cannot leave the vehicle (subject to authorisation by the Ship’s captain on the day of travel. This isn’t guaranteed).
Wightlinkare unable to help with:
Transportation of equipment that is not safe to take on board, such as some oxygen refrigeration systems (other than refrigerated flasks).
Requests that are impossible to comply with due to the design of our ship or port infrastructure.
Requests to remain in your vehicle during the crossing, except in exceptional circumstances such as mobility restrictions that make it unfeasible or unsafe to leave the vehicle during the crossing. This can only be done with the express authorisation of the ship’s Captain on the day of travel.
Assistance with personal care such as feeding, breathing or using the toilet.
*If personal care is required, Wightlink may ask you to bring a companion with you to provide this assistance. Companions must be booked at least 48 hours in advance and will not be charged provided they travel with you and return on the next available crossing. Call 0800 093 8236 to arrange this.
When you arrive at the port please make yourself known at check in. The Wighlink team will then place a leaflet under your windscreen if travelling by car and ask you to park and wait in one of the car lanes. If you’re travelling by foot, the Wightlink team will direct you to the priority seating area and advise you when to board.
You can book Accessible Travel and Customer Assistance by calling their team on 0800 093 8236,
Monday – Friday 08.00-20.00 Saturday and Sunday 9.00-18.00.
All of the Wighlink car ferries have:
Ramps to get on board
Lifts to access the passenger lounges
Four accessible parking spaces
A disabled or ambulatory toilet – the disabled toilet on Wight Sky, Wight Light and Wight Sun is on the car deck and cannot be accessed during the crossing.
Advice on how to work with your travel provider to book appropriate holidays that meet your needs at every stage of the journey.
Travel can be challenging for everyone, but if you have any kind of disability you may be worried about getting the assistance you need. ABTA works with its Members and tourism suppliers worldwide keeping them up-to-date with the latest requirements and providing training and advice when needed.
You can find guidance on how to work with your travel provider to book appropriate holidays that meet your needs at every stage of the journey; as well as information about your legal rights, on this page, or the original ABTA Accessible Travel page (Page URL > Bottom of page).
Accessible Travel at the Airport
To ensure your holiday gets off to a flying start, less mobile passengers should notify the airport at least 48 hours in advance if you need assistance.
Checklist for Disabled and Less Mobile Passengers
ABTA want everyone to enjoy completely successful travel arrangements. If you have a disability or a medical condition requiring special transport, accommodation or dietary arrangements, they strongly recommend that you complete this checklist at the time you make your booking and give it to your travel agent or tour operator, or ask your travel organiser to do so on your behalf.
If you have any specific needs for equipment or medication, you can use the checklist for this information, too. The questions aren’t meant to be intrusive. The information you provide will be treated confidentially and will only be used to check that the transport, accommodation and facilities in the destination are right for you. It all helps to ensure you receive a quality service tailored to your particular needs.
For disabled passengers or passengers with reduced mobility
If you’re travelling on a ferry or cruise ship that departs from the UK, or elsewhere in the EU, there’s an EU Regulation that gives you rights if you’re disabled or a person with reduced mobility.
The EU Regulation defines a ‘disabled person’ or ‘person with reduced mobility’ as: ‘any person whose mobility when using transport is reduced as a result of any physical disability (sensory or locomotor, permanent or temporary), intellectual disability or impairment, or any other cause of disability, or as a result of age, and whose situation needs appropriate attention and adaptation to his particular needs of the service made available to all passengers’.
Your rights as a passenger, in respect of disability and reduced mobility, applies at all stages of your dealings with a ferry or cruise operator (before, during and after travel) and whilst present in ports with staffed terminals.
Travel can be challenging for everyone, but if you have any kind of disability you may be worried about getting the assistance you need. ABTA works with its Members and tourism suppliers worldwide keeping them up-to-date with the latest requirements and providing training and advice when needed.
In this section you’ll find guidance on how to work with your travel provider to book appropriate holidays that meet your needs at every stage of the journey; as well as information about your legal rights.
ABTA know that it’s vital for customers to understand and make their own minds up about what assistance they will need, including getting adequate information about walking distances at airports or onboard large ships.
They also know it’s vital to help customers provide the right information about their needs to the right people at the right time. That way the Members and those working in the travel industry don’t make assumptions about disabled customers. And you can enjoy a hassle-free holiday.
The ABTA’s practical help offers advice and information for every stage of your journey: planning and booking before you go; the journey itself; accommodation and activities; travelling with mobility equipment; insurance and more.
If things go wrong in destination
British nationals take many millions of trips overseas every year, most of which pass without incident. However, if you get into difficulty, such as falling sick, being a victim of crime or facing an emergency, go to the nearest British Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. A directory of all overseas offices is on the FCO website. Your holiday rep, local guide, hotel or local police should also have this information.
If you need help in a country where there’s no British diplomatic or consular office, you can get help from the diplomatic or consular office of another EU country. The UK also has informal arrangements with some Commonwealth countries, including New Zealand and Australia.
Useful links and further information for travellers with a disability
The Civil Aviation Authority deals with complaints about UK airlines and airports in England, Scotland and Wales. They can supply free advice on how to get the right service.
Planning your trip
Giving your travel company as much information as you can will help you to plan a great holiday. Be realistic and list your particular needs in different holiday situations: booking, travelling, transfers, accommodation, getting out and about in the destination. Consider how independent, comfortable and healthy you’re likely to be in different environments and climates, and in places where language may also be a challenge.
Consider the assistance you and those you are travelling with may need at each stage of your holiday.
Travel providers, tour operators and disability organisations in the UK, and the Embassy or High Commission of the country you plan to visit can help you plan.
Your disability or health condition and the facilities offered by the travel provider will affect the type of holiday you choose.
Finding your way around an airport, port or station can be tricky – a bit of planning can help. In advance, try to find out about the layout and the distances involved, for instance from arrival point to check in, departure lounges to gates etc. And make sure you know where help points are situated where you can make your arrival known. Help points should be clearly marked.
If you use a wheelchair, you may be allowed to stay in your own chair to the boarding gate (depending on the type/severity of your disability and if your wheelchair can be loaded at the gate). If not, you will be transferred to a boarding wheelchair and your own chair checked in. Wheelchair users are usually boarded first, and you can ask to be pre-boarded.
If you are hearing or visually impaired, you may wish to tell staff at check in and the gate, so that you don’t miss announcements or changes to departure display screens.
Arrive early for your departure. If a disability makes queuing difficult, make yourself known to check in staff – they must provide assistance.
Confirm pre-booked assistance when you check in. Ensure that onboard staff are made aware of any concerns you may have.
Online check in – you should be able to confirm the assistance you require and select the most appropriate seat.
Self-service check in – staff should be available to help you.
Security checks are made on all disability equipment and mobility aids, including wheelchair gel cushions. Make security staff aware of your needs.
If you need to carry liquid medicines or medical equipment in your hand luggage, you will need a letter from your doctor to show at security. Your doctor may charge for this letter.
Assistance dog owners can bring their dogs out of and into the UK on many air, sea or rail routes, providing it is an ‘approved route’ and that all requirements of the EU Pet Travel Scheme are fully met.
The Civil Aviation Authority requires assistance dogs carried in the cabin to be correctly harnessed on take-off/landing, not to obstruct emergency exits and to be accredited by Guide Dogs for the Blind or another approved organisation. Access to Air Travel for Disabled People – Code of Practice contains more info.
Find all the information you need as a disabled passenger travelling on one of the DFDS ferries. Enjoy a relaxing ferry crossing armed with everything you need to know about their ports, cabins and onboard facilities so you can truly relax and begin your holiday with DFDS.
DFDS is committed to making travel on their services as comfortable as possible for passengers with reduced mobility, disabilities and special needs.
The DFDS team onboard and ashore have been provided with Disability Awareness Training to ensure the highest standards of care.
You are entitled to certain assistance both in port and onboard the ship. This includes assistance boarding and/or leaving the ferry, assistance with baggage and/or any specific medical equipment and assistance in making your way to the toilet facilities.
To help DFDS make your journey as smooth and comfortable as possible, they need to know your requirements at your earliest convenience, ideally when you make your booking, but no later than two working days before you travel. DFDS say “we will always try our utmost to accommodate all requests for travel with us”.
Access & Information
DFDS shall ensure that all relevant information and access conditions are available in appropriate and accessible formats.
If you or a member of your travelling party has a hearing impairment, please report to the Information Desk onboard. The crew will make arrangements to ensure that you receive all important messages being made over the onboard public address system.
Making a Reservation
In order to be able to make your journey with DFDS as comfortable as possible, we need to know any specific needs with regards to accommodation, services required or mobility and/or medical equipment ideally at the time of booking. You can also let DFDS know up to 2 working days before you travel. This will ensure they can have the appropriate assistance in place.
If you have booked through a travel agent or a tour operator you should advise your booking agent that you will require assistance and ask to pass this information on to DFDS.
After assessing your specific requirements, DFDS may require that you are accompanied by an individual that can assist you during the journey. Before making this requirement, we will have a dialogue with you and always consider your wishes. Such an accompanying person shall be carried free of charge.
Once you have contacted us, a note will then be added to your booking which will ensure that where possible your needs are taken into consideration.
If you have not contacted us before you travel to alert us of your needs we cannot guarantee you of assistance whilst travelling through our ports and onboard our vessels.
Travelling with DFDS
For safety reasons DFDS can only cater for up to five wheelchair passengers at once onboard their vessels.
Hearing impairment– If you or a member of your party has a hearing impairment, please mention this when making a reservation and report to the Information Desk when you board the ship. The crew will make sure that you receive any important messages which are broadcasted during the crossing.
Visual impairment – If you or a member of your party has a visual impairment, please mention this when making a reservation and report to the Information Desk when you board the ship. On arrival, the staff will help you to locate the passenger areas and assist wherever possible.
Carriage of Mobility & Medical Assistance – All mobility and medical equipment may be taken into the passenger accommodation or on the vehicle deck. Please notify DFDS of any need to bring mobility and/or medical equipment at the time of the booking. You can travel with medical oxygen with written permission from a GP advising that medical oxygen is required. DFDS need to be informed that medical oxygen will potentially be used on the voyage at the time of booking. We can carry a maximum of 6 x size F i.e. up to 60 litres aggregate water capacity.
If travelling with an assistance dog it is essential you notify DFDS and that the dog complies with the Pet Travel Scheme. You should also note that sea travel can be distressing for animals and the safety and comfort of all our guests should not be compromised. You will be responsible for the welfare of the dog at all times.
At the Port & Boarding/Disembarking DFDS Ships
You will be advised via your booking confirmation of your check-in time at the port. DFDS terminals are disabled friendly and have accessible parking. DFDS can provide wheelchairs in some ports (see the list below) and onboard their vessels with advance notification at the time of booking and where available. Passengers travelling in vehicles can be parked close to a lift and assisted by DFDS crew if required.
DFDS ports and terminals have the following facilities for disabled passengers and passengers with limited mobility.
No (wheelchair can be provided on request)
DFDS onboard facilities offer access to wheelchair users. If you require any assistance during your journey, please contact the Information Desk onboard the vessels.
DFDS ships have the following facilities for disabled passengers and persons with reduced mobility. Please note that you can only book disabled cabins via your booking office due to limited availability.
Disabled passengers and persons with reduced mobility shall not be denied access to DFDS services unless:
The carriage of a person with disabilities or a person with reduced mobility places the company in breach of safety law or regulations determined by national and/or international law or that of a competent authority.
The design of the ship or the port infrastructure and equipment, including terminals, makes it impossible to carry out embarkation, disembarkation or carriage of the disabled passengers or those with reduced mobility in a safe or operationally feasible manner.
When DFDS have to refuse a booking, they will immediately inform the person of the specific reasons. On request, those reasons shall be notified in writing, no later than five working days after the request. In the event of refusal, reference shall be made to the applicable safety requirements and to the competent authorities dealing with complaints.
Any complaints should be directed, in the first instance, to DFDS (the operator). A complaint must be submitted within two months of the scheduled date of the service. The operator must notify the passenger within one month of receipt whether the complaint is substantiated, rejected or still under consideration with a final reply and decision within two months.
DFDS Customer Care Team International Passenger Terminal Royal Quay, North Shields, NE296EE T. 0344 848 60 90 E. email@example.com
If the complaint cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of the passenger, then it may be referred to the complaint handling body. ABTA has been appointed by the Department for Transport to act as the Complaints Handling Body under the Regulation. ABTA has many years of experience of dispute resolution between consumers and operators and has a conciliation service which can be available to all. ABTA will provide an evidence-based response to a complaint within a reasonable period of time but will only consider a complaint that has already been through the operator’s own complaint handling process.
ABTA Ltd 31 Park Street London SE1 9EQ E. firstname.lastname@example.org W. www.abta.com
There is also a National Enforcement Body (NEB) under the Regulation. This is the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) in the UK. The NEB is primarily concerned with significant breaches of the Regulation and will not consider any complaint, in the first instance, unless it is such a breach and/or the person making the complaint has followed the complaint handling procedure above.
Maritime & Coastguard Agency National Enforcement Body Officer – Technical Performance Section Directorate of Maritime Safety & Standards Maritime & Coastguard Agency Bay 2/23, Spring Place 105 Commercial Road Southampton SO15 1EG T. 0238 0329 315 E. email@example.com W. dft.gov.uk/mca
Transport for London produce a range of guides in alternative formats to help you plan and make journeys. All of the guides can be obtained free of charge by completing the order form.
Disabled Passengers – Make the Most of Your Travel with Brittany Ferries
Brittany Ferries very much hopes that all passengers enjoy a totally relaxing journey on board our ships and this is particularly so for a passenger with a disability or reduced mobility. With this in mind they need you to tell them the level of assistance you will require for your travel when you makeyour booking.
Before choosing to travel by sea you should be aware that there maybe one or two limitations in the service and facilities that they can provide. The design and construction of a ship can make it difficult for some disabled passengers to negotiate and you may find it helpful to travel with an able bodied companion to assist you during the voyage. To comply with safety regulations Brittany Ferries may have to limit the number of passengers needing individual assistance on each crossing. Visit the fleet section to see the ship guides.
Please let them know your exact requirements at the time of booking your travel and again when you arrive at ticket check-in. If you ask for additional assistance there may be a delay in boarding – your embarkation and disembarkation will take place at the most appropriate time to allow maximum space and assistance on the ferry. Visit the port guides.
There may be times when your booking has been confirmed by Brittany Ferries but, after discussing the assistance you require and consulting with the relevant ships and ports, they may be unable to carry you on a particular sailing having already reached the limit of disabled persons they can carry in a safe or operationally feasible manner.
All of the cruise ferries have lifts to help you when leaving the vehicle decks and while moving around the ship during the voyage. If you need to be parked close to a lift, it is essential that you tell Brittany Ferries when making your booking and again at ticket check-in. The limited spaces for wheelchair passengers close to the lifts are only allocated to passengers with a disability on a first come first served basis, at the time of booking. The loading crew will do their best to help you negotiate the busy garage and make your way to the lifts; this will be a little more tricky during peak holiday times and Brittany Ferries will be happy to advise you of the best routes and times to travel for maximum space and comfort. Visit the fleet section to see the ship guides.
You should be aware that you may experience bumpy seas, steep stairs, raised bulkheads and heavy sea doors on the ship and this must be considered before planning your journey. Brittany Ferries ships and ports will vary, if you would like further advice please contact them on 0330 159 5015, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
They have a limited number of wheelchairs available in the port and on the ship for emergency use only – if you need a wheelchair onboard please bring your own.
Brittany Ferries have a range of wheelchair accessible cabins, some have bunk beds and your travelling companion/s may need to use an upper bunk. Cabins that are not adapted for wheelchairs have narrow doorways and a step into the bathroom. Visit the onboard accommodation guide.
Brittany Ferries ships have some Braille signage onboard but not all services have information available in Braille. If you or a member of your travelling party has a visual impairment, please report to the Information Desk onboard and a member of crew will assist you with your orientation of the ship. They recommend that you travel with a fully sighted companion if you are likely to require further assistance during the journey.
If you or a member of your travelling party has a hearing impairment, please report to the Information Desk onboard. The crew will make arrangements to ensure that you receive all important messages being made over the onboard speaker system.
If you are travelling with a registered assistance dog, it is essential that you notify us at the time of booking. The dog must comply with the PETS Travel Scheme. You must carry proof that your animal is an Assistance Dog. You will be responsible for the welfare of the dog at all times. Please note that sea travel can be distressing for animals and the safety and comfort of other passengers should not be compromised.
Autism and Travelling
At Brittany Ferries, they appreciate how difficult and intimidating travelling can be for children and adults on the autistic spectrum. The downloadable travel booklet below has been designed to familiarise them with the ports, ships and procedures before they travel.
Passengers with limited mobility will find the facilities and access more challenging to negotiate because of the size and design of high speed vessels. You may find travelling on one of the larger conventional ferries a more comfortable option. The Normandie Express is unable to accommodate vehicles over 1.83m high carrying disabled or reduced mobility passengers. Please note there is no lift on this high speed vessel but there is limited wheelchair access to the passenger deck via a ramp at the front of the ship. Any customers wishing to reserve a Club seat/s (reserved seat) please note that only the first row of seats can be accessed by wheelchair. Please call us to make the booking so we can allocate you the appropriate place. Find out more about the Normandie Express.
AT THE PORT
All Passenger Terminals have disabled access and facilities visit the port guides. If you require additional assistance getting onboard or around the ship, please let Brittany Ferries know at least 48 hours in advance. The level of assistance they can reasonably provide is limited and subject to high demand. To discuss further please contact Brittany Ferries for advice on 0330 159 5015, or by email to email@example.com.
You should inform Brittany Ferries of any disability or impairment you have on step 4 of the booking pages or by contacting them by the methods mentioned in the previous paragraph. Wheelchair Accessible cabins (subject to availability) can be booked on step 3. You should find the answers to any questions you may have contained on this website.
Please tell Brittany Ferries, at the time of booking, if you will need to bring any equipment, such as a wheelchair, mobility scooter or oxygen.
You can get help if you’re disabled and travelling on any of the following:
a cruise ship that’s leaving from a port within the UK
a ferry that’s leaving from or going to a port within the UK
a local ferry service, for example by river bus
If you need to make specific arrangements for your journey (for example if you have certain accommodation or seating requirements), you should tell the cruise line, ferry service, travel agent or tour operator at least 48 hours before departure.
Travelling with a carer
You should let the cruise line or ferry service know if you need to travel with a carer. On a ferry, your carer might be able to travel for free.
Help getting on and off
Tell the cruise line or ferry service at least 48 hours before departure if you need help getting on and off the ship.
With some of the most scenic canals in Europe, and a large network of waterways, canal boating holidays are an increasingly popular way to relax and get away from the stresses and strains of everyday life for disabled and able bodied boaters alike.
Narrow boats, often wrongly referred to as barges, which are in fact cargo carrying canal boats, have relatively few controls and should be able to be picked up in a short time, even if it is your first time on the water.
The most important piece of equipment is tiller, which steers the narrow boat and is situated at the rear of the narrow boat on the deck where the ‘captain’ stands or sits. Many novices panic when they have to avoid an obstacle in the canal or have to leave enough space between two passing boats. The basic tip in this situation is to aim your steering handle so that it is line with what you want to avoid and your narrow boat should go in a different direction, as long as what you are trying to avoid is not directly ahead of you.
Due to wash, the waves created when a narrow boat passes along the canal, damaging canal banks, there is a maximum speed limit imposed on the canal network in the UK. This is usually 5 mph. It is also important to ensure that you have a working light on the front of your narrow boat as many tunnels are long and very dark. A light not only enables you to guide your narrow boat through the tunnel, but allows other narrow boats, that may be approaching from the opposite direction, to see you.
The majority of narrow boat holiday, whether by disabled or able bodied people, are taken as part of a group, as not only does this enable the cost to be spread, which can be quite considerable in the summer months, but also means activities such as operating locks are much easier.
Some narrow boat companies and disability trust groups offer narrow boats which are especially adapted for those in wheelchairs. These narrow boats are usually of increased width, to provide improved manoeuvrability for wheelchair users, and often have specialist built in facilities such as hydraulic lifts, low level bunks and wide access boarding ramps. Some companies and trusts are also able to offer transfer hoists, where available. An average narrow boat will accommodate approximately ten people.
For those with limited upper body mobility it is still possible for them to take their turn on the tiller. This is achieved by using a remote steering device that allows someone to steer using a joy stick. It is important that everyone on the narrow boat, whether they are disabled or able bodied, wears a life jacket at all times. When travelling through tunnels always ensure that there is a waterproof torch at hand, as the light on the front of the narrow boat will only illuminate the way ahead and additional hand held lighting is useful.
It is usually possible to plan a circular journey along the canal network back to your starting point, so as to avoid having to travel back the way you came. It is also worth checking for mooring sites, so you can plan where to stop in advance.
Travelling by sea, be it by ferry or ship, can often be difficult for those who are disabled, but newer, more modern boats are beginning to make journeys more accessible.
Ferry companies and cruise operators will often insist that a disabled passenger be accompanied by an able bodied companion for the journey, depending on the nature and extent of the disability. One reason for this is that in the event of rough seas, a disabled passenger may encounter difficulties. If you are planning to take the journey alone you should discuss this possibility with the company first.
Some cruise companies may ask that you are medically fit to travel, and provide proof of this, before travelling. It is vital that you confirm any requirements that the ferry or cruise company may have before booking your trip.
Some ferry companies may offer you a discount if you are a driver and planning to take your car with you. To take advantage of this you may have to be a member of Mobilise. More information can be found at www.mobilise.info
On most cruises disabled cabins are available, but it is advisable to book these early as there are only a limited number of cabins suitable for disabled travellers. Some of these cabins for the disabled will have bunk beds and it is normally expected that the disabled passenger will take the lower bunk, with their companion taking the top bunk.
Many doors onboard the ship or ferry will have sills, due to the vessel’s water tight construction. It is worth considering if this will cause you problems once onboard the ship. Cabins for the disabled, especially on more modern ships, are usually placed with better access to all public areas and lifts. They are designed with wider doorways, hand bars, low level controls, low door peep holes and specially designed spacious bathrooms. It is worth checking that balcony suites have ramps onto the verandah, that outside decks can be reached without assistance and that lifts are wide enough for your wheelchair.
Try and give the cruise company you are travelling with as much notice as possible of your disability. They may ask that you book through their reservation centre in order that any requirements that you may have can be noted on your booking, which will avoid any confusion later on. For this reason it is very important that you are frank about your disability and any special needs you may have. Also some of the company’s fleet of ships may be more disabled friendly than others.
At The Port
You may be requested to arrive approximately one hour before your time of departure, although this does not mean you will automatically board earlier than other cruise passengers. The main reason for the request is so that the loading crew are able to spend time evaluating your needs. When onboard the cruise staff will usually offer assistance where it is feasible, but will not be able to assign a member of staff to look after you personally.
Port accessibility will vary from location to location but the only real difficulty you should encounter is if the port is too small or too shallow for the ship to dock. In such cases you will have to transfer from the ship to the dockside by tender. A lot of these smaller boats are now able to convey wheelchairs, but you are advised to confirm this beforehand. Also, try and get confirmation regarding the suitability for disabled travellers of the on shore tours.
If you are considering taking an assistance dog on a cruise you must inform the cruise company and ensure your dog complies with the Pet Travel Scheme. You will also be responsible for clearing up after your dog. However, you may not be allowed to take your dog ashore in may foreign countries, so it is essential that you check this before travelling along with any vaccinations that may be required for your dog. On board cruise ships Braille facilities are fairly standard, with lift buttons, deck numbers and cabin numbers in Braille. You should also be able to request a menu in Braille.
For deaf and hearing impaired passengers many cruises have a special equipment such as lights that indicate someone has knocked the cabin door or that the smoke alarm has been activated, along with a telephone amplifier.