Carnival Cruise Line has emailed guests booked on select sailings of Carnival Legend to Greenland that the unique destination poses challenges to travelers who may have mobility difficulties.
The notification comes just days before the impacted departure dates, however, giving guests only limited time to make adjustments if necessary.
Accessibility Challenges in Greenland
Carnival Legend is scheduled to make two fantastic sailings to Greenland in the next few weeks, 14-night voyages roundtrip from Baltimore, Maryland and visiting both Nanortalik and Qaqortoq in southern Greenland as well as ports in Canada. The first of these sailings departs on Sunday, August 13, 2023, with the second, identical cruise departing on Saturday, September 2.
Carnival Cruise Line has now reached out to guests booked on both departures with an advisory about accessibility and mobility challenges to visit the Greenland ports of call.
“Like some of our destinations, facilities are not equipped for people with mobility difficulties, like what we are accustomed to seeing in the U.S.,” the email explains. “We will be anchoring in both Nanortalik and Qaqortoq and using water shuttles to take you between the ship and shore.”
While water shuttles are not uncommon at different ports of call, the email to guests specifically for these voyages explains that “water shuttles are not accessible for guests with mobility limitations, and it will be necessary to take stairs to board them.”
Guests are also advised that an inclined ramp is used to debark the water shuttle, and any mobility devices must be collapsible to be brought aboard a water shuttle. This would include canes, wheelchairs, walkers, or mobility scooters.
Carnival’s website information on water shuttle ports also notes that “certain water shuttles may not be accessible to individuals using wheelchairs, scooters and other mobility devices” and “the final determination of whether any guest may board a water shuttle is made by the captain.”
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The letter also goes on to discuss the overall landscape in Greenland so guests are fully aware of the conditions they may encounter, which can influence their decision of whether or not to debark the ship and explore the ports.
“Resting facilities are unavailable or limited in the ports of call and the areas are very hilly with uneven terrain, which may be difficult to navigate,” the email notes. “It is recommended that you wear comfortable walking shoes to safely move around the landscape.”
Remaining Onboard the Ship
No guests are required to debark at ports of call, and any travelers who feel uncomfortable about the potential conditions for taking water shuttles or exploring ports in Greenland are, of course, welcome to remain aboard Carnival Legend.
During the time in port – scheduled from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. in both Nanortalik and Qaqortoq – the ship’s entertainment team will have various activities planned, such as games, trivia contests, crafts, and more. The ship’s facilities, such as pools, the shuffleboard court, miniature golf course, library, and the Serenity adults-only retreat will also be available.
The 88,500-gross ton Carnival Legend is a Spirit-class vessel, able to welcome 2,124 guests at double occupancy or up to 2,610 travelers when fully booked.
Why Such Late Notice?
The advisory of accessibility limitations less than two weeks before the August 13 sailing and only a month prior to the September 2 departure leaves guests with little time to adjust their travel preparations if necessary. This may be disappointing to travelers who do have mobility challenges and had hoped to thoroughly explore the destinations in Greenland.
It must be noted that both Nanortalik and Qaqortoq are listed on Carnival’s water shuttle ports list, which also includes a discussion of the difficulties of accessibility in water shuttle ports depending on local conditions and facilities.
Many popular ports of call require water shuttle (also called tendering) service, including Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; both Half Moon Cay and Princess Cays, the cruise line’s private destinations in The Bahamas; and multiple ports in Norway, Iceland, Scotland, Australia, and New Zealand, among others.
Some ports of call also may require water shuttles only at certain times, depending on local availability of pier space or tidal conditions at the time of sailing. This includes some ports in Alaska, Hawaii, Norway, and the UK.
Travelers with accessibility concerns should always investigate ports of call on their planned itinerary before booking a cruise.