Carnival Cruise Line Clarifies Policy After Misunderstanding

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Just days after announcing stricter enforcement of mobility scooter guidelines onboard, Carnival Cruise Line has faced tremendous backlash and misunderstanding.

The cruise line has continued to offer clarifications about which scooters are permitted onboard and why, with Brand Ambassador John Heald reaching out to address the issue.

Carnival Cruise Line Mobility Scooter Policies to Be Enforced

Carnival Cruise Line recently notified guests sailing aboard Mardi Gras of greater enforcement of the cruise line’s mobility scooter policies. Emails have been sent to guests booked in accessible cabins to alert them to the policies – most importantly, that scooters must be the correct size to safely fit in the stateroom, and no scooters may be stored in corridors or public areas.

Part of the policy is that scooters will be measured at cruise terminal check-in, and if they cannot be accommodated, guests will be denied boarding. Alternatively, impacted guests could set sail without a scooter if possible, rebook on a different sailing with an accessible stateroom, or rent an appropriately-sized scooter at the terminal.

Startled reactions from guests have created a backlash with misunderstandings and miscommunications, with rumors swirling that Carnival Cruise Line will no longer permit guests to bring scooters aboard at all, which is completely false. This led to John Heald, Carnival Cruise Line’s popular Brand Ambassador, offering greater clarification.

Carnival Cruise Line's Mardi Gras Cruise Ship
Carnival Cruise Line’s Mardi Gras Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Joni Hanebutt)

“Number one, we just don’t want people anymore to please leave their mobility scooter outside of the cabin,” Heald said of the first point. “You cannot do that, it blocks other people in case of an evacuation.”

He also noted how difficult it is for cabin attendants to move their cleaning carts down corridors if scooters are parked in the way. Similarly, other scooter users could have difficulty moving down corridors to reach their staterooms around parked devices.

Rumors Debunked

There are two rumors Heald specifically noted. The first was the idea that guests would only be permitted to bring collapsible or foldable scooters onboard Carnival ships.

“No you don’t, absolutely not,” Heald said. “It just has to fit through the door.”

“It’s really simple, please don’t bring a big, massive mobility scooter onboard. Please don’t park any sized mobility scooter outside of your cabin door. And please, if you have any questions, or if you need something, know that all the crew are going to take care of you.”

Cruise Ship Mobility Scooter
Cruise Ship Mobility Scooter (Photo Credit: Joni Hanebutt)

Heald also answered questions about scooters parked only momentarily in corridors, such as if guests prefer to visit their own stateroom for a bathroom break or to pick something up. For guests who can walk a few steps, it is often faster and simpler to leave a scooter in the corridor for a few minutes than to maneuver it in and out of the stateroom.

“Listen, if you have to leave it outside your door for 30 seconds, a minute, two minutes, three minutes, of course you can do that,” Heald confirmed. “But any longer than that it needs to go inside the cabin.”

Strollers Also Impacted

Guests have also commented that oversized strollers and wagons are often parked in corridors or left in public areas, such as near elevator banks where stateroom corridors open up. Heald said that they will also be subject to the same policies are are not permitted to be left outside guests’ cabins.

Read Also: Carnival Cruise Line Notifies Guests of Specific Scooter Policy

Carnival Mardi Gras Cruise Ship
Carnival Mardi Gras Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Melissa Mayntz / Cruise Hive)

“We’re going to be doing the same,” Heald said. “We just can’t have things left outside the cabin doors. Of course you can bring the strollers on the ship with the children and everything, but you can’t leave those … outside of the cabin door.”

In total, Heald received more than 4,500 comments about the issue, some of which were very negative and derogatory, but he continues to address guests’ concerns with his signature dry British wit and compassion for the needs of all travelers.

“I don’t want to make this a bigger thing than it is,” he concluded. “The decision has been made, it’s been for some a long time coming. Those are the rules.”

Guests considering booking a Carnival cruise will want to review the cruise line’s official policies on personal mobility devices, which covers both wheelchairs and scooters. Size requirements, types of accessible staterooms, permitted battery types, and other details are all explained in detail, including which cruise ports require water shuttles and which have accessible water shuttles.

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