Carnival Cruise Line Cracking Down on Mobility Scooters

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Carnival Cruise Line has begun reaching out to guests booked in accessible cabins to alert them to mobility scooter policies onboard, noting that the assistive vehicles must be stored inside the stateroom and may not be stored in corridors or public areas.

While the policy has been in place for some time, enforcement is becoming more stringent and guests with larger scooters that cannot be accommodated in the booked stateroom will be denied boarding for their cruise.

Carnival Cruise Line Amping Up Enforcement on Scooter Policy

In emails sent to select passengers based on the stateroom they’ve booked, Carnival Cruise Line is bringing greater visibility to its mobility scooter policy and what is required if guests travel with a scooter.

For example, for an upcoming sailing aboard the Excel-class Mardi Gras, the email outlines options for guests with respect to scooters.

“This message is being sent only to guests booked into specific staterooms aboard Mardi Gras and is intended only for those travelling with a scooter,” the email begins.

Some guests will occasionally book larger accessible cabins due to other accessibility needs – wheelchairs, knee scooters, canes, etc. – or simply because the rooms are generally more spacious. At times, travelers may be unaware that the stateroom they’ve selected is an accessible room.

If guests are not traveling with a scooter, the email does not apply and they may disregard the notice. Otherwise, the guidelines in the email outline what is necessary to accommodate a scooter.

“The stateroom you have secured does not accommodate all types of scooters,” the email explained. “If you or another guest in your stateroom will be traveling with a scooter, it must collapse for safe storage in a designated area inside the stateroom.”

Guests with scooters are being given several options: to use a collapsible scooter that will fit comfortably in the stateroom, to travel without a scooter if they are able, to change their ship or sailing date in order to reserve a stateroom that will accommodate the scooter, or to cancel their cruise for a full refund. The email goes on to note several guidelines regarding scooters onboard.

“Scooters cannot be stored in corridors or public areas,” the email specifically notes. “Guests must be able to collapse or fold them for storage in a way that allows for safe exit from the stateroom.”

It should be noted that if multiple guests in the same stateroom use scooters, a fully accessible stateroom with a wider doorway must be booked, or guests will need to rent a smaller scooter.

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

Carnival Cruise Line Brand Ambassador John Heald has also recently addressed the issue of scooters onboard, noting that enforcement both onboard and during cruise check-in is being strictly followed.

“We do need to try hard now to not allow anyone to leave their mobility scooter outside in the guest corridors at any time. We are testing this on one of the ships as we speak with guests sailing being sent emails with all the implications and rules ahead of time,” Heald said.

“We really are going to be working to make sure that for the safety of everyone on the ship that scooters must be kept in the cabins and never in the corridors.”

Oversized Scooters Not Allowed to Board

Special attention will be given to scooter sizes at check-in on embarkation day to ensure they meet the appropriate size measurements for safe storage in a guest’s stateroom.

“Scooters that do not fit will not be allowed on board,” the email states. “Should a guest be unable to make alternate arrangements to rent a smaller scooter or travel without one, boarding will be denied, and a refund issued to the original form of payment.”

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

Heald confirmed that guests may be turned away at embarkation if they do not have an appropriately-sized scooter.

“The embarkation team will check if the cabin of any guest that comes with a scooter can accommodate the scooter meaning if it is one of the extra large ones then they will not be allowed to board the ship,” he explained.

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

Carnival Cruise Line is trying to make it easier for travelers to rent smaller scooters at embarkation if necessary.

“We will offer guests a chance to rent a new mobility scooter from Scootaround (our preferred vendor) who will have collapsible scooters available at the pier for guests to rent at their cost if needed,” Heald said.

While the refund would likely cover not only the cruise fare but pre-paid purchases for onboard amenities – Wi-Fi and drink packages, shore tours, spa treatments, specialty dining, etc. – there is no indication that the cruise line would provide any compensation for airfare change fees or other travel arrangements if guests are not able to set sail.

Why Strengthen Enforcement Now?

Carnival Cruise Line has not offered an explanation about why the sudden increase in enforcement of the mobility scooter policy, but frequent cruise travelers have noted a dramatic increase of how many scooters are seen onboard all types of sailings.

When scooters are parked improperly in corridors or other public spaces, they are blocking potential emergency evacuation routes and can cause difficulties for other travelers to move around the ship.

Furthermore, crew members who have to move carts or other equipment may not be able to maneuver around parked scooters. Similarly, other scooter users may not be able to move around any parked mobility scooters.

No details have been given about any potential penalties or repercussions for guests onboard who do leave scooters parked in corridors. What are your thoughts on mobility scooters onboard a cruise ship? Share your experiences on the Cruise Hive boards!

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