Getting ashore

When choosing your cruise please bear in mind that it may not be possible for wheelchair users to go ashore in all ports of call.

Depending on the port, there will be one of two ways to get ashore: down the gangway directly on to land, or by tender.  Staff will be able to provide wheelchair or arm assistance from the top to the bottom of the gangway only where safe to do so. Mobility scooter or electric wheelchair users may find it necessary to transfer to a manual wheelchair when using the gangway. 


Due to the extreme tidal nature and gangway configurations required to cope with large varying height differences between the quay and the ship side, there is a strong chance that wheelchair/scooter users may not be able to disembark or be restricted to limited times when they can go ashore in ports including, but not limited to: Bilbao, Brest, La Coruna, Le Havre, La Rochelle, Lisbon, Zeebrugge, Malaga, Cadiz, Madeira, Rotterdam, Cherbourg Hamburg, Boston, Halifax, Portland, Quebec, Darwin, San Francisco and Mumbai.  We apologise for any inconvenience or disappointment that this may cause but we hope you will appreciate that this is in the interests of your safety.


At ports where it is not possible to use the ship’s brow, access to shore will be either by a long straight shore gangway fitted with self levelling steps to take into account the tidal conditions or, in some cases, wooden batons for foot grips. Dependent on tidal conditions the baton type can be quite steep at times.


The ship may also use its own narrow stepped gangway (the ‘accommodation ladder’) which also features self levelling steps to take account of the tide.


In some ports it is necessary to anchor off shore rather than alongside the dock or quay. When this is the case, we use a tender to take you ashore. A tender is a small vessel that carries around 100 passengers. 

In order to board the tender, please note that you will be required to use steps (up to 20cm/8inches high) and navigate the gap between the platform and the tender (of up to 45cm/18 inches).

In the interest of safety, we require all guests wishing to use the tenders to have sufficient independent mobility to negotiate the steps and traverse a gap of up to 45cm/18 inches.  Anyone wishing to board the tender will need to demonstrate this ability via a mobility test prior to tender embarkation by stepping unaided over a distance of 45cm/18 inches.  Children who are unable to step across a gap of this size will be permitted to use the tender service provided that their parent/guardian is able to demonstrate that they can carry or pass them safely across the mobility test gap.   

If you have notified us that you have reduced mobility you will be invited to a tender briefing on board and given the opportunity to take part in the mobility assessment (described above) in advance.  This must be completed independently, without any assistance.  If an officer decides it is not safe for you to board a tender please respect their decision, it’s taken to ensure your safety in accordance with health and safety law.

When you board the tender

There will be crew members there to guide and steady you as you embark, but they cannot support, carry or lift guests on board the tender for safety reasons. Please wear appropriate, flat, and securely attached footwear.

If you use a wheelchair or mobility scooter, please note that you or your travelling companion is responsible for assembling and disassembling your wheelchair/ mobility scooter. The crew will endeavour to assist where practical and safe to do so, providing that no individual part weighs more than 20kg/40lb.

When you get ashore

Guests must make their own way to/from the terminal/shuttle bus/tour buses etc.

Where shuttle buses are supplied, every effort is made to provide an accessible shuttle bus, however for reasons out of our control this may not always be possible. Therefore if booked on a P&O Cruises Select Fare, where shuttle buses are included in your fare, in ports where a shuttle bus is provided but an accessible service is unavailable you are invited to use a taxi service as an alternative. The taxi should take the same route and drop off and collect at the same point as the shuttle bus service. Please keep the receipts and speak to Reception when you arrive back on board where the expenses will be refunded to your onboard account.

Please be aware that in consideration of health and safety, tour providers/coach operators reserve the right to refuse carriage to any guest who is unable to negotiate the steps of the coach independently.

Please note if your shore excursions are operated by minibus, there will be no storage space for mobility scooters or wheelchairs.