Holland America Line Programs

A detailed overview of Holland America Line special needs passenger services and policies.

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Although a well-stocked pharmacy is available onboard to treat most conditions, guests are advised to bring their own prescription medications with them, in carry-on luggage. Guests with ongoing medical conditions should bring along a copy of their medical records to assist in diagnosis and treatment. Since ship-to-shore consultations may be necessary, bringing the telephone number of the guest's personal physician is encouraged.


Holland America Line offers a limited number of staterooms designed to be wheelchair and scooter accessible. There are, however, size and weight guidelines for scooters. If you plan on bringing a scooter on the ship, please contact us at 800-547-8493

Scooters and other mobility equipment need to be securely stored and charged in the guest's stateroom; not in hallways or elevator lobbies.

Scooters left in these areas could restrict people needing to travel through these areas in an emergency, particularly other guests using mobility aids, since they would have no way of getting by a scooter left in a hallway.

Ship Transfer Options

Certain ship transfer operations (i.e. during tendering and at the gangways) may not be fully accessible to wheelchairs or scooters. When a ship is unable to dock, guests are taken ashore on smaller boats called tenders. Some guests with limited mobility may find it difficult to embark or disembark the ship at certain times while at dock or while tendering due to steep gangways and steps, particularly during low or high tide. Also, please note that scooters and wheelchairs which are more than 100 lbs. without the battery are not allowed to be transferred from the ship to tender and/or from tender to shore.

ships > HAL > Special Needs

Special Needs Passengers

Source: www.hollanamerica.com

Each Holland America Line ship has a medical center carrying much of the standard equipment found in North American hospital emergency departments. While not a full-service hospital, the onboard medical center accommodates most emergencies and routine medical procedures. The medical center has an examination room, capabilities to perform simple laboratory tests, a digital X-ray machine, one isolation bed, an intensive care unit with one bed, and one or two additional beds. A defibrillator, cardiac monitor with external pacing, electrocardiogram machine, ventilator, oxygen and suction unit are included in the medical center's mini-intensive care unit.

Every cruise is staffed with one passenger physician and medical officers - 2 to 4 registered nurses and one crew physician---available for emergencies 24 hours a day. Acknowledged as an industry leader in cruise medicine, Holland America Line carefully screens applicants for shipboard medical staff positions: passenger physicians and nurses must be American- or Canadian-trained and licensed and experienced in emergency medicine. Nurses must have a minimum of four years of recent active nursing experience in emergency or critical care; crew physicians are trained and board-certified in the Philippines. All staff are certified in advanced cardiac life support.

Every Holland America Line ship is equipped with three automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) placed in strategic locations on the ship to allow for quick response. In addition to the medical professionals on board, Holland America Line officers and staff who work closely with guests receive annual CPR and AED training. The dining and bar staff also receives training in the Heimlich Maneuver to manage any choking incidents.

In most instances, medical staff can support, comfort and care for patients who suddenly become ill on board. They are generally able to diagnose the illness and recommend a course of treatment, possibly prescribing medications from the ship's pharmacy. The medical centers are not suitable for surgery. Due to the limited medical facilities on the ships, the company will not accept reservations for women who will be 24 or more weeks pregnant by the last day of their cruise.

If a patient is in critical condition, the doctor and nurses work to stabilize the patient's condition until transfer to a full-service hospital is arranged. Holland America Line has procedures for emergency disembarks by ground ambulance; via Coast Guard helicopter if medically appropriate and logistically possible in relation to the ship's distance from land; and also for fixed-wing air ambulance transfers. These protocols are in place on each ship and are coordinated through Fleet Medical Operations at Holland America Line's corporate headquarters in Seattle. All departments on board work together as a team in the event of a medical evacuation emergency. A structured emergency response team on board each ship runs practice drills.

The on-board medical center maintains regular hours daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The medical officers respond to on-board emergencies 24 hours a day.

All consultation fees and charges are paid by the guest on his or her onboard account through Holland America's convenient "cashless" system. Since most health plans, including Medicare, do not cover the costs of medical care at sea and in foreign ports, guests are encouraged to obtain supplemental health and emergency evacuation insurance prior to travel.

Stateroom Accommodations

Wheelchair Accessible Stateroom

• Stateroom entry doors measure 32 inches wide.
• Wheelchair accessible bathroom doors measure 32 inches wide.

Modified Accessible Staterooms

These staterooms offer features for guests with partial mobility limitations and may not be suitable for guests requiring full-time mobility assistance or the full-time use of a wheelchair. These staterooms have standard interior and exterior door openings as well as a step into the bathroom. They also offer shower only bathrooms with a low threshold into the shower along with additional grab bars in the bathroom. These types of staterooms are offered on the S-Class ships (STATENDAM, RYNDAM, MAASDAM, VEENDAM)

* Please note: Modified Accessible Staterooms in verandah categories do not have a ramp out to and in from the verandah; however, a portable ramp may be available with an advance request through the Access & Compliance Department. (Given size and space constraints, the incline on portable ramps may exceed grades customarily used by land-based facilities.)

If you have booked a Modified Accessible or a non-accessible interior, ocean view, or verandah stateroom, you should know that most stateroom entry doors measure 23 inches wide. Most bathroom doors measure 20 inches wide.

If you have booked a Modified Accessible or a non-accessible suite, you should know that most suite entry doors measure 32 inches wide. Suite entry doors on the PRINSENDAM measure 24 inches wide.
Most suite bathroom doors measure 19 inches wide.

Accessible stateroom locations are noted on the Deck Plans for each ship and can be found by selecting the individual ships within the “Onboard our Ships” section of the Holland America Line website by clicking here.


Holland America Line has a limited supply of wheelchairs onboard. In order to accommodate guests, wheelchairs are reserved exclusively for embarkation and disembarkation situations. If you require regular use of a wheelchair, HAL recommends you bring your own wheelchair with you. You may also make advanced rental arrangements prior to your sailing and have a wheelchair delivered directly to the ship. Situations may occur in which mobility-impaired guests may not be able to go ashore at the time they desire or are unable to go ashore at all in certain ports. For the safety of all concerned, the Captain shall make the final determination regarding the carrying of mobility-impaired guests and their mobility assistance device (wheelchair, scooter, walker, etc.), taking into account all appropriate matters including, but not limited to, weather conditions, ship's location, weight of the guest, etc.

Holland America Line is no longer able to provide complimentary wheelchair assistance for any purpose other than embarkation, disembarkation, and emergency situations. Holland America Line wheelchairs are also not available for shore excursions. For additional details on the prearranged rental program, please contact:

phone: 877-478-7827 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 877-478-7827 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Fax: 800-648-1116

Guests must be aware that certain third party transfer and shore excursion facilities may not be fully accessible to guests with disabilities. Although we endeavor to make sure these companies comply with legal requirements, we cannot guarantee all are able to provide facilities that are accessible to persons with disabilities. For detailed, up-to-date information on accessibility issues involving shore excursions, we strongly recommend visiting the Shore Excursion Office on board.

In limited situations (either on board or ashore), we may find it necessary to ask the individual to make alternative travel arrangements, such as if an individual with a disability is unable to satisfy certain specified safety and other criteria, even when provided with appropriate auxiliary aids and services. Guests who are unable to care for their basic needs (e.g. dressing, eating, and attending safety drills) MUST have a capable traveling companion. It is essential that we be notified of any special medical, physical, or other requirements you may have as soon as possible, including whether you intend to bring a scooter with you.

Oxygen Deliveries Onboard

The ship is not equipped to provide guests with these services other than on an emergency basis in the Ship's Medical Center. For security and safety reasons, HAL has selected CareVacations/CruiseShipAssist as the only outside vendor that they will permit to deliver oxygen supplies to the ship. They believe they can and will meet your on board medical needs:

phone: 877-478-7827
Fax: 800-648-1116

You are also welcome, however, to bring your own oxygen and/or oxygen equipment from your home. Please note that our staff and crew are not permitted to handle your oxygen and/or oxygen equipment during the embarkation and disembarkation process. Thus, you must be able to handle your supplies if you bring your own. Please contact the Access & Compliance Department prior to sailing if you will require oxygen while on your cruise. Note: Oxygen and/or oxygen equipment deliveries will not be accepted from any other companies.

More Contact Information

If you require additional information on the ship's facilities or ability to accommodate your needs, please feel free to contact the Access & Compliance Department at 800-547-8493 or email HALW_Access@hollandamerica.com

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