Trade association Clia Europe today highlighted its members’ “continuous efforts” to improve accessibility in ships in order to make sure that disabled people can enjoy a cruise holiday.

This came as the European cruise industry backed the European Day for People with Disabilities and further demonstrated its commitment to ensure cruise ships remain accessible to all.

Cruise ship crew receive extensive training in assisting passengers, including those with disabilities or restricted mobility. In case of an emergency, specially-trained crew members will assist people with disabilities to meeting points, according to Clia.

Onboard facilities include wheelchair access within public spaces, assisted listening devices or systems in public spaces and in-room kits for the hearing impaired.

Wheelchair-accessible cabins are also available and designated seating is available in entertainment areas. Wheelchair seating is also available at most restaurant and dining locations. Ships are also accessible to passengers who use mobility scooters.

Additionally, members work to make special arrangements available for embarkation, including early boarding, disembarkation and land excursions. Many lines also arrange meetings on the first day of the trip to advise passengers with disabilities individually on a range of matters related to their holiday, such as on-board amenities and land excursions.

Clia Europe secretary general Robert Ashdown said: “Currently one in six European Union citizens – about 80 million people – has a physical disability.

“With this figure set to rise as the EU population grows older, cruise line companies fully understand the need to continue improving ships’ infrastructure and services to ensure that this important segment of the European population can also enjoy a holiday at sea.”