Clearing the Air about Cruising with Oxygen
Garnett, Founder Special Needs Group
As a supplier of oxygen and other special needs equipment
for travelers, I see first hand the uncertainty and confusion regarding
traveling with oxygen, especially the rules and regulations for dealing with
cylinders or other forms of portable oxygen on a cruise.
Like everything in life, cruising with oxygen is simple,
once you know the guidelines. After almost a decade of working with
cruise ships and accessibility, here's what I've learned that can
ensure smooth sailing for anyone traveling with oxygen.
All cruise lines welcome oxygen onboard. However,
each line has specific guidelines or requirements for guests to follow.
Princess Cruises requires a prescription, or note from
your doctor with a diagnosis of your breathing problem and the prescribed
dosage and flow rate. You are required to have this at least 30 days prior to
sailing. Some lines also require, or suggest, that you have a release
form from your doctor. We think it is a good idea for anyone traveling to
have medical clearance.
Complying with paperwork and meeting specification can
take time, so it is always a good idea to begin planning early and to contact
the medical or access/special needs department of your cruise line at least
three to four weeks before your sailing date.
It is important that you have enough oxygen for the entire
voyage. To help you calculate, assume you will spend 10 to 12 hours per
day out of your cabin; that's the average based on statistics and
feedback from our customers. You do not want to end up confined to your
stateroom because you do not have enough portable oxygen.
Keep in mind, you will not be able to "pack"
your equipment in, or with, your luggage. Cruise line policy states that you
are permitted to bring your own equipment with you. However, you must
bring it onboard yourself. They will not be held responsible for any
missing equipment or for damages. In fact, you could be held liable if
anyone were to get injured by it. So, don't try to sneak it on in
Why worry about the possibility that your equipment
won't make it in one piece? Special Needs Group/Special Needs at
Sea delivers directly to cruise ships at ports around the world and works
closely with almost every major cruise line. We can handle all the
details for you. The oxygen will be delivered in accordance with the
line's requirements, and you can then carry the oxygen with you as you
navigate the ship.
Importantly, learn everything you need to know about your
portable equipment before you leave on your trip. The middle of the ocean
is not the place to start figuring out how things operate.
In working with and talking to the major cruise lines, the
only universal restriction they have for passengers using oxygen on board ships
is to avoid smoking and stay away from any areas where others are smoking.
There may also be limitations on taking certain quantities of oxygen on
certain shore excursions. This is best confirmed and handled with your
cruise line when you book.
So start planning, and get packing to enjoy your cruise.
ABOUT SPECIAL NEEDS GROUP, INC. Special Needs Group,
Inc. (www.specialneedsgroup.com) is a one-stop resource for special needs
travel around the world. We offer a broad range of special needs equipment
including wheelchair, powerchair and scooter rentals with capabilities to
support 500 pounds or more; oxygen rentals (liquid, cylinder, and
concentrator); hearing impaired equipment, Braille printing, baby cribs and
more. Recommended by the world's major cruise lines and hotels for
superior service and value, we also provide consultation services regarding
special needs policy and new-build design. Special Needs Group, a U.S.
company, is not a travel agency and does not compete in any way with travel