Cruise NewsDisabled Man, 69, Unable to Board Cruise Ship With Family Due to...

Disabled Man, 69, Unable to Board Cruise Ship With Family Due to Missing Wheelchair Form

A 69-year-old cancer survivor said he felt “hopeless” after his family said goodbye as they boarded their cruise ship and he stayed behind.

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It all came down to a form for a wheelchair.

P&O Cruises Ventura in Southampton England
P&O Cruises Ventura: Photo 148350599 © Darryl Brooks | Dreamstime.com

Mike Ashton was about to go on a cruise out of Southampton, a cruise port city in England, when he was told he would have to leave his much-needed wheelchair behind.

Ashton, along with his wife, daughter and mother-in-law had planned the P&O Cruises sailing on Ventura for weeks.

The family was about to board the vessel when Ashton was apparently told he had not filled out the proper form for wheelchair use on the ship and would not be able to bring it with him.

Ashton had booked his entire trip over the telephone and told the port agent that he had never received the required form.

According to Portsmouth.co.uk, Ashton was told that the email had been sent to him.

“P&O said they had sent me emails twice – but I’ve checked it online 30 times. I said I have done everything right,” Ashton claimed.

Ashton had booked a wheelchair accessible room, and he had done the same on prior cruises without any issues.  But he stated that P&O claimed they didn’t know he would be bringing a wheelchair.

It should be noted that even when booking a wheelchair accessible room, a person on board has to be allocated for that chair, and the cruise line must be made aware.

The family had to make a very difficult decision after spending thousands of dollars on the cruise.

Ultimately, Ashton was left at the port and in tears as he said goodbye to his family before they boarded the ship.

“They made me feel more disabled and I felt discriminated against. I felt hopeless and very lonely,” the cancer survivor stated, adding that he would have been stranded if he couldn’t drive.

A P&O Cruises spokesperson said:

“We are so sorry this happened to Mr. Ashton and he was not able to board.  The on board needs questionnaire is on My P&O Cruises (our online portal) to be completed – it is not sent out by email. It is also very clear on the front page of My P&O Cruises that this is to be completed if needed. If Mr Ashton was booked in an accessible cabin, he or his agent will have been sent emails prompting him to login to My P&O Cruises to complete the questionnaire.”

According to the P&O Cruise website, all wheelchairs and mobility scooters must be declared at the time of booking or as soon as the need for one of them is known. 

The closed dimensions of the wheelchair must also be disclosed to the cruise line.

According to Ashton, “P&O said just because we booked an accessible cabin doesn’t mean we have a wheelchair. They have to allocate a person for the chair whether there is an emergency or not. They were willing to let me on board but without the wheelchair.

P&O states on their website this message for disabled guests:

“Please note: if you do not advise us in advance of your holiday that you will be bringing a mobility scooter, you won’t be able to bring your mobility scooter on board. There are no storage facilities available for devices that are denied boarding, so this could also result in a you being denied boarding.”

 

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J. Souza
J. Souza
Jon is the co-founder of Cruise Fever and has been on 50+ cruises since his first in 2009. As an editor, 15-year writer on the cruise industry, and avid cruise enthusiast he has sailed with at least 10 cruise lines and is always looking for a great cruise deal. Jon lives in North Carolina and can be reached at [email protected].
Cruise NewsDisabled Man, 69, Unable to Board Cruise Ship With Family Due to...
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