Dear Editor,

I was recently on a transatlantic cruise from England to the United States. I have cruised many times in the past, but ran into a problem on this cruise concerning the gangways from the ship to the individual ports we visited. I did extensive research before the trip, but discovered that in most of ports gangways were used that contained steps instead of ramps. When I questioned the excursion office on the ship, I just received the usually run-around. Since I can not handle steps, I had to remain on the ship at the majority of destinations.

My questions is; “What is the best way to research the gangway question prior to a cruise?” When I questioned the ship personnel, I was told that the individual piers use their own gangways, and the cruise doesn’t have anything to do with it, and yet I saw that the gangways at some of the ports were actually taken off the ship and put back on the ship when we were leaving port.

I would appreciate any information you can give me, as I’ve scheduled a cruise to Bermuda for next year and would like to make sure I can get off the ship!

Thank you in advance, Tammie Tschappat

It sounds as if you did many of the right things in trying to research your cruise, despite the outcome. Although it may sound extreme, and certainly unfair, in addition to talking to the cruise line before the trip, you may want to call the port authorities at each of the stops along your route to ask about their equipment. As always, get names and titles, which can be used later if discrepancies arise.

My last bit of advice, if you know well in advance which boat and route you’re taking, is to get on the net and ask other disabled travelers their experiences with this specific itinerary.