Traveling by ferry in Italy for people with disabilities
Information and services for passengers with disabilities
Do you want to know more about how accessible Italian ferries are for passengers with disabilities or reduced mobility?
On Ferryhopper, you can find useful tips on how to plan your trip in Italy, what to expect on board, and how to book your ferry tickets quickly and easily.
Ferry sailing to an Italian port
Ferry travel without barriers in Italy
If you want to travel to Italy in safety and comfort, the ferry is without a doubt the best option.
Once you've decided on a destination, it's a good idea to learn about on-board services for passengers with disabilities, booking procedures, and other important information to ensure a smooth departure.
Are ferries in Italy accessible?
The majority of Italian ferry companies are well-equipped to ensure the welfare and safety of passengers on board their vessels.
In fact, there are services for a comfortable crossing on both conventional ferries and some hydrofoils.
Port staff and crew frequently receive specialized training to cater to each passenger's needs, in addition to providing accessible areas for travelers with disabilities.
Useful info: keep in mind that some routes may be operated by small ferry companies that do not provide accessibility services. Therefore, we advise you to first check the amenities provided by each ferry operator.
Do I need to declare my disability when booking a trip in Italy?
In most cases, it is important that you inform the ferry company in advance about your upcoming trip, so that they take all necessary steps to accommodate you and assist you on board.
You need to contact the ferry company at least 48 hours before departure to possibly arrange pick-up, arrival time and other travel details (seats, extra services, medical equipment or mobility equipment, etc.).
You can get the information you require for your departure by contacting the company you've decided to travel with by phone or email.
Are there any ferry ticket discounts for people with disabilities?
Please note that for reservations made by the end of May, the ferry operator Grimaldi Lines offers 10% off to holders of European Disability Card on selected routes.
Accessible parking on the deck of the ferry
Official EU regulations on ferry travel for people with disabilities
All passengers with disabilities have the right to book a ferry ticket without paying a surcharge, as per European Union regulation 1177/2010.
The company may communicate its intention to deny access only in the event that there is a lack of adequate infrastructure for passenger boarding and safe transportation.
As a result, the majority of Italian ferry companies are better equipped to uphold the law and provide accessible on-board services. More information is available on the EU rights website.
Boarding and disembarkation
It is recommended that passengers with disabilities arrive at the port at least 1 hour before departure to ensure adequate service.
If you need assistance getting to your assigned seat, storing and retrieving your luggage, or using the restroom, the port staff and crew are always available to help.
If you are traveling by car and want to embark your vehicle, you will be given a sticker to display at the port and you will also be directed to the appropriate parking areas with priority.
For those who do not want to bring their car on board, there are parking spaces near the docks where you can get assistance from the crew in getting to the ferry.
At this point, the ferry company's staff will assist you in getting to the salons via elevators or escalators.
Interesting fact: the port of Piombino is one of the best in terms of accessible services and facilities. In fact, the Port-Abile service ensures that there will be accessible bus stops, train stations, and car terminals for people with disabilities.
Passenger with caregiver waiting for assistance at the port
On-board services for people with disabilities in Italy
The ferry is a great way to travel between various destinations in Italy and ferry companies make every effort to provide all necessary services to people with disabilities.
Most ferries have enough amenities for a comfortable crossing, but passengers must always notify the crew in advance if they require assistance and present the necessary documentation.
More details on the standard services offered by Italian ferry companies are provided below:
Port terminals and check-in
Upon contacting the ferry company, they will give you more information about access to the terminal and meeting points.
You can arrange to arrive at the port at a specific time, in order to board the ferry at ease.
Onboard services and accessibility
On-board services for safety and accessibility vary depending on the ferry company and the type of vessel.
Ferries usually have lifts, ramps, handrails, wheelchair anchor points with safety belts, accessible toilets, and designated parking spots. On larger ferries, there are accessible cabins for passengers with disabilities.
Lift buttons are usually available in braille on most ferries, to facilitate passengers who are blind or visually impaired. On-board announcements and safety reminders are made via speakers and you can also ask the ferry crew to inform you of any updates.
Tip: we suggest that you visit the website of the ferry company or contact their customer service for more information on onboard accessibility services.
Braille buttons on a ferry's lift
For your trip in Italy you can book a cabin, choose to stay at the communal lounge, book a standard or numbered seat, or spend your time wandering around the deck.
Cabins are recommended for multi-hour and overnight crossings. For people with reduced mobility, many ferry companies offer indoor or outdoor cabins. These are more spacious, better equipped and have easily accessible toilets.
Ferries in Italy have a limited number of accessible cabins, so make sure to book ahead of time, indicating the type of cabin.
Accompanying persons and animals
Even though Italian ferries are well-equipped to safely transporting people with disabilities, we recommend that you travel with a friend, relative or carer.
In some cases, the traveling companion may also be eligible for a free or reduced ferry ticket. Furthermore, ferry companies make an effort to accommodate passengers' needs and place them near any companions or caregivers.
Passengers with disabilities can also travel with service animals on board ferries in Italy. Service animals travel free of charge, but it is advisable to let the company know before the day of travel. Animals such as guide dogs are usually allowed in all public areas of the ship and can also travel in the cabin.
Guide dog accompanying visually impaired passenger during ferry trip
Where to book ferry tickets in Italy?
On Ferryhopper, you can easily and quickly book tickets to many Italian destinations. Find all available routes on our Map of ferries and choose the ferry company that best meets your needs.