Great way to cross the North Sea with a wheelchair
This review is especially helpful for those who have or use the following: Wheelchair
Our first experience of sea travel with the wheelchair was very positive. Disabled facilities on board were very good and the staff friendly and helpful.
Transport & Parking
Can't comment on the parking as we arrived at the North Shields terminal by taxi, and had arranged a taxi to take us from Ijmuiden to Amsterdam. The dropping off point for the taxi at North Shields was very close to the ferry terminal building and a short level walk/wheel from it. The same was true at the Ijmuiden terminal.
Good signage and helpful staff. There was an accessible loo in the North Shields Terminal but we didn't use it. At the start of the journey, access to the ship was by ramp, (up and then down) with no difficulty given a reasonably fit accompanist. Solo wheelchair users can ask for assistance and there were clearly marked assistance points in the terminal. Once inside the ship we were directed to a lift, crossed an emopty car deck and then went up in a second lift. There were staff at all points to direct us and the only reason I've not given five stars is that one of the lifts we used was quite a tight squeeze. Most of the lifts on the ship turned out to be roomy. You are issued with a key card to your cabin when you check in at the Terminal. Once we reached our deck, a friendly crew member escorted us to our wheelchair accessible cabin. This had good circulating space for the wheelchair and two single beds, both helpfully low. Disembarking at Ijmuiden was also by ramp (similar to North Shields) with a platform lift (operated by a staff member) to take the wheelchair down to the level where you go through passport control and exit the terminal.
This is a description of the accessible loo and shower in our wheelchair-accessible cabin - we didn't use any of the other loos on the ship. The cabin had an ensuite bathroom with a wide door, a loo with sensible grab rails, a wet-room style shower and a wash handbasin at wheelchair level. The cabin was equipped with a fixed alarm by one of the beds and a second alarm button on the end of a long cord which could be taken into the bathroom if needed or put by the second bed if the cabin was being used by two wheelchair users.
Frinedly, proactive and helpful . We were seated at an easily accessible table in the restaurant. When it was time to disembark at Ijmuiden one staff member escorted us through a crowd of people with luggage and showed us which lift to use.
Anything else you wish to tell us?
The food was excellent and the whole experience left us confident about this way of travelling with a wheelchair. The buses DFDS lay on to take passengers into Amsterdam are not wheelchair accessible. We arranged a wheelchair-accessible taxi in advance with Accessible Travel Netherlands. This was provided by a firm called Taxi Munckhof, and the driver spoke excellent English and was friendly and helpful. It's probably wise to allow 30 minutes to disembark, so book the taxi for 30 minutes after arrival time.