I get a lot of requests for information about accessible European river cruises. I have to say that most of the stops along these cruise itineraries are full of access obstacles – most notably the cobblestone streets — but until a month ago there was one ship that actually offered decent access. It wasn’t perfect, but for a river cruise, it was more accessible than other offerings in the market.
The ship was the 110 passenger MV Dresden, operated by Peter Deilman Cruises. I say “was” because ,unfortunately Peter Deilman Cruises recently announced they will shut down their European cruise division in 2010.
So what will happen to the ship? Well, the Peter Deilman folks are being tight lipped about that, but it’s speculated she will be sold. So keep your eye out for her, as she has a wheelchair-accessible stateroom with a roll-n shower — a rarity for this particular type of ship.
In the meantime, you might want to consider a leisurely barge cruise on the wheelchair-accessible La Reine Pedaque. This full service crewed barge travels along France’s Valley Ouche and features lift access to both decks and two wheelchair-accessible cabins. A lift-equipped bus is also available for shore excursions. It’s a very leisurely cruise, but be sure to pack along those stretchy pants, because the food is excellent!
Hopefully the MV Dresden will reappear soon under new ownership. Like I said, keep your eyes peeled.