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Disabled Woman Barred From Fred Olsen Cruise Ship Because She Can’t Get Out Of Her Wheelchair

January 19, 2016

Fred Olsen cruise bosses declined a booking from a disabled woman because she could not get out of her wheelchair to board the liner at Liverpool’s cruise terminal.

The refusal came when John Fisher, from Greasby, Wirral, attempted to book a place for himself and his disabled wife Ann on the Fred Olsen liner Boudicca for its seven-night Emerald Isle cruise, which departs from Liverpool on May 30.

But despite having booked cruises on the same liner on two previous occasions, the Fishers were told they could not go ahead with the booking this time because of Mrs Fisher’s disability.

Specifically, Fred Olsen said it had changed its passenger boarding policy. This meant that unless the passenger was able to get out of a wheelchair and get up the gangway steps without physical assistance, they could not travel.

John and Ann Fisher at the quayside in Bergen, Norway, on a previous holiday on the Boudicca in 2013.

Retired Liverpool University professor John Fisher said: “We were able to enjoy two Fred Olsen cruises from Liverpool in 2013 and 2014 aboard the Boudicca, occupying a wheelchair-adapted cabin.

“Access to and from the ship was easily accomplished with the help of four sturdy members of the crew lifting my wife’s wheelchair at the corners. Her chair is lightweight, as is she.

“But when the travel agent tried to make the booking this time, it was refused because it was no longer Fred Olsen’s policy to allow a passenger who cannot stand to be carried onto the ship in a wheelchair.”

Ann Fisher, who was left a tetraplegic following a spinal injury, said: “It’s quite devastating. I wouldn’t consider going on a cruise from another port because of the travelling involved.

The Fishers from Greasby, Wirral,are angry after Mrs Fisher,who is wheelchair bound, was told she could not board the Fred Olsen Cruise Liner Boudicca because of her condition.

“It was so easy when we did it before. We got a taxi to Liverpool, and were in our cabin just over an hour from leaving home. It was ideal for someone like me who finds it difficult to travel. Long journeys by car would be too much of an ordeal.”

A spokesperson for Fred Olsen said: “Regrettably, due to the non-availability of an overhead air bridge or a sloped gangway at the Port of Liverpool, we are restricted from assisting guests, who are fully confined to a wheelchair, to board our ships.

“Since we must rely upon the vessels own stepped gangway, the angle of which is subject to considerable tidal variation, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines requires guests disembarking or embarking in this port to be able to walk up or down this stepped gangway with minimal assistance from either a crew member or suitably able-bodied travelling companion.

“Fred Olsen is not able to carry wheelchair-reliant guests up or down the gangway, as this compromises the health and safety of both the guest and crew. We will continue to liaise with the Fishers until we can reach a satisfactory resolution.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Colin Wilson permalink
    January 19, 2016 4:22 pm

    FFS someone lend them a cherry picker

  2. January 19, 2016 4:56 pm

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  3. January 19, 2016 5:40 pm

    Pathetic excuse from Olsen.

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