We were two first-time senior cruisers, one of whom has limited mobility and requires a wheelchair, and travelling with our son's family, including their toddler. We booked a handicap accessible cabin, which we could not view on line and hoped for the best. We did pre-cruise planning with the customer service desk, which was quite professional, competent and comfortable with our circumstance. Reading some of the reviews, re: limited cabin space, etc., we had some reservations.
Embarkation: NCL assistance was very helpful, and supportive of our special needs and expedited our boarding. Amazingly efficient considering the masses.
Cabin: How absolutely pleased that our anxieties weren't warranted. To start, we could wheel our chair into and around the cabin and easily into a bathroom, which had access to a shower with fold down bench/hand-held shower head, and ample, sturdy 'grab bars'. Mirror, sink, toilet and toiletry shelves were arranged, in kind. Closet was More
accessible with ample storage space, too. Our balcony was well worth the added cost and made it possible to enjoy the stunning Alaskan scenery with terrific accessibility, convenience and relative privacy.
Food: We ate mainly in the Tsar's Palace dinning room and at the buffet in the Garden Cafe. And though the latter had reserved seating for handicapped persons, it was quite limited. This was not a problem as we found seating for our family, elsewhere. The staff were exceedingly friendly, accommodating and helpful, especially in the Tsar's Palace who were attentive, accommodating and considerate to our special needs, including dietary ones. In fact, staff/crew were the same throughout the ship and our voyage.
Excursions: Not being certain about how we'd be in our times in ports, we did not make excursion reservations beforehand. We chose to do so on the day-of and locally; this was fairly easy, e.g., plenty of taxis, etc. Of note, each time we disembarked, we were greeted by a Jewel staffer, asked to help and who wheeled my wife down to the shore and upon our return, another staffer wheeled her back onto the ship. Kudos!
Entertainment: Fun, high energy but limited and not very accessible seating for handicapped individuals, e.g., narrow aisles, limited space between rows of seats. Not much one can do but a limitation, nonetheless.
Disembarkation: What a civil and sane approach, i.e., select the time you wish to depart and remain in your cabin until your "color"/time is called. Staff expedites process quite well. Bags meet you in the terminal. And you're "on the street" shortly after retrieving your bags.
In closing, big time kudos to NCL for their disabled friendly attention, consideration and service and for the layout and amenities in our cabin. On behalf of my special needs family, "well done!" and thanks for making our voyage so enjoyable. Less