My wife is partially disabled. She can walk slowly but long distances are difficult for her. We asked for a wheelchair for boarding. None was available. When we boarded, we found that there was no elevator. This was never mentioned. We were in for a week of enforced climbing of 4 flights of stairs, many of which led to narrow and difficult doors. This ship is completely unsuitable for disabled people. We could barely manage. Those more disabled than we would have had to have been left on the shore. With no refund, I am sure, although there is certainly nothing in any large print in their literature which indicates this. But I guess you were supposed to scrutinize the deck plan to find this out.
Let's say this at the beginning: The ship is beautiful, the interior spaces are lovely, and the service crew (waiters, cabin stewards and deckhands) are friendly, efficient and personable. The Cruise Director was not to my liking and the Hotel Director turned out to be a baloney artist. The Captain seemed nice, but his Ukrainian accent prevented all but the most basic communication.
The sailing bit is almost a gimmick. The sails are raised with great pomp and piped in music from "The Hunt for Red October. Then, as soon as everyone is at dinner or in bed, the sails are furled and the ship proceeds under power. It is too bad, the experience of proceeding on a large ship under sail is truly delightful. You get it about 25% of the time.
The food is no better and no worse than many cruise ships Mostly frozen ingredients dressed up in fancily named sauces. You would think that sailing in some of the most fertile fishing waters and tropical fruit growing areas that they would make some effort to add fresh food. You would think that with Royal Caribbean and Holland America as well.
The ship offers water sports equipment to the passengers. The equipment is old, dirty and disgusting it belongs at the Salvation Army. So do the books in the beautiful library. They didn't bother to got to the Salvation Army for these. They are just the left behinds from past passengers.
The real problem was the port policy. It was designed to save the cruise line many dollars. It cost a life.
On board was a wedding party of about 30. They had held a lovely ceremony on deck on Sunday. They were from the San Francisco area. The morning aftet the Antigua stop, rumors were flying around the ship. A passenger had been murdred ashore. It was the sister of the bride. A boite from the Antigua police was in our cabins, talking about the investigation of a homicide, describing a suspect and asking all passengers to review their photos of the baqrbecue to see if the suspect was in them.
The ship adressed none of this until about 7pm. Then a brief announcement was read by the Cruise Director: "An unfortunate disembarkation has occurred by a family who had a missing family member." Other than repeating the call for photos, that was the entire response of the ship to the murder. I cornered the Hotel Director and asked him about it. He insisted that the ship had no culpablility, that the murder had occurred far from the beach. It had occurred, and the girl was found with her throat slit, right near the path that they had suggested passengers use.
Another couple, at dinner, told us they had taken a Jeep excursion o the iosland, and that the drivers had been drinking rum and coke. Could the cruise line have had a little more diligence in their selection of excursion suppliers.