My partner and I are both wheelchair users and approached this holiday with some trepidation. Our major concerns were that we travelled alone and I suffer from sea sickness - we needn't have worried.
We were checked in as a priority (as all people with "special needs" were) and it was fairly straight forward, it did however still take about an hour to get on board which we were told by other seasoned cruisers was fairly normal.
We arrived on the casino deck and were confronted by a table with cocktails on which we quickly discovered were NOT COMPLIMENTARY ($12 EACH if memory serves!) and a lot of people were saying other cruise companies give the first drink free.
We had pre-booked an "unlimited sodas" package for $6.25 per person per day and were so thankful we had. We collected that as soon as we could having found out that sodas were normally $4 EACH!! For someone who needs to drink plenty due to disability the sodas package was a godsend as it would have More
cost a fortune if we hadn't - one afternoon we drank 4 drinks each in an hour because of the heat!
We arrived in our room shortly after 2pm (the time we were told the cabin would be ready) to discover that part of the anniversary/birthday packages we had booked for 5 days into our trip were already in our room - thankfully NOT the perishables.
The room was fairly large, though not the size we expected from a wheelchair accessible room. There was enough room down one side of the bed(s) to get a wheelchair down, but not the other. It took till the night before we disembarked that we discovered we could have moved the bed, but it took another passenger to tell us that - the steward saw us on a number of occasions and had plenty of opportunity to tell us. The other major problem was the ramp into the bathroom being steep and so close to the beds it made it difficult to get into the bathroom as you could get a "run up". The big problem on the accommodation decks was when the maids were cleaning the rooms - there was no room to pass their trolley in a wheelchair and we had to either shout to get them moved or find a maid to allow us to get passed.
The fire drill was an experience, most people around us insisted on spending this time talking at the top of their voice so the announcement was barely audible. There was absolutely NO mention of what special needs passengers should do in the event (our accommodation was on a different deck to our mustering station) of an emergency and nothing in the rooms either. We asked a member of the crew who did tell us but otherwise we would not have known
We had breakfast in the garden cafe every morning and the staff there cannot be faulted for service. Every day, without fail, as soon as we were spotted by the greeter we had a waiter/waitress hovering round us with a tray who followed us round getting absolutely everything we wanted and coming to our table several times to ensure we had everything we needed.
We ate at the "free" restaurants most days. The only exceptions being one night at "Cirque Dreams" which we would NEVER do again - the show was nothing special and the food atrocious, definitely NOT worth the extra cost - and 9th September when we ate in "Le Bistro" as we had paid for the anniversary package. The food at Le Bistro was what we would expect from a premium restaurant. The staff were great and left us to enjoy a romantic evening, only approaching to clear plates, refill glasses and at the end to sing happy birthday to my husband.
The only other entertainment we saw was "Legends in Concert" - as someone else said, is Britney Spears really a legend and non american Madonna was an experience! - and nightly a two piece called "Wildfire" who were superb.
Our major complaint (and it was fairly major) was the carpets on the main decks. These were thick pile which made it very difficult to push a chair on. My husband, who is fairly fit, even found the carpet tough going PLEASE PLEASE NCL remove a 3ft wide strip of carpet along one side of the ship on every deck! It would make life for an independent wheelchair user and those pushing a wheelchair/child's buggy a whole lot easier. Less
Again, no organised trips were available to us due to disability concerns.
Costa Maya is a nice place, but not much to do if you are unable to venture very far from the port.
When we were there the Hard Rock Cafe was just preparing to open, the merchandise area was open and it was a welcome relief to go into to get away from the heat.
We can't really say any more about the port due to the lack of disabled facilities meaning we could do very little.
From a disabled persons point of view it is very disappointing. There was only 1 excursion wheelchair users could have done at this port and it would have cost $300 PER PERSON due to the required "special" transport.
The only other option, if you want to get off the ship, is to peruse the shopping area. If you don't like shopping or getting harassed by EVERY shop keeper around, stay on board the ship.
My husband and I were followed, at one point, by a shop keeper for 6 shops begging us to go back to his shop and look round. It wasn't until I turned round and told him in no uncertain terms to go away he left us alone!
My advice is, before you get to the port, try to find out exactly which shops you want to go to and make a beeline for them and then get back to the ship asap!
Needless to say even though Cozumel is on the itinerary of our next cruise WE WILL NOT BE GOING ASHORE!
Despite the warning that Roatan was "backward" and NOT to venture from the port (unless on an organised excursion), we loved it!
We couldn't do ANY of the organised trips as we are both wheelchair users and no transport was available - a disappointment, but it didn't spoil the day.
We left the port area and (as expected) were approached by a number of young children offering to act as guides. We agreed to an older lad (we think about 16 years old) showing us around and he asked us if there was anything in particular he could show us. We had already been advised of a particular shop which was "not to be missed" that was a "fair walk" from the port. The lad was extremely helpful and totally comfortable with the wheelchairs to the point he assisted if we got stuck in potholes etc. We were approached by a number of street vendors on the walk, but the lad would just put his hand in their face and say "they are with me and if they want to come back they will" and that was that - no question about it!
The only real disappointment was that, on the day we were there, the lift to the first floor shops/restaurants in the port was out of order so we were unable to visit them (although a few of the fire brigade volunteered to take us up the stairs).