1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Norwegian Jewel
My niece had flown with Norwegian Air while in Europe and raved about the experience, so when she graduated from college we decided to use Norwegian Cruise Lines to travel to Alaska. Our expensive, once in a lifetime vacation. I booked the entire trip through the Norwegian Cruise Line desk. The first words out of my mouth were "I AM IN A WHEEKCHAIR". This must mean something different to them than it means to me. Luckily, I am pretty able bodied, I am missing a leg, but get around very well. Had they bothered to tell me what a BAD idea it was to want to go on a cruise in a wheelchair, we would not have WASTED the thousands of dollars it cost. First we were booked on American Airlines, leaving Cleveland at 5 AM which meant getting to the airport at 3 AM. OOPS! they never bothered to mention the luggage fees imposed by American Airlines. The porters at CLE REFUSED to help me to the gate since my personal wheelchair did not have the leg pieces on it (I do not need them). So we got to the gate ourselves. The flight we were booked on was "down thirty steps/across the tarmac/and up ten steps". The check-in woman was nice enough to change us to a later flight that had a jetway. However, there was not enough room between the rows for my prostatic leg and forget using the bathroom. We arrived in Chicago O'Hare late and raced to the exact opposite end of the airport to find that they had no record of us and no room for us so we were bumped to an even later flight. When we finally arrived in Seattle, (after waiting over an hour at the transportation area) we were told that the transportation voucher was useless since they did not have ANY handicapped accessible vehicles. We had to get a cab. We finally arrived at the hotel nine hours after we were due. The manager on duty was snippy and let us know that no handicapped accessible rooms were available and that we should have let them know when WE made the reservations. She would however give us a room without an accessible bathroom with one queen bed and a pull out couch (for over $300 a night). which we refused. Finally an hour and a half later, we were put in adjoining rooms and informed that she was "doing us a favor". The next morning we contacted the cruise line to find out that they did not have an accessible bus to take us to the port. Everyone ended up waiting in the lobby while they found one. The bus driver did not know how to use the wheelchair lift and we were stuck in the very back of the bus with a broken and smelly toilet. We finally arrived at the port and one cruise line employee pushed my chair about tem feel and said, "you have it from here" and walked away. We were checked in and met Butu (a porter) who ended up being a God send. He was the most helpful person we met on the ship. Helped me navigate the gang ways that were so steep there was NO WAY anyone besides a mountain goat could have navigated in a wheelchair. We went to our stateroom and there was a note on the bed letting me know that if I needed any help with my "FOOD ALLERGIES" that I should contact the special office. I do not now, nor have ever had food allergies, I have one leg. My niece and I had spent months doing research on Alaska and on the available excursions, I paid for everything in advance.. NONE of the excursions listed on the web site as accessible actually were. There was no transportation available. We went to the excursion desk and the person working there let us know that they would gladly refund MY money, but my niece would have to go on them alone. Right, I wanted to stay on the ship the entire time and she wanted to sightsee alone! The special needs officer was able to get us ADA transportation, unfortunately NONE of the bus drivers knew how to use the lifts for the wheelchair causing delays and hurt feelings among the other passengers. She tried her best, but the entire cruise was a bust. A way overpriced bust. There is one handicapped restroom on each floor and every single time in ten days I went to use it, they were locked. The special needs officer would have them unlocked and when the next cleaning crew came by they locked them again. So, no matter where we were on the ship, I had to go all the way back to our stateroom to use the bathroom. A stateroom that was supposed t to be accessible, it was if you only wanted to go inside the door and turn into the bathroom. The rest of the room (we paid for the balcony room to avoid this) was too small. Never did get to see the balcony! I will say that we were extremely glad that we paid for the upgraded dining package. The main buffet was not accessible. There were a couple of tables designated for handicapped only, but no one to enforce the rule so they were always taken by "able bodied people". A couple of crew members offered to help me at the buffet as the tables were all higher than I could see, unfortunately most had thick accents and I had no idea what was on the buffets. We decided to relax and see the shows only there is only a small area that fit one wheelchair and three seats across the aisle that were designated for handicapped seating (again mostly ignored) so my niece and I could not sit together for most of the shows. We were able to get the seats once, but they are on the ONLY aisle that goes from one side of the auditorium to the other. We were repeatedly trampled by rude guests who felt the need to trample on our/her feet and my one foot. One woman even tried to take my wheelchair for her own. I know this is a long review, it is not nearly half of what we experienced. When we finally got home, I wrote to Norwegian Cruise Lines and after many emails and informing them that I was contacting the Federal Government about their lack of adherence to the ADA, I finally received a response. Offering me about $700 that could only be used on another cruise. Nothing for my niece since she was not handicapped, her "once in a lifetime" vacation was ruined by them also. Why would I ever go on another cruise with them after the almost $10.000 fiasco that was our trip to Alaska???

Do Not Cruise If You Are In A Wheelchair!!!

Norwegian Jewel Cruise Review by Karen Mavor

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: June 2015
  • Destination: Alaska
My niece had flown with Norwegian Air while in Europe and raved about the experience, so when she graduated from college we decided to use Norwegian Cruise Lines to travel to Alaska. Our expensive, once in a lifetime vacation.

I booked the entire trip through the Norwegian Cruise Line desk. The first words out of my mouth were "I AM IN A WHEEKCHAIR". This must mean something different to them than it means to me. Luckily, I am pretty able bodied, I am missing a leg, but get around very well.

Had they bothered to tell me what a BAD idea it was to want to go on a cruise in a wheelchair, we would not have WASTED the thousands of dollars it cost.

First we were booked on American Airlines, leaving Cleveland at 5 AM which meant getting to the airport at 3 AM. OOPS! they never bothered to mention the luggage fees imposed by American Airlines. The porters at CLE REFUSED to help me to the gate since my personal wheelchair did not have the leg pieces on it (I do not need them). So we got to the gate ourselves.

The flight we were booked on was "down thirty steps/across the tarmac/and up ten steps". The check-in woman was nice enough to change us to a later flight that had a jetway. However, there was not enough room between the rows for my prostatic leg and forget using the bathroom. We arrived in Chicago O'Hare late and raced to the exact opposite end of the airport to find that they had no record of us and no room for us so we were bumped to an even later flight.

When we finally arrived in Seattle, (after waiting over an hour at the transportation area) we were told that the transportation voucher was useless since they did not have ANY handicapped accessible vehicles. We had to get a cab. We finally arrived at the hotel nine hours after we were due.

The manager on duty was snippy and let us know that no handicapped accessible rooms were available and that we should have let them know when WE made the reservations. She would however give us a room without an accessible bathroom with one queen bed and a pull out couch (for over $300 a night). which we refused. Finally an hour and a half later, we were put in adjoining rooms and informed that she was "doing us a favor".

The next morning we contacted the cruise line to find out that they did not have an accessible bus to take us to the port. Everyone ended up waiting in the lobby while they found one. The bus driver did not know how to use the wheelchair lift and we were stuck in the very back of the bus with a broken and smelly toilet.

We finally arrived at the port and one cruise line employee pushed my chair about tem feel and said, "you have it from here" and walked away. We were checked in and met Butu (a porter) who ended up being a God send. He was the most helpful person we met on the ship. Helped me navigate the gang ways that were so steep there was NO WAY anyone besides a mountain goat could have navigated in a wheelchair.

We went to our stateroom and there was a note on the bed letting me know that if I needed any help with my "FOOD ALLERGIES" that I should contact the special office.

I do not now, nor have ever had food allergies, I have one leg. My niece and I had spent months doing research on Alaska and on the available excursions, I paid for everything in advance.. NONE of the excursions listed on the web site as accessible actually were. There was no transportation available. We went to the excursion desk and the person working there let us know that they would gladly refund MY money, but my niece would have to go on them alone. Right, I wanted to stay on the ship the entire time and she wanted to sightsee alone!

The special needs officer was able to get us ADA transportation, unfortunately NONE of the bus drivers knew how to use the lifts for the wheelchair causing delays and hurt feelings among the other passengers. She tried her best, but the entire cruise was a bust. A way overpriced bust.

There is one handicapped restroom on each floor and every single time in ten days I went to use it, they were locked. The special needs officer would have them unlocked and when the next cleaning crew came by they locked them again. So, no matter where we were on the ship, I had to go all the way back to our stateroom to use the bathroom.

A stateroom that was supposed t to be accessible, it was if you only wanted to go inside the door and turn into the bathroom. The rest of the room (we paid for the balcony room to avoid this) was too small. Never did get to see the balcony!

I will say that we were extremely glad that we paid for the upgraded dining package. The main buffet was not accessible. There were a couple of tables designated for handicapped only, but no one to enforce the rule so they were always taken by "able bodied people". A couple of crew members offered to help me at the buffet as the tables were all higher than I could see, unfortunately most had thick accents and I had no idea what was on the buffets.

We decided to relax and see the shows only there is only a small area that fit one wheelchair and three seats across the aisle that were designated for handicapped seating (again mostly ignored) so my niece and I could not sit together for most of the shows. We were able to get the seats once, but they are on the ONLY aisle that goes from one side of the auditorium to the other. We were repeatedly trampled by rude guests who felt the need to trample on our/her feet and my one foot. One woman even tried to take my wheelchair for her own.

I know this is a long review, it is not nearly half of what we experienced. When we finally got home, I wrote to Norwegian Cruise Lines and after many emails and informing them that I was contacting the Federal Government about their lack of adherence to the ADA, I finally received a response. Offering me about $700 that could only be used on another cruise. Nothing for my niece since she was not handicapped, her "once in a lifetime" vacation was ruined by them also. Why would I ever go on another cruise with them after the almost $10.000 fiasco that was our trip to Alaska???
Karen Mavor’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Norwegian Jewel price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Cabin Review

Cabin
Way too small for a wheelchair! I never got to see the balcony as there was furniture in the way and no where to move it to.
  Norwegian Jewel Deck Plans