Original itinerary was 6-Nights Vancouver-Seattle-Victoria-at sea-San Francisco-at sea-Los Angeles, but we ended up staying in Vancouver for two nights, two days in Victoria, then at sea skipping Seattle-San Francisco-at sea-Los Angeles. If we had known we couldn't even board the ship until after 7:00 pm on the embarkation, and would be staying in Vancouver for two nights, we could have saved three nights pre-boarding hotel bookings trying to adjust our flight for afternoon boarding.
Embarkation at Vancouver Terminal went relatively smooth this time, compare to the last two times, because we didn't even get there until 8:30 pm, and there were no other ships boarding at the same time. First we were told to stand in a very long winding line in the terminal hallway, but when we asked for wheelchair assistance, we were told to go to wheelchair check-in line inside the door, which was very short. From there, check-in and boarding went very quickly and smoothly.
We were traveling with 97-year old mother on wheelchair, but I also needed wheelchair assistance to board, because of my spinal stenosis-intermittent coasting problem. I can push mother on wheelchair on flat ground for a short distance eg., getting around the ship, but not on slopes. Stooped posture holding on to wheelchair, walker, shopping cart etc., lessens the pressure on my spine and makes easier for me to walk. All three of us have Latitude Platinum status, but that doesn't seem to help much getting extra help at check in no matter where we are.
If you are traveling on a wheelchair wider than 22”-23”, and want to access the cabin sitting in your chair, do not accept booking in Portside cabins #5134, #5132, and Starboard #5735 on Bliss and ships with the same deck plans. The post in front of the cabin door prevents wheelchair access, and your chair/scooter will not go through the doorway to start with.
Port side Mid-ship Oceanview with Large Picture Window cabin #5134 on Bliss was close to the elevators and convenient that way. However it was much smaller than the cabins on older ships like Star, Sun or Jewel, and the cabin door width does not allow wheelchair access like the ones on previously mentioned ships. Closet is much smaller, and shelves and storage nooks are fewer and narrow, not as convenient and useful. There was no desk/table/sitting area/room to have a simple room service breakfast like on older ships.
On the other hand, small bedside reading light and double electrical/USB outlet right at the headboard wall were much appreciated improvement and convenience. Shower stall looks brighter and roomy with clear panels. However, they still do not have showerchairs that small enough to fit into the shower. We borrowed a small balcony table, again, instead of a showerchair.
When we booked we were told Handicap cabins were no longer available in our cabin category, but the assigned port side cabin #5134 was accessible with wheelchair. When we boarded we found out that #5134 was not only accessible with wheelchair but also there was a large post right in front of our cabin door and in between our neighbor's cabin# 5132, which made it impossible to push the chair close to the door. See attached photo.
We had to park the chair outside the post in the hallway to get in and out the chair. It was not only inconvenient, because our 97-year old mother had to get out of the chair every time we were getting in and out of the cabin, we held up the traffic in the hallway, because the post inhibited to use neither wheelchair nor walker, and fellow passengers had to wait until mother moved away in snail pace and we could remove the wheelchair from the hallway. The second time we held up our neighbors in cabin #5132 at the post, and we made our apology, the wife responded, "It's not your fault. They never should have put you folks in that cabin."
I explained the situation and filed a complaint at the Guest Service Desk right away, and asked the young man to find us another cabin accessible with wheelchair as guaranteed. He said he filed a report and promised that we would hear from the management that night via phone or letter. No call, no letter the first night.
Next day, I contacted the desk and went through the whole drill all over again. No call, no letter, again. Nada, another day.
Meanwhile, I found out from our cabin steward that all the cabin doors were the same width, except for the Handicap cabins and Heaven suites. Why wasn't I told that when I filed the complaint and requested to move us to another cabin, or when we booked the cabin to start with?
To make the long story short, we never heard back from the Guest Services Manager during the entire 6-night cruise. On the last night I wrote a note of complaint for not even being acknowledged for 6 days and dropped it in the "Dear XXX" box, but never heard from them.
I think it is rude, and must say it is humiliating to be totally ignored by Guest Services Management about a complaint filed this way--no acknowledgement, no explanation, no apology.