This was our 7th cruise, previously cruising with P&O & Thomson's. My friend is wheelchair bound & we used a manual wheelchair. I will try & write this mainly from her perspective as a disabled cruiser. Embarkation was ... Read More
This was our 7th cruise, previously cruising with P&O & Thomson's. My friend is wheelchair bound & we used a manual wheelchair. I will try & write this mainly from her perspective as a disabled cruiser. Embarkation was very easy, although I do now wish I'd accepted the offer of help pushing her w/chair as the ramp to the ship was quite steep. That was my choice. We had to wait until 1.30pm before cabins were ready to enter but that was no hardship as we were busy looking around the ship. Suitcases were left in the hallways, not always easy to get a w/chair past them and although 2 of the cases were outside our cabin I had to go searching for the 3rd. I was not alone, a number of guests had to search for their cases.
We had an accessible inside cabin on the 9th deck, very roomy although we did need to ask for more clothes hangers! Moving around the ship was very easy, flooring allowed easy pushing & there were more than enough lifts so that we rarely had to wait for one.
Disappointed with the shops on the Royal Promenade which we found to be small and pricey. Remember the prices are all in $ so we kept having to work out the sterling equivalent. On there is also the Two Poets Pub (always busy in evening) and the Café (also busy) which serves snacks 24hrs a day. We used to go there around 5.00pm for a coffee and watched the world go by (well passengers).
Entertainment was fine in the evening, we went to a few nights in the Theatre expecting not much and ended up really enjoying ourselves! ( we did get there 45 minutes before shows to ensure seating for myself next to the w/chair). There was also the Start Lounge with alternative entertainment such a quizzes and music and a number of other smaller venues with music. We were disappointed with the day activities , especially when at sea as you either had to be active( rock climbing wall, flowrider etc) or interested in the Spas pricey offers. We spent a lot of time walking around the ship, 30 minutes at a quiz, watched the people on the flow rider etc....nothing that kept us interested apart from people watching! LOL
Drinks were very expensive, especially as they add a further 18% surcharge even if you have already paid tips. We usually only have a couple of drinks so a package was not worth it.
We normally dined in the Windjammer as my friend prefers self service rather than being waited on. The maitre'd always helped us to find a table, although in the morning this was usually in the Italian restaurant which meant a fair amount of walking for me to get the food! Food was average, nothing to write home about and sometimes not as hot as we would have liked. We did not go to any of the speciality restaurants as there was an extra charge of around £25 each and did not use the free Sapphire restaurant due to my friends preference.
Disembarkation at ports was very easy with low gangways and onsite assistance. No waiting around at all, very impressed. Ports on this cruise (Oct 1-15) mainly had long promenades to walk down, w/chair accessible shuttle buses were limited. Only a couple of tours we could have gone on but choose not to deciding in Lisbon to get a taxi to sightsee. We spent over 3 hrs driving around the city with Paulo, to places a coach could not have got too for 70 euros in total. He insisted on getting out with us and pushed the chair which was a welcome break for me and meant that we saw far more than either of us could have imagined.
Southampton disembarkation...a mess for wheelchair users and people needing assistance. We were told to wait in the Star Lounge 15 minutes before our disembarkation time, and found it standing room only! In other words it was packed by people who had been waiting, for some almost an hour. There was no one in charge, passengers were arriving and as soon as a crew member arrived was grabbed to help by the nearest person even if they had only just arrived themselves. A better system needs to be put in place. I chose after 15 minutes wait and only seeing one crew member to disembark myself, which wasn't easy once we got to the suitcases lounge as I needed to push both the chair and them but somehow did manage. Royal Caribbean please look into this, even I could arrange a better system and not involving more staff! Read Less