help from cruise staff on ship

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#1
30 Posts
Joined Sep 2010
You may all know this but just in case some don't: When I was searching for info on handicapped accessible cabins on HAL I found a post on another disability board from a man who was upset that the staff on a HAL ship refused to carry his wife in a wheelchair down the gangplank at ports.

When my travel agent contacted cruise lines (Princess & HAL) regarding having a friend of mine going on a cruise with a ventilator she was sent info on policies from Princess. I would imagine HAL is the same. It states clearly that a disabled cruiser cannot ask any crew for help either for personal care, getting in and out of wheelchairs. I think that also covers carrying a person in a wheelchair down a gangway. It would likely be a liability issue. When I went on a 3 day cruise with my friend who is in a power chair the gangways at the 2 stops were a little steep. But she managed-I didn't look-. Crew went ahead of her but did not touch the chair. Likely if we go on the Alaska cruise I'll tell her that she may not be able to get off at all ports if the tides were such that the gangway was too steep.
#2
2,798 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Good point.

But I believe I've seen crew staff carry empty wheelchairs up and down the gangway. The passenger has to be able to walk up and down the gangway unassisted.

Perhaps someone else can confirm this (or not) for me.
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#3
New Jersey
1,625 Posts
Joined Jul 2008
Last August I had a crew member push my daughter up a steep gangway in Alaska. She was getting off the ship as I was pushing my daughter up and offered to push her up for me.
#4
AB
255 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
Big difference between pushing and carrying. There are practical operational reasons for refusing to carry a person and their wheelchair. The chances of injury to either party or damage to the equipment goes up very quickly based on the total weight.

Pushing a chair, not so much.

I will assist pushing someone who is in a chair (if asked). Even with a team lift I will not carry someone and their chair ( life threatening emergency excepted)

Sent from my LG-D852 using Forums mobile app
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#5
Wyoming
845 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
The general rule seems to be that staff is not obligated to assist passengers on and off at ports, just at embark/disembark (and even there they will provide a wheelchair if necessary and push the person in it, not carry them). Consequently, you shouldn't count on assistance or get into a situation where the person is unable to get on/off with more than your assistance. If staff offer to help (and they regularly did at ports when we cruised on Oasis of the Seas), you can accept with a clear conscience.

I have never cruised HAL, but on one excursion on Oasis, I had to go down a couple of steps to get into a boat. I got myself down and the crew brought down my wheelchair. At the destination, I had to get myself up those steps and they brought the wheelchair for me.

I have read about some very strange expectations on the board here. The most outrageous was probably the man who booked a suite, expecting the butler to assist him with toileting and bathing!

That said, I found the staff exceptionally helpful on board. I couldn't pause to look at items on the buffet without a staffer instantly asking if they could get anything for me. The MDR waiters whisked my rented scooter away as soon as I was seated and whisked it back when we were done eating. Stores, bars, wherever I went someone was always asking if they could help me.
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Most of the members here are great! But when you get tired of incorrect information from unhelpful posters, the Ignore List is your friend!
Norwegian Pearl May 21, 2017 - Alaska
First cruise EVER on RCL Oasis of the Seas July 27, 2013 - Eastern Caribbean
#6
168 Posts
Joined Dec 2015
This is a topic I find interesting - I'm far from an experienced cruiser (two, two week cruises) - but both port intensive and I have never been permitted to get myself up/down gangways. Crew always insist on pushing me up or down - which is actually not to my preference, as being a regular chair user, I feel far safer being in control myself than trusting to someone else. On a wet, steep gangway, I will not put my hands in - and I tell the crew so - as for my safety and theirs, I want to know I've a way of stopping, or at least slowing myself if one of them slips. It hasn't happened to me, but I have seen very close calls with other passengers.

Even though they're pushing, and not physically lifting, I also cannot help wondering whether, particularly with larger passengers and/or heavier mobility devices, this practice would comply with oh&s under most western workplace rules.
#7
Maine
10,495 Posts
Joined Feb 2013
Originally posted by LokiPoki
This is a topic I find interesting - I'm far from an experienced cruiser (two, two week cruises) - but both port intensive and I have never been permitted to get myself up/down gangways. Crew always insist on pushing me up or down - which is actually not to my preference, as being a regular chair user, I feel far safer being in control myself than trusting to someone else. On a wet, steep gangway, I will not put my hands in - and I tell the crew so - as for my safety and theirs, I want to know I've a way of stopping, or at least slowing myself if one of them slips. It hasn't happened to me, but I have seen very close calls with other passengers.

Even though they're pushing, and not physically lifting, I also cannot help wondering whether, particularly with larger passengers and/or heavier mobility devices, this practice would comply with oh&s under most western workplace rules.
The maritime industry is a special example, because the only Health and Safety rules that apply are those of the flag state, and I don't really believe either Panama or the Bahamas have much in the way of workplace protections, from what I've seen working on these ships, and even then many countries exempt mariners from workplace protections because the workplace is not in the country and therefore not readily enforceable. It's all about liability in the end, and it's the passenger's liability, not the crew that counts. With larger mobility challenged passengers, they will use two crew per chair. Powered chairs and scooters frequently have difficulty getting up a gangway with a person onboard, and unfortunately the crew are not always knowledgeable enough to push a scooter up the gangway without damaging it.
#8
Wyoming
845 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
> I don't really believe either Panama or the Bahamas have much in the way of workplace protections

Bahamas for sure doesn't. I did a dolphin encounter and called them beforehand to see whether they were able to get a large, hefty woman into and out of the water. The person I spoke with assured me they did. Turned out they sat me in a chair that looked like it was made of PVC tubing and two employees lowered me and later lifted me out of the water, NOT using good body mechanics. (I'm an RN and I know how to lift people safely.) AFAIK neither employee was injured but I felt awful for them, and thought at the time they would never be allowed to do that in the U.S!
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Most of the members here are great! But when you get tired of incorrect information from unhelpful posters, the Ignore List is your friend!
Norwegian Pearl May 21, 2017 - Alaska
First cruise EVER on RCL Oasis of the Seas July 27, 2013 - Eastern Caribbean