Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
talltree

Royal Caribbean does not care about disabled people

Recommended Posts

It is unfortunate that I have to again complain about the way elderly handicap persons are treated on Royal Caribbean ships. Today we are sailing on the Adventure of the Seas and encountered a totally unorganized and uncaring handicap station while we waited to board the ship. We arrived at 12:18pm and it took exactly one hour for someone to arrive to take my 83 year old father on the ship. There were probably six to eight other people waiting for someone to assist them. After waiting outside in the hot humid weather of San Juan, I approached the Pier Coordinator--Virginia Davilla about the delay and was told twice that if you are tired waiting, you are welcome to walk on board. Uh, I am with my 83 year old disabled father and this is the response that I get from the Pier Coordinator--just walk onboard. If he could walk onboard do you think we would be sitting in the heat for an hour? Come on--what ever happened to showing compassion to elderly handicap people. I am totally disgusted with the treatment we received today.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It is unfortunate that I have to again complain about the way elderly handicap persons are treated on Royal Caribbean ships. Today we are sailing on the Adventure of the Seas and encountered a totally unorganized and uncaring handicap station while we waited to board the ship. We arrived at 12:18pm and it took exactly one hour for someone to arrive to take my 83 year old father on the ship. There were probably six to eight other people waiting for someone to assist them. After waiting outside in the hot humid weather of San Juan, I approached the Pier Coordinator--Virginia Davilla about the delay and was told twice that if you are tired waiting, you are welcome to walk on board. Uh, I am with my 83 year old disabled father and this is the response that I get from the Pier Coordinator--just walk onboard. If he could walk onboard do you think we would be sitting in the heat for an hour? Come on--what ever happened to showing compassion to elderly handicap people. I am totally disgusted with the treatment we received today.

 

Sounds like a bad situation but that is hardly an experience that can be generalized to “the entire company doesn’t care about handicap people.” Maybe they had more than normal or maybe that local crew is just incompetent.

 

My mom is handicap and I have witnessed over and over again how they bend over backwards to accommodate her. Sorry for your situation but it isn’t a company wide thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It is unfortunate that I have to again complain about the way elderly handicap persons are treated on Royal Caribbean ships. Today we are sailing on the Adventure of the Seas and encountered a totally unorganized and uncaring handicap station while we waited to board the ship. We arrived at 12:18pm and it took exactly one hour for someone to arrive to take my 83 year old father on the ship. There were probably six to eight other people waiting for someone to assist them. After waiting outside in the hot humid weather of San Juan, I approached the Pier Coordinator--Virginia Davilla about the delay and was told twice that if you are tired waiting, you are welcome to walk on board. Uh, I am with my 83 year old disabled father and this is the response that I get from the Pier Coordinator--just walk onboard. If he could walk onboard do you think we would be sitting in the heat for an hour? Come on--what ever happened to showing compassion to elderly handicap people. I am totally disgusted with the treatment we received today.

Your post doesn't state it but I assume you and your father were waiting for "wheelchair assistance". Was you father not in a wheelchair when he got to the port? Maybe knowing his situation, a little pre-planning, ie having your own wheelchair/walker/scooter or having one of the many rental companies have one waiting for you, would have prevented this situation. Sorry that you had to wait and hope that you and your father enjoy the cruise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know there are sometimes delays since there are only a few wheelchairs on board with “pushers”. Does your handicapped elderly father not have his own wheelchair?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sounds like a bad situation but that is hardly an experience that can be generalized to “the entire company doesn’t care about handicap people.” Maybe they had more than normal or maybe that local crew is just incompetent.

 

My mom is handicap and I have witnessed over and over again how they bend over backwards to accommodate her. Sorry for your situation but it isn’t a company wide thing.

Agree, Royal goes above and beyond for Handicapped people, But OP situation, passenger walks to port but wants to be wheeled onboard, it's first come first served. Wait might happen, unless you bring your own wheelchair... OP a heads up. When getting off same situation, there will probably be a wait if you need wheelchair assistance getting off the ship. Just depends how many need this service. Again show up early to get off in wheelchair waiting area, 1st come 1st served. Been cruising Royal for 30+ yrs, this is nothing new. I do Repo cruises every yr, at times many as 25-30 want wheelchair assistance using Royal's limited chairs, can take 1-1 1/2 hrs to get them all off...

Edited by ONECRUISER

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My wife is a stroke survivor and in a wheel chair. We have never had a problem. If your father was in wheel chair, could you have pushed him on board yourself?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My wife needed wheel chair assistance last year to board Harmony. She does not have her own chair. She cannot stand for long periods or walk very far.We inquired at special needs as to what to do.She was instructed to go to a section outside and there would be someone to help. After a very short wait someone arrived to wheel her through the different stages. We actually got through check in and onto the ship before our son and his family who were staying in a Star class suite and was escorted on by their Genie. Obviously , our experience was far better than yours. Maybe just a bad day or extremely busy for them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know how to respond without making assumptions because your post doesn't give a lot of details about your father's condition when you arrived. It would have helped to know if your father was in a wheelchair and your requested assistance getting him onboard or if he was not in a wheelchair and you requested a wheelchair and assistance for boarding. Where you able to assist in getting him onboard or did you need RC staff to help? We traveled with my elderly, disabled parents on several cruises with RC and found the staff to be extremely accomodating and helpful. In fact, we've sent many e-mails to RC over the years complimenting the staff on their kindness to my parents. Over the years, we've carried everything from canes to walkers to wheelchairs between the two of them. We've always carried our own wheelchair so that we had a guarantee that one would be available. Whenever possible, we push the wheelchair ourselves. We realize that if we require someone from RC staff to assist us in getting him up the steep ramp, we will wait until they have staff available because embarkation is busy and we don't expect them to be immediately available to the number of people waiting on assistance. I'm extremely grateful for any assistance since it's not always provided when we take a land-based vacation. We do try to anticipate what we need as far as equipment and assistance and try to have patience waiting because having someone with a disability doesn't mean you get to be boarded ahead of everyone, it just means they will assist while continuing to process the other passengers boarding.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No personal experience boarding in San Juan, but Ports Canaveral and Everglades have been fantastic for us! I notify the Special Access Department, the Concierge, and the Port Authority Agents of our needs ahead of time and so far all has been well. I agree with statements made by previous posters, about being prepared and letting those people know ahead of time so they can anticipate your needs. Don't let this experience sour you on Royal Caribbean overall. I think they do a terrific job for the special needs community. Hopefully they will change your mind on the next sailing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had an incident at Miami Port a few years back - I have Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis, anyone with MS has ZERO heat tolerance. After about 40 mins in the heat, we asked a worker if we could go inside and they rudely stated that I had to wait just like everyone else (i am also in a wheelchair) cause people complained if we got special treatment, I again stated I did not need to board I just needed out of the heat...and again was refused. About 5 mins later we asked another worker -- and seconds later I was whisked inside.

 

I have 12 cruises under my belt and that was the one and only time I have ever had an issue. Sometimes people just have a bad day, but in general I think they are very compassionate and caring.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It would work much better if there was a dispatcher to assist when those who need and have filed requests with Special Needs. We have found as with many other areas the land and the ship fail to communicate. Have had issues at Port Everglades trying to follow the instructions Special Needs gave me. Port Tampa does not make us stand in line and they have a desk where you check in and then sit and wait for the ship crew to come with the wheelchair to take you onto the ship. At Port Canaveral we walked to the Diamond/Sutie check in station and they summoned the wheelchairs for us.

 

I can see where there could have been confusion and concern in San Juan. I was under the impression they are still trying to recover from their hurricane disaster. Hope OP contacts Guest Services and makes proper arrangements to disembark. We arrived earlier than instructed at Port Canaveral in January and still had quite a wail. They were taking cruisers off by their luggage tag numbers and we had a number 1 and still had a wait. Patience is quite important but they do aim to please (in my humble opinion).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It would work much better if there was a dispatcher to assist when those who need and have filed requests with Special Needs. We have found as with many other areas the land and the ship fail to communicate.

 

^^^This, absolutely.

 

I get the feeling that OP was venting because after flying for who knows how long and being made to stand outside in the heat and having an employee make a flippant comment AND feeling responsible for her father's comfort and safety, she was ready to explode. I don't blame her. I would feel the same way.

 

My experience has been quite the opposite. There have been some port staff that have been more interested in function than consideration ("Let's keep this line moving, people!") but that is an important distinction: Most of the port personnel are not Royal Caribbean employees but rather contracted staff. That's no excuse for poor treatment, but it doesn't warrant the blanket statement that the company doesn't care about handicapped passengers.

 

I bet that after you and your dad cool off and relax you'll see just how considerate and caring the shipboard staff can be and you'll really enjoy your sailing.

 

Good luck!

.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Had a similar wait in San Juan to get a wheelchair for my father to board the Jewel of the Seas. He can walk short distances and we don't travel with a wheelchair. He used an airport wheelchair to get from the plane to the cab. At the pier we sat outside a long time with several other people waiting for an available wheelchair and someone to push it. At the time boarding was on deck 4 and the chair had to be pushed up ramps so a lot of people can't manage this, and they don't have wheelchairs sitting around for you to use on your own anyway. (These days boarding is on deck 1 probably due to hurricane damage to the ramps.)

 

We rented a scooter which was waiting for him in his cabin. Once the wheelchair arrived they pushed him inside through security and to the check-in desk, and then on-board to his room.

 

I don't think the long wait occurred because Royal Caribbean does not care, I think it happened because they are unorganized about wheelchair assistance at the San Juan port.

 

I hope you don't let your outrage about the long wait ruin the rest of your trip. Things happen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rent your own darn wheelchair or scooter!!! How do you blame a cruise line because you are too cheap to take care of your father? PS. I am handicapped.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
OP a heads up. When getting off same situation, there will probably be a wait if you need wheelchair assistance getting off the ship. Just depends how many need this service. Again show up early to get off in wheelchair waiting area, 1st come 1st served.

 

This is true, you'll have to wait for wheelchair assistance to get off the ship. The good thing is after you have your suitcases they will wheel you to the front of the line to go through customs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Rent your own darn wheelchair or scooter!!! How do you blame a cruise line because you are too cheap to take care of your father? PS. I am handicapped.

 

Oh no! My sincerest sympathies!

 

Was your empathy surgically removed or did it occur naturally?

.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't have MS OR a disability, but the heat/humidity in SJ nearly made me pass out during our last trip there! (of course, we had walked all over prior to my "mini" heat stroke!!!) I feel for your dad. I think this must have been a "one off" glitch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OP, I'm sorry you had a bad experience, and understand that you must have been worried and frustrated. That said, I think the blanket statement "Royal Caribbean does not care about disabled people" is a bit over the top. I run annual cruises for people with disabilities, and RCCL has been AMAZING to work with! They do everything in their power to make the entire cruise process as easy as possible for my entire group.

 

As others have asked, did he have a wheelchair or walker with him? Without some sort of visible sign, many port workers (and people in general) assume a person is able bodied. While frustrating, this has happened to me a LOT! Now that I travel with my own personal scooter, I am pretty much immediately waived to a handicapped line where there is no waiting.

 

Whenever I travel, I know it's up to me to:

 

 

  • Contact the special needs department to notify them of my disability and request any special equipment or assistance in advance.
  • Make sure I have anything I might need to make the waiting process bearable.
  • Convey any immediate needs to those working at the port. If the first person won't listen, I find a second and a third. If that doesn't work, I would ask to speak to a Special Needs Ombudsman.

I know that learning to travel with a disability or disabled person can feel like you've been thrown into the deep end of the pool. In the future, I highly recommend working with a travel agent who specializes in disabilities. Because they do this every day, they will have the answers to the questions you didn't even know to ask, and will think of all of the things that you have not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Rent your own darn wheelchair or scooter!!! How do you blame a cruise line because you are too cheap to take care of your father? PS. I am handicapped.

Why mention your handicap? It doesn’t make your statement any more acceptable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Oh no! My sincerest sympathies!

 

Was your empathy surgically removed or did it occur naturally?

.

 

:')

 

OP, sorry this happened - I would like to think it was a one off, as I do not think the whole company does not care about our disabled citizens.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think some posters here should request that the post they made be removed before the site does this with a warning. Seems to me that personal attacks are happen here which is not allowed under the terms of use. No reason for personal attacks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It is unfortunate that I have to again complain about the way elderly handicap persons are treated on Royal Caribbean ships. Today we are sailing on the Adventure of the Seas and encountered a totally unorganized and uncaring handicap station while we waited to board the ship. We arrived at 12:18pm and it took exactly one hour for someone to arrive to take my 83 year old father on the ship. There were probably six to eight other people waiting for someone to assist them. After waiting outside in the hot humid weather of San Juan, I approached the Pier Coordinator--Virginia Davilla about the delay and was told twice that if you are tired waiting, you are welcome to walk on board. Uh, I am with my 83 year old disabled father and this is the response that I get from the Pier Coordinator--just walk onboard. If he could walk onboard do you think we would be sitting in the heat for an hour? Come on--what ever happened to showing compassion to elderly handicap people. I am totally disgusted with the treatment we received today.

 

Many people have disabilties that are termed "invisible" so I seriously question that there were only 6-8 people waiting for assistance. Cruise RCCL regularly and can tell you there are generally no less than 50 people waiting for wheelchair assistance. Wheelchair assistance is on a first come first served basis. Upon arrival at the port once you approach an RCCL rep your name is placed on a list and you will be taken through check-in as well as boarding in the order you're on the list. There are a limited number of wheelchairs as well as attendants so it's not unusual

that this process can take an hour or longer. The reverse is true when disembarking.

 

When traveling with a disability if you don't want to have to wait wheelchair assistance from the cruise ship than you need to plan to bring your own wheelchair or mobility scooter. If you don't want to get caught up in the mad rush to board than it's always recommended that you arrive after boarding has begun. Wheelchair assistance goes much faster when arriving at port 1 or 1.5 hours after boarding begins.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually, I don't think it is cruise line employees that assist people with moving from outside the terminal through the different stages. Cruise line employees take over when the person is about to actually get on the ship. This is how my wife was handled last year at Fort Lauderdale.

This is like the baggage handlers. They are not cruise line employees.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My wife needed to use a wheel chair on our last cruise on the Horizon this past Nov., the crew did an outstanding job when ever she needed assistance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • Q&A: Cruise Insurance w/ Steve Dasseos of the TripInsuranceStore.com June 2020
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...