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cwatts15

San Pedro port disaster boarding NCL Bliss

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We just recently boarded the NCL Bliss in San Pedro 4/14 and it by far is the worst port I have ever boarded a cruise ship at? Please beware, you will be waiting a long time. They are not prepared for the amount of passengers the Bliss has? We had  2 handicapped people with us and could not find a wheelchair for them when got off the airport transfer. Little help. No chairs to even rest at? At one point, we had to lower our friend to the ground so he could rest because or no benches, chairs, anything. Finally got one W/c, they couldn’t get us 2. They took us to a special assistance line that passed the lines that others had to wait hours to get through. The lines were so long that they went outside, weaved back & forth in a tent, and then extended outside in sun. I was so thankful we were able to go to a special line and bypass the long lines. Everything appeared to be in utter chaos. As we neared the front of line I saw a row of unused w/c’s. I went to get one for my mother, but was quickly yelled at and told I wasn’t allowed to push one. But no one was using them!! Only ship personnel could use them, but hardly anyone was available. After our two handicapped people got registered, my husband and myself had to register but couldn’t wouldn’t wait us. The assistant took off and told us to catch up on the ship. Like where? The biggest ship and they were taking the 2 handicap people on board, drop them off, separate us and we had there canes and had no idea where to go. I have never seen such a mess, for passengers trying to get on board. This is not a handicap friendly port. We talked to many other people including other handicap passengers and they voiced same concerns.

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I am so sorry that this happened to you and your traveling companions. 

 

Not that this excuses your unfortunate experience, but sometimes it is just a matter of timing (luck) of the arrival of the number passengers who need wheelchair assistance vs the number of pier staff available to transport those passengers.  Often times the embarking port will have just 8 staff members assigned to transport passengers needing wheelchairs.  There could be upwards of 6500 passengers arriving to embark two ships and only 8 wheelchairs available.  Staff doesn't know when folks who formally requested assistance will arrive, and then there are those passengers who didn't think they would need help, but then family members look at the walking distance to the ship and then request help. 

 

The job of a staff member who is transporting a passenger in a wheelchair is to get them safely and efficiently through the check-in procedure.   While they can bypass the long lines, there are still wait times in the ADA/Handicap lines.  Security screening still takes times.  Even with the ability to bypass all the longest lines, each wheelchair transport probably takes a minimum of 15 minutes to 30 minutes at the peak times.

 

So while the staff member is waiting with their wheelchair passenger, unknown to them is there are 2, 3, 4 newly arrived passengers waiting for wheelchair assistance in the drop off area.  At least in Seattle once the passengers finish their check-in, they literally switch into the ships' wheelchair and then the ship staff transports the passenger on to the ship and the pier staff member quickly heads back out to assist the next waiting passenger.

 

It's not a perfect system.  I think if you had been at Pier 91 in Seattle, you would have been at least allowed to check-in with your relatives in the ADA check-in line (only because it was a small group), and that way you all could have boarded the ship together.

 

Again, so sorry that you had this experience.  I hope the rest of your cruise went well.

 

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Posted (edited)

If you don't know, the ship and the Los Angeles cruise center are totally separate from each other. The land operation is staffed by the cruise line and have no connection with the ship and the building is owned by the city. The wheel chairs are owned by the cruise center and used only to get pax on board. I do not know who is/is not union member. These two facts lend to believe you as a pax do not touch them.

We have used this port about 7 times and have never had to wait more than ten minutes for check in. We can recall four locations where there are benches. 

Sounds like there was a delay in opening check-in which caused a domino effect for all the pax. Just saying the cruise center is a building with some wheel chairs for use by authorized personnel. The "cruise center" had nothing to do with your embarkation issues. Complain to the cruise line YOU used.

Edited by jlp20

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Posted (edited)

Sounds like a First World inconvenience.  Certainly not a disaster. 

 

I hate to be so blunt, but the cruise community is overly obsessed with First World problems.

Edited by quack2

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7 hours ago, quack2 said:

Sounds like a First World inconvenience.  Certainly not a disaster. 

 

I hate to be so blunt, but the cruise community is overly obsessed with First World problems

 

Blunt hmm, definitely a difference in Perception-One from someone who is just sitting behind a computer making whatever smug comments they want to, and the other from a partially paralyzed man who was there being told he would have to try and walk to check-in. His perception of fear from possibly falling, or from embarrassment as people stared and didn’t help as he finally went the ground. I don’t know what cruise center has benches everywhere as mentioned above. There was no benches, no chairs, no wheelchairs or assistance. The cruise center was not just a building but it had tents outside a joining the building with lines inside & outside with lots of people. 

 

I tried to get a luggage cart to put him on to take him in the line but it was quickly taken from us. Port authority told us to go into the tent for a wheelchair. He got up again to walk with assistance into tent, no wheelchairs. The security lady pointed to the long weaving line and said we would have to go through the line and wheelchairs are in the building. SERIOUS,

I took the securities stool from her. Sat him down and I finally got someone to go in building to get a wheelchair. The place was in chaos. 

 

I have been travelling with handicapp people on cruises since the late 80’s.

I can only compare it to going through customs at Heathrow and I will never fly that way again. I try to be over prepared when it comes to the persons health and safety. I have never had a problem with assistance. I have been on 33 cruises and have never seen what saw the other day.

I talked to the NCL because the port people blamed the cruise lines. Well the cruise line blamed the port people.

No winners here!

 

 

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I was in the two San Pedro terminals (92 & 93) in the last month and both had plenty of seating. When we left and arrived in San Pedro there were plenty of attendants with wheelchairs assisting those who needed them.

 

If your husband is as bad as you say, why didn't you have him in a wheelchair or scooter? It sounds like a lot of blame shifting to me.

 

 

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4 hours ago, cwatts15 said:

 

I took the securities stool from her. Sat him down and I finally got someone to go in building to get a wheelchair.....

The story changes again. You now say this happened outside the cruise center. As stated, the workers belong to the cruise line not the center. In all of our embarkations, only once have we seen cruise employee outside the building. She was holding the door open for arriving pax. By the way, Google street view shows multiple benches all over the place. Any perceived neglect on your part should be directed at the cruise line.

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On 4/18/2019 at 5:29 PM, cwatts15 said:

Blunt hmm, definitely a difference in Perception-One from someone who is just sitting behind a computer making whatever smug comments they want to, and the other from a partially paralyzed man who was there being told he would have to try and walk to check-in. His perception of fear from possibly falling, or from embarrassment as people stared and didn’t help as he finally went the ground. I don’t know what cruise center has benches everywhere as mentioned above. There was no benches, no chairs, no wheelchairs or assistance. The cruise center was not just a building but it had tents outside a joining the building with lines inside & outside with lots of people. 

 

I tried to get a luggage cart to put him on to take him in the line but it was quickly taken from us. Port authority told us to go into the tent for a wheelchair. He got up again to walk with assistance into tent, no wheelchairs. The security lady pointed to the long weaving line and said we would have to go through the line and wheelchairs are in the building. SERIOUS,

I took the securities stool from her. Sat him down and I finally got someone to go in building to get a wheelchair. The place was in chaos. 

 

I have been travelling with handicapp people on cruises since the late 80’s.

I can only compare it to going through customs at Heathrow and I will never fly that way again. I try to be over prepared when it comes to the persons health and safety. I have never had a problem with assistance. I have been on 33 cruises and have never seen what saw the other day.

I talked to the NCL because the port people blamed the cruise lines. Well the cruise line blamed the port people.

No winners here!

 

 

I am so sorry that you had these problems.  I can relate because we had issues disembarking someone in a wheelchair in San Diego.  I don’t think anyone can truly understand unless they have been in your shoes.  

 

I’m also sorry that instead of empathizing with you some posters here feel the need to scold you or protect the cruise line/port.  Cruise Critic used to be a place to share stories and experience.  Lately, all I see are attacks and one-upmanship.  I hope everyone can understand that you had a terrible, scary few hours and that this should not happen to anyone.  Cruising should be for everyone, not just those lucky, able-bodied ones.

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5 hours ago, CynCyn said:

 Cruising should be for everyone, not just those lucky, able-bodied ones.

 

That is what scooters and wheelchairs are for.

 

Or even a walker like my mother uses, with a built in seat so she can sit when she needs to.

 

The OP assumed zero personal responsibility, everything was someone's else's fault and based on my personal experience in the same location, not accurate.

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9 hours ago, scottca075 said:

 

That is what scooters and wheelchairs are for.

 

Or even a walker like my mother uses, with a built in seat so she can sit when she needs to.

 

The OP assumed zero personal responsibility, everything was someone's else's fault and based on my personal experience in the same location, not accurate.

Again, you prove my point about the nature of this board in this day and age.  The OP did not tell us if any of their assistive devices were taken to the ship from the airport transfer or what arrangements were made with the ship.  

 

I am am glad that your experiences at this port were different but unless you were there on the same day and at the same time you cannot speak to the OP’s experience. You don’t know what ‘personal responsibility’ measures the OP and her companions took but I guess it is much easier for your ego and your perception of this cruise terminal to flame the OP instead of empathizing.

 

You could have said, “We use a small walker for my mother in these situations.  She can sit when needed on the built in seat.  It is a great help with long lines and relatively inexpensive.” You would have helped OP without passing judgement from behind the screen.

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42 minutes ago, CynCyn said:

Again, you prove my point about the nature of this board in this day and age.

 

Did her post prove your point about the nature of this board in this day and age? Do your responses prove your point about the nature of this board in this day and age?

 

42 minutes ago, CynCyn said:

 

 The OP did not tell us if any of their assistive devices were taken to the ship from the airport transfer or what arrangements were made with the ship.  

 

Since they were concerned there was "no place to sit", and complained that "there weren't any wheelchairs", clearly they did not bring their own wheelchair or scooter.

 

42 minutes ago, CynCyn said:

I am am glad that your experiences at this port were different but unless you were there on the same day and at the same time you cannot speak to the OP’s experience.

 

I was there 9 days earlier, I don't think the Port of LA rushed in and removed all the chairs and benches in that time. When was the last time you sailed out of San Pedro?

 

42 minutes ago, CynCyn said:

You could have said, “We use a small walker for my mother in these situations.  She can sit when needed on the built in seat.  It is a great help with long lines and relatively inexpensive.” You would have helped OP without passing judgement from behind the screen.

 

The OP passed judgment and was very harsh from behind her own screen. Had she had a different tone and approach and accepted some responsibility for her own unpreparedness, she might have gotten more sympathetic responses. I wasn't the only one bothered by her approach and tone.

 

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Posted (edited)

Traveling with an individual who may need additional assistance can be very stressful.  I can understand the OP's feeling of helplessness when faced with her traveling companion's physical limitations and the apparent lack of obvious or immediate  help/assistance at the drop off area of the pier.  The OP states that at one point her traveling companion actually had to sit on the ground.  My guess is that this was out of the ordinary for this person and may have been a result of a very warm day, or dehydration - no wonder the OP was desperately looking looking for wheelchair assistance, then trying to use a luggage cart, then finally commandeering a security person's stool - anything to help her traveling companion.  The OP was advocating for her traveling companion as best she could under the circumstances.

 

I think if we re-frame this one situation as 'one off', a mini emergency situation, made worst by large crowds, the OP's lack of familiarity with the pier, and the unfortunate delay of immediate wheelchair assistance, maybe we can understand the OP's frantic reaction.  That being said, the OP does not mention any other negative experiences once they all boarded the ship, and hopefully their disembarkation was unremarkable. 

 

So I think the process did end up working, although maybe not the way the traveling group would have preferred, but it did work.

Edited by Ferry_Watcher
spelling error

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2 hours ago, scottca075 said:

 

Did her post prove your point about the nature of this board in this day and age? Do your responses prove your point about the nature of this board in this day and age?

 

 

Since they were concerned there was "no place to sit", and complained that "there weren't any wheelchairs", clearly they did not bring their own wheelchair or scooter.

 

 

I was there 9 days earlier, I don't think the Port of LA rushed in and removed all the chairs and benches in that time. When was the last time you sailed out of San Pedro?

 

 

The OP passed judgment and was very harsh from behind her own screen. Had she had a different tone and approach and accepted some responsibility for her own unpreparedness, she might have gotten more sympathetic responses. I wasn't the only one bothered by her approach and tone.

 

I hope you feel better now.....

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8 hours ago, CynCyn said:

I hope you feel better now.....

 

Again, you prove my point about the nature of this board in this day and age.

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1 hour ago, scottca075 said:

 

Again, you prove my point about the nature of this board in this day and age.

I think that was my point.  You sit behind a screen and pass juspdgement about personal responsibility when all the OP wanted was empathy.  Once I said something, you went to great lengths to quote me in segments and respond to each item as my point of framing your responses in a more empathetic manner went right over your head. You just had to share that you had been there 9 days before and not had the same experience and that others felt the way you do.  Good for you. I hope 5he terminalmgives you a gold star for defending them.....

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