Carnival Valor / Port Canaveral
Sailing 01/23/16 - 01/30/16
4G Interior Handicap Access.
Cabin # 8345
Spoke to: Stephanie / Carnival Customer Service 2/1/16 @ 11:45 am
This ship is very Handicap Unfriendly
My husband Francis is confined to a wheelchair. We have been on at least 18 cruises (Carnival / NCL / Costa /
R. Caribbean / Princess)This was our 3rd Carnival cruise. (2013 - Victory / 2014-Conquest)
* Both were bad cruises !We were offered a 2016 Premier Casino Cruise deal for the Valor
- We always book a “ Full Turn-Around” Handicap Wheelchair Cabin.50 % of the Valor guests were elderly, handicap w/ canes / walkers
/ wheelchairs / scooters.
This cruise was a complete nightmare from beginning to end !!
Special Needs: All guests with special needs are required to fill out and submit to the ship, their special needs form. This informs the ship
of what the needs are and how many guests require special services.
There were a lot, and this ship was not prepared or equipped to handle all of this.
Public Bathrooms: The Valor has only 3 public handicap bathrooms available on the ship. On decks 3, 5 and 9. They DO NOT have electronic automatic door openers. Their manual doors are large and heavy and one can not open them and wheel oneself inside at the same time. Someone has to help you in and out. Decks 3 & 5 bathrooms, their doors open into the other bathroom doors, blocking the entrance, so people inside can not get out while you are trying to get into the handicap room. Inside the bathroom, it is not set up properly, with the sink on 1 wall and the hand dryer on another wall.
Deck 9 bathroom is located in a narrow hallway off the buffet area. It
is so narrow that you can not wheel yourself down it, someone has to push you. You must now navigate a sharp 90 degree turn, try to open the door and then wheel yourself in. CAN NOT BE DONE !! We saw
the staff one night have to pick up a legless guest in his w-chair and
maneuver him inside the H.C. bathroom. If you were lucky enough to get to a bathroom, 90 % of the time it was occupied by a non-handicap guest who always replied, “ I like this one better ” Perhaps
additional signage instructing all guests to please “Save This Bathroom for Guests in Need “, would help.
Our Cabin # 8345: We booked a Interior Full Turn-Around Wheelchair
Handicap Accessible cabin through . our regular booking
partners. When we arrived on the ship, our cabin was NOT a full turn-around. There was only room for the wheelchair to get inside. The bathroom door was about 12 inches away from the wheelchair and one would not be able to open it and get inside to use the toilet or
shower. Even someone else would have a hard time maneuvering the chair to get the door open. My husband could never be left alone to be able to get himself in/out of the bathroom. When i went down to guest services to check on the classification of our room, i was told it was a “ Interior Modified Handicap Cabin “ We found out when we got home after the cruise, that an “Interior Full Turn-Around Wheelchair
Handicap Cabin” DID NOT EXIST on the Valor, only OceanView or Balcony cabins. (Who’s fault: or Carnival ???)
Our handicap cabin bathroom had it’s issues…..the sink drain was very slow, the shower head holder was broken and wouldn’t hold up the shower head in place, the bathroom constantly smelled like a rest
area out-house. You had to constantly spray w/air freshener all day long, regardless of whether you were using the toilet.
Mis-directed Mail/Gifts: For the 1st two days, we kept getting the wrong mail / gifts to our cabin that belonged to other different cabins.
When we called down to guest services, they seemed confused as to the issue. I hung up and went into the hallway to find our room steward….NO ONE THERE. I found other stewards, who said it wasn’t their area, so i went myself to find the cabin and deliver the item. The 2nd day, more items showed up (excursion tickets & invitations) I called guest services again to explain the situation and was told to “ You go deliver it “ Infuriated, i hung up and ran down personally to guest services to hand them in and tell them that i would not be their delivery person on this cruise and the next time something arrived, not for us, it was going into the trash.
Room Steward: The 1st two days of sailing (sat / sun), we never saw or met our room steward. I asked other stewards i found in the hallways and they said it wasn’t their area. I called down to guest services and they didn’t know either. Having been on about 18 cruises, we have always interacted with our room steward at least a dozen times a day. They are always asking how our day / excursions
went, how was dinner, etc….. (we always bring ‘thank you’ cards with us and give extra money at the beginning of the cruise, ensuring good service and at the end of the cruise for getting good service. This is on top of the prepaid gratuities required. Now, the room was made up in the morning and turned down at night……..but by whom ?????
We privately e-mailed John Heald / Carnival that day with a lot of these issues. At 6:30 pm, we opened our door to go down to dinner and “ Mustika “ our room steward was standing outside our room to greet us and introduce himself.
Elevators: Compounding our handicap issues were the elevator problems. The cabin we chose was conveniently off the elevator area.
However, the elevators were never available do to: (1) broken down and not working. (2) Shut down by staff using them to shuttle luggage to cabins and artwork up and down to the gallery. (3) young
kids all week playing on the elevators, pushing every button on them,
playing what they called, “ Titanic Elevator Operator “ , while their parents were in the casino. (4) Guests who could easily use the stairs to go up/down 1-2 decks, pushed past to cram on an elevator.
Speaking to other handicap guests in wheelchairs / scooters, the wait time was 30 - 45 minutes to get one. At one point, i encountered our cabin neighbor on her scooter, at the elevators. She had been waiting
45 minutes. When a door opened, i yelled to the guests inside, “ This
woman has been waiting 45 minutes for an elevator, which one of you is going to get off, use the stairs and let her get on ? “ Every one of them turned their heads, looked up at the ceiling, and the doors closed. Very sad !!!
Lincoln Dining Room: We’re anytime dining. Our 1st night here, we went in and gave our cabin # at the desk. Joycee (hostess), asked if my husband could walk. I said pretty much not. She directed me to a table 1/2 way down the length of the dining room. I said, “ How am i gonna get him there ? “ She replied, “ He’s just gonna have to walk the rest of the way “ I replied, “ Um…No ! “ She gave us a buzzer /
beeper, and told us to go outside to the bar / lounge area to wait for a better available table. I said, no problem…. We wheeled out and 10 minutes later, the beeper went off. We wheeled back into the dining room and Joycee directed us to the other side of the room near some windows. A large motor scooter was parked on one side of the aisle and people were sitting, eating at the tables on the other side, with their chairs sticking out into the aisle. I asked her how i was going to get through all of this to the table. Her reply was, “ He’s just gonna have to walk the rest of the way. “ My husband, infuriated, started yelling, ‘ Let’s go, let’s get outta here, this is ridiculous !! “ She became very frazzled and didn’t know what to do. I suggested that if the people eating would just move their chairs in a bit, i could squeeze him through. She asked the people, begging their forgiveness, apologizing profusely over & over again on bended knee, yet we got
NOTHING !!. We squeezed through, past a large column and were seated at a small table in a dark corner,( opposite wall of the service area). The next night, Joycee apologized for the night before and trying to redeem herself, she told us that the same table would be reserved for us very night. We thanked her and said that it was completely fine with us, as we wouldn’t have to worry every night about where they we going to put us. My husband told her,
“ Consistency is everything , thank you !! “
Food (Buffet / Diningroom): The first night in the dining room, after the table location issues with Joycee, the menu didn’t have anything appealing on it. I noticed though, the Southern Fried Chicken. ( i had it before on the Conquest and the Victory - it was awesome !!) So we both ordered that. When it arrived, both dishes looked good, chicken golden and crispy. We started to eat the 1st piece, it was so over-
cooked and dry, that it was hard to swallow. We cut into the 2nd piece, it was uncooked, raw and bloody !! We called Harlene (our
wonderful table steward) and showed her. She was shocked, grabbed both plates and ran them back to the kitchen to inform the chef. We
snapped a pic of it before she took it. After that , we just left.
In the buffet area / Lido Deck, i was always trying to find a tray, so i could put 2 plates on it and get both our breakfasts or lunches, as i
put my husband at a table right away. It’s just too crazy and crowded for him to be in the buffet line. Everyday, i was questioned by roaming staff or food servers as to why i had 2 plates. I had to keep telling everyone apparently that i had a husband in a wheelchair over at a table and i was getting both our foods at the same time. I don’t know why that was so difficult to understand and why they had to keep questioning me. At one point, a food server behind the counter looked at me and said, “ You have tray - You go to kitchen - You room service ! “ Apparently, he thought i was a Carnival room service attendant, even though i was dressed in a t-shirt, shorts and my sail & sign card hanging from my lanyard around my neck. Very strange !!
Another odd thing we noticed was that the Carnival staff was in line eating with the guests (camp carnival / officers / art auction / shop staff / etc…) We’ve never seen this on any other cruise line and it took us by surprise, though it didn’t bother us at all. We didn’t care. It was just odd.
In general, we thought the food in the dining room and buffet areas were very sub-par to mediocre at best. We skipped several meals,
like breakfast a few times and other times, didn’t eat the dinner we
ordered in the dining room. (molton lava cake was over-cooked - not gooey, pastas were thick,stuck together and gummy, raw fried chicken, prime rib had thick, brown gravy over it, even though it stated, “ AuJou”
Our wait staff in the Lincoln Diningroom was: Harlene, Tomi and
Ida. They were absolutely awesome !!! We took their picture for
our remembrance and also forwarded it to John Heald / Carnival.
Buffet Area Tables: There was a major issue regarding handicap tables available in the buffet area. Though the tables had a tiny
handicap sign on them, which stated “ Assistance Available “ and a small handicap symbol, they were few and far between and probably a lot of guests didn’t know what they meant. 90 % of the time, non-handicap guests were seated at them. Again, it looked like a large % of the guests were special needs and needed them. * On other cruise lines we’ve traveled, a very large section of the buffet area is dedicated to handicap guests. They place cloth covers over each chair at all the tables which have a large handicap symbol on them. Also a Buffet attendant stands in the area, to ensure that non-handicap guests do not tie up these tables. These selfish guests have 99 % of the entire Lido deck to find a table and eat at, but they want our 1 % handicap availability to use , just because they are lazy.
Scarlett’s SteakHouse: The food and service at the steakhouse was just superb !! We ordered the 14 oz. and 18 oz. rubbed Ny Strip and
Ribeye. Highly recommended !! The $ 35.00 pp charge is well worth it.
Shogun Casino: The casino staff and bar servers were just awesome !! We were premier casino guests, so we received free drinks in the casino at anytime. Diana and Monique (casino hosts)
were just great. Always friendly, smiling and joking around. It was a wonderful experience. The only issue we had was the cigarette smoke, it was just so overwhelming, we couldn’t stay for lengthy periods. We needed to breathe and get fresh air.
Gangway / Port: The Valor’s gangway ramp was a 2 aisle ramp, which was not wide enough for someone to wheel themselves off of.
My husband has a smaller wheelchair than others, like Carnival’s, that are very wide. His chair was the exact width of one of the gangway aisles and he could not wheel himself off. His arms in, with one staffer in front and me in the back pushing, it was an ordeal to get off and on the ship. At one point, we saw guests in wider chairs and on scooters.
When they got to the gangway ramp, they had to get up , then their chair or scooter was picked up and taken off, while the guests stumbled and dragged themselves off the ramp to their waiting chair/
scooter on the dock. Again, other cruise lines we’ve been on have just one single 8 ft. wide gangway ramp, no issues, no drama.
DisEmbarkation / Port Canaveral / Customs: Again, it’s difficult with
a wheelchair bound person, but being mis-directed 3 times when we got off the ship was very annoying. A nice Carnival staffer, got my husband pushed down the ramp to the port, via the elevator. We are always self-assist with our luggage. A carry-on & tote go on his lap & i wheel my carry-on and have a shoulder bag. Off the elevator, we asked a port staffer where to go for customs. They directed us one way. Going along, staffers were instructing guests regarding luggage pick up. We said we had our luggage, just tell us where customs is. Then they said, “Oh….you have to go over there” So we wheel back to another area, which wasn’t right either. Again, we flagged another
port staffer (asian woman, 40-50 y/o, dark shoulder length hair ,
and glasses) We asked where customs was and she told us to go another direction. Frustrated at the constant wheeling of my husband
in his wheelchair (he was trying to wheel himself as much as he could) and dragging my luggage behind me, i told the asian lady that they all needed to work on their communication skills in directing people. She looked at me, gave me the middle finger and told me to , “ Fuck Off ! “
Shocked, i started screaming at her demanding her name, she said,
“ I have no name “ I was then asking other staffers what her name was, they stood there shocked at what she had said to me, but said nothing. She then said her name was June (doubtful) I think she just wanted to shut me up. We found customs and proceeded down a corral aisle towards it. My husband saw a woman outside the corral
line directing guests towards customs, telling them to have their I.D. ready and their custom forms filled out. He asked her if she was a supervisor and told her what the asian staffer had said to us. She looked at my husband and said, “ I’m sorry, i don’t believe that “
My husband shot back, “ BELIEVE IT !! “ She said, “ I just don’t think
that happened “ His response, “ Oh, then i’m some sort of psychotic liar then ! “ “ I didn’t say that “ she responded. His final response was, “ Well, let’s see…..I told you what happened, you said it didn’t
happen….I’m the liar !! You’re as worthless as she is !! “ This was
the cherry on the cake for him on this miserable cruise, but more was to come……..
Bus Transfer to Airport: (Mears Transportation Buses) We flew in to Orlando the day before the cruise started and stayed with family, so they drove us to the port at the beginning. But before we left the house, we pre-paid online our bus transfer from the port to Orlando
Airport. ($36 each) Lots of confusion outside the port as to where the go to get shuttle buses / transport. About to go the wrong way as directed by some girl, a man stepped in and directed us to the correct location around the building to where our buses were loading guests.
I already had my transportation purchase receipts in my hand and approached the 1st bus, where a woman was standing with her clip
board. I told her our names, she took my receipt to verify them and
asked if i needed the wheelchair bus lift for my husband to get on. I
said yes. Then, some guy walked over, grabbed the paperwork out of her hands and proceeded to give us the 3rd degree about, why we didn’t note wheelchair needs, where did we come from, how did we get to the port to begin with. What the hell !!!! My husband told him we stayed with family and they took us here, so we only purchased
transport back to the airport. Then i told him i purchased these online
before leaving home and he said i should have clicked “wheelchair”
option. I told him there was no option, he said there was, i said i would have clicked it, obviously, but there wasn’t. My husband, getting upset yet again , told the guy to stop arguing and do what they have to do to get us on the bus. Tammy, the port bus staffer got
“Popeye” the driver and together they operated the chair lift and got my husband on board. While that was going on, i was still with the woman and she found our names on another list and it said “wheel
chair”. She grabbed the guy and showed him, but he just barked at her screaming, “ Just get them on the bus !! “ Tammy & Popeye
were great. We had a quick 45 minute ride to the airport and arrived at 9:00 am, however, it was a long 9 hour wait there, because our flight wasn’t leaving until 6:30 pm. I try to only book direct flights
because it’s difficult to get my husband on/off the planes. 6:30 pm
was the only direct flight to Rochester, NY. We arrived home at
9:30 pm. My husband looked at me and said, “ NEVER AGAIN
CARNIVAL , DON”T ASK ME AGAIN !! WE’RE DONE !! “
I am totally going to sail with NCL every time we cruise from now on. This was the best cruise we have been on to date. Going out of NYC was a breeze. Food, drinks and the staff all surpassed our expectations. All the ports were great except Tortola. I would suggest NCL dumps it as a port stop. The town is super tiny and you only get 6 hours there, 1 hour alone to tender in and back again. Other than that, BOOK THIS CRUISE!!!!!!!
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