February 2014 - Serenade of the Seas to Caribbean - Bahamas
My husband and I have quite a few cruises under our belt since it's our favorite kind of vacation. We have always liked Royal Caribbean and our transatlantic cruise last year was one of our best. This review of our Caribbean cruise is written from the standpoint of traveling with my sister-in-law who is wheelchair bound. Unfortunately the difficulties we experienced with everything we tried to do cast a pall over the entire trip. The handicapped accessible cabin was fantastic - plenty of room for her to maneuver; the rest of the ship wasn't quite so good. It started with the mandatory evacuation drill. We found out later that Royal Caribbean's procedure requires a crew member to assist a special needs person because with everyone trying to get to their evacuation location it is almost impossible to get an elevator with enough space to accommodate a wheelchair. However, we were left on our own. This wasn't unique to us or even to this cruise. Our travel agent complained about this same situation two years ago. Although the ship is very nice, the layout and amount of furnishings make moving around difficult. This was most apparent in the dining room. The tables are very close together. Adding in the food carts and the number of people, clear pathways are limited. We were assigned a table in the middle of the room instead of near the edge of the room so, once again, getting her in and out was a big deal. So many of the activities took place in the centrum and if you are able to stand it's not an issue, but we would have to arrive at least an hour early and just wait if we had any hope of getting a place where she could see. It didn't take too long before she just wanted to stay in her cabin. On the positive side the staff and the entertainment were great. I don't know if I would recommend this cruise. I would definitely caution anyone with physical impairments to be prepared for long waits for the elevator, difficulty in getting through the public areas, and inability to take part in activities.