Please try to understand that the fault lies with the port and not the cruise line. When we sailed from Ft. Lauderdale last April, we also requested a wheelchair for my wife at the port. There was none. We had to sit with all the others that requested wheelchairs and there was no system in place like numbers or a sign-up sheet. Many people jumped the line claiming their issues were worse than the others. Once we got a wheelchair, it was a port employee that rolled her to the check-in counter and then a member of the crew that, after changing wheelchairs, rolled her up to our cabin. So as you see, from the curbside it is the ports job and from the gangway onboard the cruise line takes over. The other caretaker was COMPLETELY wrong to blame the travel agent as all they can do is request the chair and the rest is up to the port and ship to do the rest. Maybe next time, to avoid issues, you can bring your own wheelchair until you get up to the scooter at your cabin. You may also want to consider a larger cabin than an inside if your sisters disability keeps her confined to the wheelchair most of the time.
Review by lclibrary398
In response to review, CrusinTim says ...
It saddens me to read that you were line jumped several times. There are certainly a lot of rude people in this world that are in far too much of a hurry. The ship will not sail without them!
@askeegan...There were some older folks that granted after waiting for an hour, outside in the heat with no water and some with oxygen tanks, that we gladly allowed to go before us. But then there were some that jumped in front of us that we later saw onboard that appeared just fine. I even approached one of them and commented "HEY, glad to see your feeling better"!! The just looked embarrassed and turned away! I found the process the port uses for wheelchairs without giving out tickets or some sort of sign-up sheet was failing! They only seemed to have about 4 or 5 wheelchairs on rotation to board.
Hi - First off, we feel your pain.
Issues with disabled passenger services always get our attention because we suffer through some snafus from time-to-time. Most recently, we had issues in both San Pedro and Ft. Lauderdale. The problem seems to be that the cruise line assistants can only take passengers to/from an area immediately off the gangway and the port authority staff is responsible for land-side services. What ends up happening is that disabled people get the short end of the service stick because the coordination between cruise line and port authority is lacking.
We did not have this issue when we brought our own scooter because we could take it anywhere but when we rented equipment, we had to deal with poor service quality and delays in our cruise experience.
During our last in-transit experience in San Pedro (LA), it was so badly coordinated that my husband was forced to get out of the wheelchair and walk back on board.
There is no excuse this level of poor service... but it happens more than most able-bodied passengers realize. As for rude people... we've experienced rudeness from both abled and disabled passengers. No one has cornered the market on bad behavior. We choose to not let it ruin our good vacation vibe.
As alluded to above, I think part of the problem is that the assistance staff are being overworked by healthy, but lazy people taking advantage.
There is no cure for that (short of passengers suddenly seeing the light and realizing the world is not all about them), but perhaps the port could hire more assistance professionals and buy more wheelchairs. (This comment is meant against those who do not have a legitimate need for assistance other than pure laziness, not those who cannot board without assistance.)
If you had already arranged with the line to have assistance boarding, then they should have had someone available immediately (not one or two for the entire passenger base, but enough to handle the base in one or two trips.)
" If you had already arranged with the line to have assistance boarding, then they should have had someone available immediately (not one or two for the entire passenger base, but enough to handle the base in one or two trips.)". As I posted above BD, the issue was not with the cruise lines assistance, they were there waiting at the check-in desk. The problem was with the port assistance. I think there were a total of 3 or 4 porters with wheelchairs assisting those that had requested it prior to boarding. I feel the port didn't care since they have no program for issuing the wheelchairs in the first place. They had no reservation sheet (for those that requested at time of booking), sign-up sheet or number system besides the lack of porters with wheelchairs.
Sorry - I misread that you had problems on both ends -- port and ship.
Glad to see that at least the ship performed to expectations.
Regardless, I believe I stand behind my second paragraph. It appears that the port is trying to maximize profits by spending as little as possible, knowing (or at least thinking) that their actions will not make or break a cruiser's choices. (I think that the Houston port's closing shows how wrong that thought can be).
(Edited to add): I just re-read the OP review, who stated he did have problems on board as well as at port. It may have been a hiccup on board in his case, but the port seems to fail in both cases.