CrusinTim
Contributor Level: Cruise Director

Wheelchair Passengers Boarding At The Port.....

I have alsways considered myself to be someone that admits when I am wrong. So is this case.....

Last year, on our T/A sailing on the Caribbean Princess from Port Everglades, we had a totally disfunctional boarding process for my wife after requesting wheelchair assistance at the port on embarkation day. When we arrived at the terminal, there was no wheelchair reservation sheet, check-in sheet or even a number system to assign wheelchairs to those that had requested it. This resulted in people waiting in excess of one hour to board, arguments of who was next, extreme heat with not even water while waiting your turn and to compound things, only two wheelchairs on rotation to bring people to the check-in area. Well, up to tady, I had always put the blame on the Port as there was a porter that wheeled everyone to the check-in desk and them a member of the crew with a different wheelchair took the passenger onboard. You can see in some of my past posts trying to correct posters and explaining it was the ports fault for the boarding fiascos.  I was wrong! We have a cruise coming in May on the Oasis of the Seas and my excellent agent, remembering we needed a wheelchair last year contacted me to see if we want one requested for this cruise. This prompted me email Port Everglades directly, explain what happened last year and asked if the situation was corrected. The Port Everglades, Cruise Manager responded to my email withion one hour and explained to me it is NOT the Port porters that take the wheelchair passengers into the terminal. The cruise line hires porters (just like the people that check you in) that transport you into the terminal and then a member of the crew takes you the rest of the way. She also explained to me that RCCL does have a process for those wheelchair bound passengers. To the right of terminal 18, there is a crew member with a reservation log as so to assign boarding. So, to those I misled, my apologies. I guess sometimes, after 11 cruise I guess I get a "know-it-all" mentality.

Tags: handicapped boarding wheelchair

4 Answers

BDRebel
Contributor Level: Captain

No apology needed.

The fact that the port has a problem boarding handicapped passengers, regardless of whose fault, is still a black mark for that port, and another reason to look to other ports.

Also, how is anyone to know about "the crew member to the right of terminal 18" unless there are (plenty of) signs directing passengers that way? Or at least the baggage porters alerting the necessary passengers as to the reservation log.

 

And after 11 cruises, I would bet you know a whole lot more than me with only 4.

CrusinTim
Contributor Level: Cruise Director

Not really sure in this case if it is the whole Port or just the terminal we used for Princess. From what I have been reading about terminal 18 for the Oasis and from what the Ports Authority emailed me, RCCL is a bit more organized than Princess when it comes to boarding (hence the crew member with the check-in sheet). I'll let everyone know when I get back in my cruise review after May 28th.

noname111
Contributor Level: Captain

No apology necessary. I was under the same impression as you with regard to the dockside porters.  This is news to me but I'll be sure to use the information to my advantage going forward.

CrusinTim
Contributor Level: Cruise Director

The most important thing when it comes to needing a wheelchair is to request one directly through the cruise line or have your agent do it. According to the email I have gotten from the Port, the check-list for those needing wheelchairs is for those that have requested them prior to the sail date from the cruise line. I was told they do have walk-ups of people that need assistance but with RCCL, those with a request prior to the sail date get first dibs at the wheelchair assistance. All others must wait for an opening.

 

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