March 2016 - 5 Night Western Caribbean (Tampa Roundtrip) Cruise on Brilliance of the Seas
Not recommended for the disabled
We had ordered wheelchair assistance for my disabled sister and arrived to find an alleged dispute between RCI and Tampa port about wheelchair service. Neither allegedly would provide wheelchairs at the taxi drop off but instead directed us to an elevator down a long walkway and up an elevator where "RCI has wheel chairs " I left my disabled sister alone ( which frightened her greatly) and went up the elevator with another passenger's caregiver where we had to have temper tantrums to get a chair to go dowmstairs and to bring them on board - ,it could only be used "'temporarily"
The wheelchair was taken from us on board and we were told to sit and wait. I appeaslewd to Guest relations and finally one staff member brought us a wheelchai rbut had no one to push it. My sister weighs s twice what I do, but I managed to push her to our cabin where her scooter was waiting( we were not allowed to the cabin where our scooter was waiting when we boarded.).
I spent the rest of our cruise trying to find a dignified way to get my sister off ship to disembark and only when I spotted the ship's hotel director and appealed for his help did.any plan get made. his assistant told me there was a problem with wheelchair use at Tampa Port and they were"trying to come to a resolution"' I can't understand why they didn't notify us of this before we attempted to get on board-we would have cancelled. had we known.
Otherwise the cruise was just ok- mediocre food and entertainment - probably not worth all the stress caused my sister for what was to be her first cruise.,I doubt she will ever agree to go again. Wait staff and cabin attendants were all lovely and helpful when they could be- the rest was a mess. On the last day our cabin door ( with a disabled switch) would not open at all from the outside and after numerous attempts to repair it we were told it could not be fixed till the next ( disembarkation) morning , so we had to stay inside our cabin knowing we could not get back in if we left without waiting for a security officer to come and hoping his master key might work.. Again , my sister was pretty much abandoned by the staff in that situation- no one seemed to care.- just lots of apologies. In the morning i threw another fit and told them to get us off the ship so we at least could have breakfast- all we had in our room was a banana. The Hotel,Director facilitated that-I think to get rid of the problem.
The other caretaker who had the same issue ( as well as two others I met during the week) were told rather rudely it was her travel agents fault that t no wheelchairs were provided. It was in my special needs confirmation , so i know in our case that was not true.
Tampa Airport was wonderful- but unless they work out these issues at the Port, I would not cruise from there again and though I am Crown and Anchor Gold, I would not use RCI for any future cruise..
I have been on Brilliance before and took great care in choosing it for my sister-what a disappointment..