Our cruise in January 2015 to the Caribbean on the Carnival Breeze included stops at the ports St. Thomas and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The large ship was filled with activities that we could all do and enjoy. Movie night was fun and one of our favorite parts of the cruise. Other shows were also accessible but I needed to check out the venue beforehand to figure out the layout for accessible seats.
Many areas of the ship have low carpeting, which wasn’t too difficult to roll over. Despite many things to do on the ship, it took a LONG time to get an elevator. There were a lot of elderly people on board the ship so the elevator was used constantly.
There were not any lifts or any accessible modifications done to the pools, but there was a wading pool she was able to swing into and she is able to lower herself with a ladder so it was doable as well in the smaller but deeper pool. Hanging out at the pool with snacks was a frequent activity we enjoyed.
Restaurants were never an issue on the cruise ship. They were always able to accommodate her sitting at tables for eating. She loved room service.
There was a connection app for our phones for $5 each that allowed us to use ship’s WiFi to message anyone on the ship. This app was very helpful. We felt safe leaving her in her room alone because she could contact us if she needed help.
The only accessible room available was inside cabin, two twins. The bathroom was accessible with a shower bench, roll in shower, hand-held nozzle/wand. My brother reserved the room. However, when I called to discuss access, the person was not able to help me to decide if it would be ok. Eventually, I was able to find a person with pictures of the room. She sent them to me and we determined it would be fine. Saved us lots of money to use that room.
Outings and Excursions: The staff on board were NOT helpful with anything more than their own excursions. I would suggest getting off the ship as soon as in port and ask around to see what is accessible. There was a boat she could have gone on but it left before I got off to see the last one leave. Bummer.
It was often a hassle to get through the line and off the ramp as there was some up hill and downhill and they were not staffed to support pushing her (I had broken my back so could not push her up steep things). Other times, they were helpful and got us through.
Was not able to get off at the ports very much at all. All the excursions that were accessible were sold out or cancelled due to not getting enough people. On one island we shared a taxi van for an island tour, but NOT good. Two men in group had to lift her into and out of a high seat in a van and fold up her chair multiple times en and out. My advice, is do not assume other people envision things the same way as you do (ie it will fit, it is doable…)
When we did get off, the streets were often too bumpy, holey, and no cutouts. The spots right off the ship, the port dock was usually accessible. Bathrooms were rarely available. Going into hotels at the islands was helpful to get bathrooms. It was a maze to find cut outs and such.
Medical Assistance: Michelle had a seizure, there was a pull cord in the room that was available for me. I was trying to hold her from falling to the ground, was able to pull the cord, but not able to answer the phone call when they called to respond. That is what they do, they do not come based on the call on the cord. The nurse responded, not too helpful and then let me know the cost to me for coming to the room to assist. By then I was able to handle things better than her so I did not have her come. I would assume they would want to evaluate the situation, but I guess not.
Arrival and Departure: Leaving the port in Miami was doable, the staff helped us through the maze of loading and our whole party got on together which was nice. Nonetheless, when the cruise was over, getting to the airport was a long line to get a taxi, they put us off to the side to select an accessible taxi which worked well.