Written by Chillie Falls, August 26, 2022
As I sit here in my accessible cabin on the Norwegian Sky, I am reflecting how to manage a ship I really like that has some glaring deficiencies. So, here goes:
First, embarkation was as smooth as any cruise I have been on. First, Scootaround met me at the curb with my scooter. This is something I have been screaming about for years, and I have no idea if it was because of Scootaround, Norwegian or Port Miami….or all three. But it sure was an improvement.
Also, I was expedited through security, checking-in, etc as a special needs guest and was on my way aboard in no time. No lines, no waiting. No hassles. It took me 15 minutes from the curb to boarding the ship. What an improvement.
Scootaround told me my oxygen concentrator had been delivered to Housekeeping and it would be delivered to my cabin. The announcement was made at 12:30 that the rooms were ready. The concentrator arrived a little after 2PM.
Cabin 8318 is wheelchair accessible, and it is OK with two exceptions. The door is pretty heavy, both the room door and the bathroom door. Since I am solo, I leave the bathroom door propped open to eliminate one barrier. The room door needs to be equipped with an automatic opener (preferred) or adjusted to less door weight.
Secondly, the roll-in shower does not have a permanent bench seat, but a shower stool. I can walk enough to get to the shower as long as the stool is in place and I can sit. The bathroom is not configured so that a bench seat is possible, so they are doing as best they can under the circumstances.
These are problems found in most older ships. Sky was built in 2000. I understand from staff that newer Norwegian ships are equipped much better for the mobility challenged/disabled community.
Deck 12 is divided into two sections. From the aft elevators, you can get to Cagney’s or Pinnacle Lounge and Sushi Bar. There is a door to the outside of 12 in Pinnacle, but it has one step to get out.
The other section uses the midship elevators to the Deck 12 Promenade, Basketball Court, Splashes Children’s Pool, Golf Driving and Champs Bar. Both doors from the elevator hallway are heavy wooden doors with a ramp to a relatively high doorway threshold. Once I got the heavy door open, my scooter got stuck and would not go over the doorway. So to a mobility challenged guest on a scooter, on up to a fully disabled person, this area is totally inaccessible to a solo traveler.
Like many other cruise ships, the main swimming pool is inaccessible, even to me who can walk a little. I don’t even see signs of a lift chair, not that I would use one.
None of the public restrooms are accessible. None have automatic door, inside of out. One that was marked accessible on the door, led me to a long narrow hallway with not enough room to turn into the restroom or to turn around. Basically, I was stuck.
All of the dining room personnel have been extremely helpful assigning me to tables close to the door, and moving chairs so I can pull my scooter right up to the table, swivel the seat, so I am basically sitting like normal people. My room steward is also well trained and quite helpful, even to come running to help me get in and out of my room door.
Bars and venues through the ship seem to be reasonably accessible and staff, like bartenders, are quite aware and helping of your special needs.
I had a very productive meeting with the ship’s special needs coordinator. I laid out all of the issues I had found. He took notes, asked questions, and promised to move the information up the line to Norwegian’s management.
All in all, even with the issues, I really like this ship and am having a marvelous time. Maybe Norwegian will find a way to correct some of these issues in the next refurbishment.