My Wheelchair Accessible Cruise

Royal Caribbean Accessibility graphicMy cruise aboard the Oasis of the Seas departed from Port Everglades FL, with calls at Nassau, St. Thomas and St. Martin. I use a Permobil power wheelchair (28” wide, 52” long). Check-in was a breeze. The enclosed, multi-level boarding ramps were wide and easily negotiated.  The final transition onto the ship is over an enclosed aluminum ramp. It is level and I crossed easily. I’m thrilled, I’m now on board! So far, no barriers.

Onward to the elevators to check out my room. The flooring throughout the ship is smooth, with one exception that I’ll address later. Up to floor 14 and through the 3’ wide door and into my gigantic, accessible room! I was blown away with the size and easy maneuverability my room afforded me. I’m immediately drawn to the balcony, where a small rise and descent over the sliding door threshold put me comfortably onto my 6’ wide by 20’ long balcony.

1 Bed liftNow, back into the cabin to explore the bed and bathroom. My bed was queen size with ample room to roll my Easy Pivot transfer lift underneath. A Hoyer lift will fit under as well. The closet had a lowered hanger pole and the storage cabinet had a lowered safe. Off to check out the bathroom.  Bring your shower chair! It easily fits in the barrier free shower area as well as over the commode.

1 BathNow, for the few barriers I ran up against. The only bathroom short-coming was the stubby sink/counter space. Going toward the sink directly your feet will hit the wall way before your belly reaches the counter top. I also encountered a mid-ship expansion plate approximately 2.5” high in the hallway corridor. My powerful chair popped a good old wheelie traversing this plate. This barrier can easily be avoided by taking the elevator closer to your room. There is access to Dazzles night club’s lower floor, but not to its second floor.

1 CabinEmbarking and disembarking via the ship gangway at all three of my destinations was challenging. There were plenty of crew to assist me, but there is room for equipment improvement. The problem lies with a less than adequate hinged plate at the end of the long ramp. It needs to be lengthened to double its size in order for the elimination of the steep grade. This part of my cruise was very stressful and a safety issue.  I have contacted Royal Caribbean and they sent word to their engineering department and offered me a 500 dollar credit toward my next cruise. In conclusion, once the ship’s gangway ramp plate is addressed, I would highly recommend the Oasis of the Seas to my fellow wheelchair users.

Jim Waitzman – Cruise Planners-CTWV
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