Navigating Accessibility on the Beyond Celebrity Cruise - the Good, the Bad, and the Unexpected!
by Isabella Duarte-Crespo
Hey, fellow adventurers! Let's dive into my amazing experience aboard the Celebrity Cruise. I'm just a 16-year-old exploring the world with my family, and boy, did we have a blast! Here's the rundown:
Guess what? The entire ship was totally wheelchair accessible, perfect for those with limited mobility and using mobility aids! That made it super easy for me to get around. There was just one tiny drawback - the main pool area had a couple of steps, but overall, I was impressed by how inclusive the ship was for all travelers with different abilities.
Ports of Call
Every time we docked, I was greeted by long ramps that made it a breeze to go ashore. Not to mention, the crew members were always there to lend a hand and push my wheelchair when needed. For those ports that required a tender boat, they had this awesome thing called the magic carpet with a wheelchair lift. It made getting on and off the boat way easier! With my Private Pockets in place, I felt even more prepared and ready to explore each destination.
My Amazing Room
I lucked out with an accessible room located at the front of the ship, room #8106, perfect for those with limited mobility and using mobility aids! Let me tell you, it was spacious! Moving around with my wheelchair was a breeze, and I loved that the shower was at the same level as the bathroom floor - no tripping over steps for me! But the best part? The floor-to-ceiling window that gave me the most incredible view.
Delicious Dining Delights
Okay, let's talk food! The cruise had so many dining options, it was like a foodie's dream come true. My absolute favorite was the Rooftop Garden specialty restaurant. They had the most amazing ribs, mac and cheese, and seafood kebabs. And don't even get me started on their desserts! I had this massive chocolate chip cookie topped with ice cream - a total treat. Oh, and don't forget the late-night pizza station at the Oceanview Café. Pizza cravings at 2 am? No problem!
Silent Disco Fun
The highlight of my cruise was definitely the silent disco night. Picture this: everyone grooving to their own beat with wireless headphones and singing along without a care in the world. It was so much fun, and the best part was that it brought people together. Dancing under the stars with friends and family - what more could I ask for?
Now, let's chat about a few things that didn't quite meet my expectations:
A Few Bumps on the Journey
The ship was gigantic! While it had lots to offer, it also meant a lot of walking when I wasn't using my wheelchair. Sometimes it got tiring, but hey, adventure comes with a few challenges, right?Restaurant Reservation Hurdles
Making reservations at the restaurants turned out to be a bit of a hassle. Even before we boarded, everything seemed fully booked. And once onboard, it was tough to secure reservations. It would have been great if it was a bit easier to get the dining experiences we wanted.Ups and Downs of Accessibility at Ports
While most ports prioritized accessibility, a few fell short. Here's a quick rundown:
Sicily (8/10): Ramps were present, but crowded areas and bumpy roads made it a little tricky.]
Istanbul (1/10): The port facility was superb, almost resembling an airport. But once you are in the city, despite ramps, the sheer number of people made it hard to navigate. It was chaos, and not everyone was respectful of wheelchair users.
Ephesus (3/10): The Virgin Mary's house was accessible, but the Greek/Roman ruins were a different story. No ramps, bumpy terrain, and even steep inclines made it impossible to use my wheelchair. Climbing 180 steps? Nope, not happening.
Athens (1/10): While there are some small ramps around the city, certain tourist attractions were lacking accessibility access. Specifically, we went to the Acropolis, but the only elevator to visit was broken.
Having my essentials easily reachable in my Private Pockets made each port excursion more enjoyable and stress-free. It's the little things that make a big difference when you're exploring new places!
But now, let me take a moment to give a special shout-out to someone who made this journey even more extraordinary. Captain Kate McCue, you are a true trailblazer and an inspiration! It was an absolute thrill to have you as the captain for part of our journey. As a young entrepreneur with a passion for empowering women, seeing you lead with such grace and expertise was truly inspiring. Your dedication and leadership have left a lasting impression on me and many others on board. Thank you for breaking barriers and showing us that there are no limits to what we can achieve. You're a rockstar, Captain Kate McCue!
Stay tuned for more updates as I share the rest of my cruise adventure and the surprising wheelchair fiasco we encountered along the way!