I'm hoping someone with experience embarking at San Diego with HAL's wheelchair assistance can help. I'm trying to get a sense of the port, how far you have to walk to drop off baggage and meet up with HAL and a wheelchair/attendant, etc. I will be accompanying my parents on a cruise in/out of San Diego in January. My father is able to move about and walk on his own and should be OK once onboard, but he suffers from AFIB and some other issues that make walking even relatively short distances very difficult. My parents will have a Neptune Suite (which I mention in case that changes the location of where they need to go/how they check in with HAL at this port) - I'm in a less fancy stateroom but HAL is great about letting me stay with them to help them through the embarkation process. We have a very short flight to San Diego arriving around lunchtime on embarkation day and plan to take Uber/taxi immediately to the port.
Will we be able to drop off our luggage immediately or do we have to walk far with it?
How far do we have to walk before we meet up with HAL staff and a wheelchair/attendant?
Is there seating along those walks and in any waiting areas?
Anything else that would be helpful to know and/or we should consider?
Some background in case it helps someone think about the San Diego port and HAL embarkation experience in the context of our issue/concerns.... The limitations for walking even short distances has become a challenge for my father in the last several years and it is, understandably, frustrating for him. It's only in the last 1-2 years that he's relented and started to request wheelchair assistance from airlines and, during a 2018 HAL cruise to Alaska, from HAL for embarkation and disembarkation. While the wheelchair assistance provided by the airlines and HAL is very helpful, it does have it's limitations and risks -- some of which we experienced during the Alaska trip. You are dependent on nothing going wrong in their systems (as it did at the Vancouver airport) and you might be waiting for a chair and/or attendant to become available. At the Vancouver port, we had to wait for about 30-45 minutes for a wheelchair to become available because HAL was (understandably) balancing finishing disembarkation support with the earlier shuttle arrivals for embarkation. Sitting and waiting would not have been much of an issue itself -- but from where we entered the port to where we FIRST met up with any HAL team members there was a hallway the length of the ship and NO SEATING the entire length of it. My father simply can't walk or stand that long without an ability to stop and rest. When we saw the length of the walk, we found seating at the entrance and I walked the length several times to request help, check on status, and then help guide the attendant back to where my dad was waiting.
The real solution is for us to travel with our own collapsable transport wheelchair so myself or my mother can be free to help with some of these distances and/or so we at least know there is a seat while we're waiting for help. Having one would have alleviated all issues during our Vancouver experiences -- if we'd had our own chair a HAL staff member could have immediately helped us check-in and get situated upon our arrival at the port, as we were waiting for an open wheelchair not the HAL staff. Both myself and my mother prefer this solution and it would make the trip much less stressful for us. But my father is not ready to accept myself or my mother to have to push him and is insisting on arranging airline/airport and HAL courtesy support. I do appreciate that it will be frustrating and stressful for him to accept that help at this point. But he is not the only person to consider and it would be much less stressful for my mother (and myself) if he we knew we were traveling with our own lightweight, collapsable transport chair at the ready. I'm still hopeful he will change his mind after some reflection, but in the meantime am seeking to at least get a better "lay of the land" from someone familiar with the port so I'm able to prepare for a smooth embarkation day and so my mother has some peace of mind.
Once we're onboard, they've selected a stateroom located close enough to most activities he enjoys, so he plans to just hand out in those areas of the ship and thinks he'll be ok. Although having a transport chair onboard would make it possible for us to help him get to some things on either end of the ship, he probably will be ok and very happy once settled onboard in his stateroom of choice. He does enjoy the "steaming along" enjoying the view from the balcony and their stateroom is very close to his favorite restaurants and haunts on the ship.
Thank you very much for your help!