Posted May 22nd, 2009, 05:26 PM
I hope you enjoy your cruise.
I couldn't decide in advance if I wanted to ship my own scooter on the plane, or just rent a scooter for the cruise when I arrived in Vancouver. I'm always afraid that it will be damaged on the plane, although the worst that has ever happened in the past are some scratches. In the end, I decided to let the airlines wheel me through the airport, and to rent a scooter at the pier.
I had researched the price before I left for the cruise, and I was quoted a price of $309 to pick up the scooter in Vancouver and to leave it on the ship when we disembarked in Seattle. They charge more, apparently, for a drop off point that is different from the origination port. Since I couldn't decide what to do, I ended up renting the scooter at the pier. You can rent from Care Vacations right at the Canada Place pier. They have a kiosk there in the area where you wait before going through the security checkpoint. There were 2 employees there, both seemed very knowledgeable. They had three sizes of scooters there as well as manual and power chairs. All were available to rent. The interesting part was that the price they quoted me at the pier as $245, quite a bit less than the quote I received on the phone. I have no idea why! The scooter was fine, a Pride, and the entire experience was great. I'd do it again this way any time.
About MTD: I found it was much easier going into the dining room when using MTD. When I was eating at a regular seating there were always many people entering the dining room at once, and this often created some congestion that made my progress slow and sometimes I felt like I was stuck right next to people seated at another table as I waited for the congestion to clear. With MTD, there's not ususally more than 1 or 2 parties trying to enter the dining room, so it's much easier. The scooter was no problem. They assigned us a seating area near the entrance (although not necessarily the exact same table) for the entire cruise, and they took the scooter out to the entrance of the dining room after I was seated. I really prefer MTD. You can adjust the time you want to eat, and although they prefer a reservation you don't need one. The one time we did not have a reservation, we waited less than 5 minutes for a table. We were on the first cruise that Rhapsody had offered MTD, but it went smoothly. I did hear, however, that the waiters didn't love it because they had no breaks during the dinner service.
Access: Our cabin was JS 8550, and yes, it was huge! Wheeling around was no prblem in either the room or bathroom.. There is a 2 " lip to get out to the balcony, but I could manage to walk out there, so it was fine for me. The rest of the ship was pretty easy to navigate aorund. As ususal, the elevators were difficult because if you wait in your scooter in the middle of the elevator area, and it "dimgs" that it's arrived, you have to scoote like "H" to get there before the doors close. I did not have difficulty finding room on the elevators most of the time. The only area I found dificult was the shops area. They tended to be crowded and just too congested for the scooter. Also, the shows in the theater were VERY crowded (early seating), so I would suggest arriving at leat 20-25 minutes before the show to be able to scoot up and get an aisle seat.
In general, RCCL was extremely accommodating. For example, one night my back was not cooperating and I didn't feel well enough to go to dinner. So, when our attendant knocked on the door for the evening turndown, I explained that we didn't need anything and that I needed to remain lying down. He offered to order me anything from the MDR menu if I needed assistance. I declined, thanked him, and he left. An hour later the housekeeping supervisor stopped by the room. She said that our attendant had told her that I wasn't feeling well and wondered if there was anything she could do to help! I really felt that they went the extra mile to assist me.
The Food: It was good, although I won't say it was gourmet quality (but then, they do have to feed 2000 people several times day). The lobster tails were the only major disappointment because they were mushy, fishy-tasting and pretty much inedible. The highlight for me was the pork medallions on the first night. The Windjammer is seldom easy in a scooter. It tends to be crowded, the food is at counter height and I needed assistance to both navigate and get my food/drink. Again, the one time I went there alone, the staff was VERY helpful, carrying my tray, etc.
I hope this is helpful. Please ask if you have any other questions.