I had such high hopes for Oasis of the Seas. Granted, I prefer smaller ships, but Royal Caribbean used to have an excellent reputation for access. Plus I was really happy to hear that they were going to include a zero-step entry pool on their newest ship.
For months their PR department touted this cool feature, but come to find out it didn’t exactly materialize. Oh yes the pool is there, but it’s not exactly a zero-step entry. I’m sad to report that indeed it has one step, and they are now calling it their “beach pool”. And one step makes all the difference in the world.
Now I realize that the pool probably wasn’t originally intended to be an access feature; but if it were a true zero-step entry pool, it could have been. Unfortunately the pool lifts are often not working or just unavailable, so the zero-step entry pool would have been a great alternative for wheelchair-users and slow walkers. Like I said, I’m really disappointed,
But that’s not all.
I’ve also heard reports of steps up to some of the restaurants and shops in Central Park; however at this point I’m not sure if they will be replaced with ramps. And several folks have noted that the accessible stalls in some of the public restrooms are not wide enough for a lateral transfer. And one travel agent who specializes in accessible travel even reported that the ramps to the balconies on the accessible cabins were pretty steep.
Hopefully Royal Caribbean will fix those issues. Like I said, they used to be pretty good with access; but lately I’ve just been getting bad reports on them. First there was the incident at the Pan American Pier. Then I had reports of the same thing happening at the Port of Miami. And now this.
So if you were thinking about cruising on Royal Caribbean because of the zero-step entry pool, then think again. And like I said, hopefully they will correct the other access problems soon.