This review is especially helpful for those who have or use the following: Powerchair
This was a great experience apart from the very officious, 'jobsworth' and negative check-in woman at Portsmouth. The woman also told us that we had to book a space next to the lift on-board in advance, however, we've never had to do this before and I can't see any info regarding this on their website. The passport control officer at Portsmouth on the return journey was the loveliest, happiest one we've ever had, so maybe there were complaints about the first one.... All other staff were very, very helpful and went out of their way to help. We had a lovely journey both ways.
Transport & Parking
There is accessible parking very close to the lift on the car deck and we were directed to this. They also ensured that enough space was left at the rear for my ramp and for me to unload and an assistant was waiting to offer us help to get to the lift and cabin if required.
The lift could be slightly bigger considering the size of the ship, luggage etc and it also broke down on the return journey (doors wouldn't shut), however, we weren't in it at the time and it was fixed very quickly and efficiently by one of the engineers. An assistant also stayed with us to ensure that we got back down to the car safely. The disabled cabin was very clean and comfortable and had lots of room to manoeuvre with my power chair and an extra berth for a carer if needed. I was also pleased to see that I could access the outer decks and enjoy the views and sea air; it was lovely and fresh in the middle of the heatwave.
The en-suite was also spacious and fairly clean ( nooks and crannies which would be difficult to get really clean). There was an accessible shower and clean towels and soap were provided. There were also grab rails and an emergency cord both in the en-suite and in the cabin.
Would have given a 5 if not for the previously mentioned check-in person. Although strictly speaking she wasn't actually on board the ship, it did colour the experience and make us anxious that that we might have trouble boarding and parking. All other staff were fantastic from the restaurant to the shop; when we had trouble accessing the cabin wi-fi someone came immediately to help and even the engineers we encountered were really nice!
Anything else you wish to tell us?
We had a lovely crossing (both-ways) in a comfortable, clean ship munching croissants and drinking coffee ; the experience was definitely helped by the lovely staff on board who were also interested to find out how we were finding the journey. m It was really sad to see the refugees at the French port but please don't let this put you off sailing from here as it nothing like the media portrayal of an alternative Calais camp. There were no attempts to run after us or hassle us in any way, we only saw a few sad boys and girls sitting on fences; it was very moving and frustrating not being able to help them if anything. It seemed ironic being concerned about access after passing them and made us more mindful of the word 'access'.