By Darryl Sigel
My wife Carolyn, who has a spinal cord injury, and I (along with her parents) took a seven-day cruise from Miami to St. Martin, St. John, St. Thomas and Norwegian Cruise Line's (NCL) private island in the Bahamas on the SS Norway.
The Norway is a huge ship: She is 1,066 feet long and weighs 76,000 tons. There are nine elevators and 10 handicap rooms. We only saw our own cabin, and didn't have a chance to view the other handicap cabins. But by cruise ship standards, ours was one huge cabin. Both the doorway to the cabin and the doorway to the bathroom were 31". This cabin even had two bunk beds, so, it really was a cabin built for four people.
The Norway is sectioned off by six stair towers. One in the forward section, another midship, and one in the aft section. The Norway even has a wheelchair accessible bathroom in the common area, located on the pool deck.
You must use the tenders to go on shore, except in Miami. The Norway carries two tenders. Each tender can hold 450 passengers and six to eight wheelchairs, depending on the size of the wheelchair. A ramp leads from the ship to the tender. The tender crew did an outstanding job taking Carolyn down the ramp. They also took her off the tender when we reached our destination island.
NCL has a few wheelchairs at the private island that are made to travel in the sand. These wheelchairs can also go in the water, but, not deeper than six inches. The wheelchair user must have help as he/she cannot power this sand-going wheelchair.
Back on this ship on the Olympic Deck, 3.6 times around the deck equals one mile. Elevators and ramps make the Olympic Deck very accessible.
When going to the main dining room, we got off the elevator on the Atlantic Deck, and had level entry into the dining room.
Our cabin on the Norway had a bathtub and shower. Carolyn was able to transfer from her wheelchair to the tub without any assistance.
The Norway was built in 1962 and remodeled a few years ago. There were around 2,100 passengers on this cruise. We care looking forward to our next cruise on the SS Norway.