I have discovered from postings on the Disabled Cruisers board at CruiseCritic.com that HAL policy is that they will NEVER carry a wheelchair passenger up/down gangways on the Ryndam, and although they have a "stair climber" this is kept in a closet and not used on this ship. They also apparently do not use the new "tender lift" in any South American ports (although they do in the Caribbean).
We had planned to take a cruise (our 28th) on this ship this fall around Cape Horn, but are now reconsidering as my mother certainly needs to get on/off the ship at the beginning and end, and would certainly not like to be confined aboard for all 17 days. She cannot walk or stand at all.
The person who posted this claims that the crew tried to help them but were prevented by officers. Does anyone else have any other experience with this ship or other HAL ships and similar policies? Since this cruise starts in San Diego (although we are only taking the Valparisio to Rio leg) I would consider that they are vulnerable to the new regulations about cruise ships and ADA reasonable accomodatations, which would allow lifting (and require it) in a business without elevators in this country as a way to accomodate a customer. Refusing service would not be allowed.
Would appreciate any info any of you have. Have also sent an urgent e-mail to the Special Services person at HAL who provided us with other information about the accessible cabins on this ship.