First, when you book your cruise request a handicapped cabin..Also, I've found that room numbers and the elevator area have raised braille. You will find the cruise lines and we just disembarked an NCL ship are very and I hate to use this phrase... handicapped friendly.. On our cruise we found in the buffet area chairs set aside for the handicapped, i.e. wheelchairs, walkers, blind, not to mention the staff going overboard in the buffet area to help you. BTW my husband is a few years older than your father and got along very well with his rollator. If there is a question of him needing a wheelchair...they will take him on and off the ship if need be. A neigbor who is legally blind has been on the Spirit several times and gets along well. As for a set time... since I have not been on t his particular ship I would speak to the Maitre de and request "reservations".. Now, the specialty restaurants like Cagneys, Le Bistro and I don't know which others on the Spirit do request reservations so that is no problem. To avoid what I like to call "chaos"..choose a cruise that is either before the kids are out of school and after they are back in..My neighbor, who is blind, says her only problem is the undisciplined kids running around.
Your TA should be able to help you with making a standing reservation in the main dining room given what you have written.
The Spirit also operates a bit differently regarding the reservations in the specialty (extra charge) restaurants. You can make reservations for these for the whole week when you first board.
If you are staying in a suite the concierge will take care of any needs that you may need.
I have been on this ship twice and did the Boston to Bermuda cruise last year. We love the ship. Last year we were on with my parents so three generations sailed together. It was a great time. The three days in Bermuda made it even better.
The NCL Dawn will be replacing the Spirit for the Boston to Bermuda cruises in 2011.
I guess I could qualify myself as a 'Bermudaphile' only have been going there for 30+ years! You questions are very good, and I'd like to help with a few answers. First, I know that 'open dining' has it's advantage/disadvantage. I would definately let the maitre'd know IN ADVANCE of your needs, and request a time to eat. I think they'll be able accomodate your reuqest.
As far as parties, I'm not familiar with all the details, but having been on several cruises, I tend to stay away from 'party time' just because....I choose not to participate in them!
As far as your father's needs, you may want to call the Bda. Dept. of Tourism in NYC and inquire about a special van or vehicle that accomodate you and your party. Normally the taxi's are pretty roomy, but with your needs, you may want to tell then what specific needs you have for transportation, and they can point you in the right direction. I know of one or two specific companies who deal with such issues, and I hope the Dept. can be of help.
Bermuda is a 'low pressure' island, and the people are very hospitible and friendly. If they say 'good morning' to you, they expect you to return the compliment. If you want a relaxing day, the beaches on South Shore are a great wayto enjoy the water, air and your daughter.