The step option... Yes and No. When I ordered the ladder I thought I asked for the steps but they thought I did not. So they sent the ladder without the steps. So, I called and complained and they then sent me the steps. So I have the steps but I've not installed them. A simple matter of drilling the holes and mounting them.
Yes, I had to drill holes in the bulwarks to mount the ladder. While there are a number of arrangements available for mounting it I chose to mount it on the bulwarks, so drilling holes is necessary.