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  #1  
Old January 20th, 2013, 05:06 PM
Captain Beefheart Captain Beefheart is offline
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Default Making Our Voices Heard

I have been a member since 2008 and have received alot of helpful imformation & support over those years, during this time i have noticed that posts on certain subjects resurface time & time again .Whilst it is very helpful to have open discussion i feel the problems that members are having could be helped if we were ALL to contact the relevent COEs &MDs of the companies involved by letter/emails pointing out these problems,concerns and suggestions from us on how we think they could be resolved. If a single member writes to a company in many cases they wil say that it is a just a individual problem & dissmiss it. I think that if we were to put ALL our efforts together we might find that problems may start to be resolved and after all we are the paying customer.
It won't be easy and will take time but hopefully the effort would be worth while?
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  #2  
Old January 20th, 2013, 05:44 PM
HopefulCruiser123 HopefulCruiser123 is offline
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Default How do you spell P E T I T I O N

I participated in the Q&A with Celebrities new CEO Mr. Bailey a few months ago here on Cruise Critic. My question was whether or not he would consider equipping some of the upper level suites to be handicap accessible. His no response response was yes, if there was a market for it......


Well.....DUH!

I think we ought to organize and come up with a list of common request/complaints and put it out there for others to put there signature to and then submit it to all the CEO's of the various lines.
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  #3  
Old January 21st, 2013, 12:55 AM
Wheeling_family_of_3 Wheeling_family_of_3 is offline
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I was frustrated that the highest level suite we could book on freedom of the seas, RCL, was a junior suite. We want the "bells and whistles" that a bigger (and bigger price tag!) suite gives, but we are limited only to junior suites or below. The Oasis and Allure have better suites, but that's not the ship we are taking, but at least they have made some of the higher level suites on the Oasis and Allure h/c accessible.
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  #4  
Old January 21st, 2013, 09:09 AM
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DisneyKidsDad DisneyKidsDad is offline
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I want just the opposite. I want to be able to book a "regular" H/C balcony cabin for myself, my wife & my daughter and not have to go to a junior suit. Disney does it. Why can't everyone else?
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  #5  
Old January 21st, 2013, 09:11 AM
Captain Beefheart Captain Beefheart is offline
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Hi Hopeful Cruiser 123, seems like a good idea to have a petition the only problem i can see is if you were to use a list of common concerns/requests you might end up with hundreds of petitions.One idea is to still have a petition but linked to a particular post as they occur. Dont know how a petition might be set up and would probably need approval and help of the community managers.
The other way is to try and encourage members who responde to a particular post to write directly with their grievences to the MDs&CEOs of the companies involved?
Its about time members start to realise that if they want changes to take place discussing it on the forum is not going to work and they must change their mindset.
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  #6  
Old January 22nd, 2013, 02:21 PM
Captain Beefheart Captain Beefheart is offline
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Well folks,really surprised with the lack of support and interest the post has received, when i constantly read the large amount of posts from members who are having problems with the cruise companies.
As mentioned in opening post just disscussing it on the forum will not rectify these problems only by working together and making the cruise companies aware of problems can we hope to overcome them.Thanks.
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  #7  
Old January 22nd, 2013, 05:30 PM
HopefulCruiser123 HopefulCruiser123 is offline
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Default Different kinds of folks

Fiona, therein lies the beauty of a petition. A lot of people will support someone else "doin the talkin for them". They are the petition signers. Other people are the movers and the shakers, they prepare the statement for the petitions, recruit the volunteers to go out and persuade people to sign. And then there are the closers; the people who take the signatures to the CEO's and marketing executives and make the case to take the petition seriously.

Most people don't know where to begin. They see their specific complaint as just one of many complaints made by many people and it overwhelms them.

Some people just want to rant and they want feedback that lets them know they are not alone in their dissatisfaction.

Some people don't believe they can affect change so they swallow that bitter pill of acceptance.

Some people are busy, or preoccupied with the immediate task of getting this one cruise, or one excursion or this one issue resolved now. They aren't really interested in the bigger picture or the "down the road".

Some people are burned out.

Some people hope someone else will take on the task of facilitating change and are content to sit back (with less) until someone else makes it possible for them to have more.

BUT no matter how it happens it generally starts with the first step being of someone saying "lets organize". That first step has been taken by you by starting this thread. The best that you can do (and I will not leave you alone in this task) is to keep it alive, keep the thread live. Keep soliciting for suggestions on how best to make our voices heard.

I still like the idea of petitions (as a suggestion). Agree on one issue, make a statement, put it out for signatures, send it to CEO's and make the case. Stir and repeat. The other way to do this is to write a letter (as you have a suggested), keeping the issues to two or three at a time, put it out to the disabled community to sign (with suggestion to add their own comments) provide a good address and name to send the letters and ask everyone to send in their copy.

And you are right.....before too much more discussion about this goes on, we probably need to get approval from the forum managers. The road to h3// is paved with good intentions.

Whaddaya think?
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  #8  
Old January 22nd, 2013, 11:40 PM
MargoK MargoK is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HopefulCruiser123 View Post
Fiona, therein lies the beauty of a petition. A lot of people will support someone else "doin the talkin for them". They are the petition signers. Other people are the movers and the shakers, they prepare the statement for the petitions, recruit the volunteers to go out and persuade people to sign. And then there are the closers; the people who take the signatures to the CEO's and marketing executives and make the case to take the petition seriously.

Most people don't know where to begin. They see their specific complaint as just one of many complaints made by many people and it overwhelms them.

Some people just want to rant and they want feedback that lets them know they are not alone in their dissatisfaction.

Some people don't believe they can affect change so they swallow that bitter pill of acceptance.

Some people are busy, or preoccupied with the immediate task of getting this one cruise, or one excursion or this one issue resolved now. They aren't really interested in the bigger picture or the "down the road".

Some people are burned out.

Some people hope someone else will take on the task of facilitating change and are content to sit back (with less) until someone else makes it possible for them to have more.

BUT no matter how it happens it generally starts with the first step being of someone saying "lets organize". That first step has been taken by you by starting this thread. The best that you can do (and I will not leave you alone in this task) is to keep it alive, keep the thread live. Keep soliciting for suggestions on how best to make our voices heard.

I still like the idea of petitions (as a suggestion). Agree on one issue, make a statement, put it out for signatures, send it to CEO's and make the case. Stir and repeat. The other way to do this is to write a letter (as you have a suggested), keeping the issues to two or three at a time, put it out to the disabled community to sign (with suggestion to add their own comments) provide a good address and name to send the letters and ask everyone to send in their copy.

And you are right.....before too much more discussion about this goes on, we probably need to get approval from the forum managers. The road to h3// is paved with good intentions.

Whaddaya think?
You are so right. I am one who fits into the ' busy living and keeping myself going' to have the energy to fight. I give up a bit too easily! Partly because I don't like being disabled

A lot of us have to fight with the government agencies which leaves little time for other fights.

But I applaud Fiona for bringing up the subject.

One thought has come to mind - do the cruise line have to have a balance between able bodies, kids and the disabled for times of emergency??

Personally I would rather have two cruises than have a suite on one, becuase for us 'down-under' cruising is so expensive anyway
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  #9  
Old January 23rd, 2013, 11:29 AM
Captain Beefheart Captain Beefheart is offline
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Hi ,thanks for comments.
HopefulCruiser123 I think it is a good idea but have contacted management and they have said it is not allowed. Attached is my contact message, their response and my reply.

Hi LauraS,

I have recently put up a post entitled "Making our voices heard" which was to try and encourage members to not only discuss the problems that they have experienced on the forum but also to make the cruise company concerned aware of that problem by either writing or e-mailing them. Another member has posted me a reply suggesting that a petition is set up for members to sign on specific issues and then be sent to the appropriate cruise company CEOs & MDs.

I was wondering if the forum management would allow a petition to be set up (when required) and if so how would we go about it?

The purpose of a petition would be to benefit all members.

Thanks

Fiona2


Hello Fiona2:
I'm not sure I understand what you are asking. Are you saying there is a specific issue that requires a petition at this time and you are asking permission to post a link to a survey? That isn't allowed, by the way. Are you talking about something different?
I can assure you that all the major cruise lines monitor the forums here on Cruise Critic; many have representatives that post when necessary.
I'm really unsure of what you are asking of us.....feel free to clarify a bit more!
Laura

Hi thanks for your quick reply .I was hoping to make a link to survey site but now appreciate that I will not be able to do this.
I am interested to read that the cruise lines monitor the forum it is just a shame that they do not address the problems discussed.

Hopefulcruiser123 Don't know were we go from here is there away i could contact you ? Thanks Fiona
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  #10  
Old January 23rd, 2013, 10:45 PM
HopefulCruiser123 HopefulCruiser123 is offline
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Yes Fiona, you can write to me at justteri1000@yahoo.com

Today has been a long and trying day. I'll post more of a response tomorrow.
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  #11  
Old January 26th, 2013, 02:55 PM
Splinter Splinter is offline
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Not speaking up is a problem for many people who have thoughts and feelings related to this. We are sometimes our own worst enemies.

Several years ago when the Access Board was accepting written testimony about the proposed accessibility standards for cruise ships, we urged members on this forum (and many others for those with disabilities) to send in their input. I know that both my dad and I submitted written testimony to both rounds of hearings. Sadly, those private citizens (vs. cruise ship companies) who submitted testimony was LESS THAN 40 PEOPLE for the entire USA.

Silence is acquiescence with the status quo.
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  #12  
Old January 26th, 2013, 05:40 PM
Captain Beefheart Captain Beefheart is offline
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Hi Splinter,yes i totally agree with your comments as i'm sure Hopefulcruiser123 would.Thats quite amazing the lack of support that the written testimony got.
What the members on the forum don't seem to realise is that the only way to solve problems they are having is make the companies aware on mass. Discussing the problems on the forum is not going to change polices the companies have even if as said that major companies veiw them on this forum ,other wise the same problems would not keep being brought up time and time again on the same subjects.
It would be interesting to hear from members of the forum on how we could make the companies aware of the problems . Maybe the forum management might have some suggestions ?
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  #13  
Old January 26th, 2013, 06:59 PM
Virga Virga is offline
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I'm currently writing a bunch of articles on the process of booking cruises for disabled travelers - I'm hoping to present the regulations in plain english, so people know what rights they have. I'm actually pretty impressed with the way the regulations were put together, only a few nitpicks but otherwise they seem to be very well thought out and provide strong support for both onboard accessibility and pricing equality.

Getting to the person at your cruise line who has the knowledge and ability to make it happen appears to be the hard part - I've gotten the process figured out with X and Royal, and am looking forward to driving the other lines crazy next. I was (still am) very disappointed in the misinformation from Reservations and Resolutions departments, and even the Special Needs folks weren't able to give me satisfaction until I was able to speak with their ADA specialist.

edit: realized I didn't really respond to the OP, just the situation in general. I agree that the only way to change things is to make noise - sending well-written letters detailing concerns can actually work if sent to the right people in quantity.
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Last edited by Virga; January 26th, 2013 at 07:01 PM.
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  #14  
Old January 27th, 2013, 08:19 AM
Captain Beefheart Captain Beefheart is offline
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Hi Virga,will be interesting to read .
I have found the ADA/DDA specalists helpful in certain ways booking shower chairs, equipment advice etc: but have no authority to introduce changes.
i was in contact by letter, email and telephone with a major US cruise company with the head of the disability management about the possability of introducing modifications such as extra drop down rails etc: to H/C,W/A cabins,the idea was to fit them to existing ships has they can in for refits and being standard for new ships.This had been agreed in correspondence, 12 months of hard work justified, until the first ships came in for refits and further correspondance reveiled that this was no longer going to take place, this is the sort of problems we come accross. Usual thing, just a single person writing so cruise lines class this as a induvidual problem and dissmiss it.
I have also found that the cruise lines tend to conform to whichever legislation suits them best ,what is needed are regulations covering all cruise lines and their ships irrespective of where the ships are sailing to and from and where those ships are registered.
The more members we can encourage to voice their concerns the better i hope the likes of yourself will be able to support and keep pushing for changes. Thanks
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  #15  
Old January 27th, 2013, 09:21 AM
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Chunky2219 Chunky2219 is offline
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I've only had one experience of writing to the CEO of a cruise line and it was a deeply disappointing experience.

At one stop it was a working port and we were obliged to use shuttle buses rather than walk. Two wheelchair accessible mini-buses were laid on, going straight into the centre of town, a different location to where the normal sized coaches were going. We made arrangements with the driver for a collection at the same place at about 2:30pm for a 6pm sailing.

By 4pm, there was a crowd of about 15-20 wheelchair users and scooter jockeys, plus their companions but no transport. Remember that each mini-bus took 4 chairs and 4 companions. Mild panic was setting in and eventually only one bus returned. Some people went off to find the conventional coaches, others had to wait. All of us made it back to the ship eventually. I'm still fuming about it two years later.

So I wrote to the UK MD of the line. A man whose face is everywhere on the brochures, almost begging for feedback. The first reply came from a lackey and addessed none of the complaints and points I had made. So I persevered. The second reply came back saying basically, tough luck, we depend on the locals.

I'm all in favour of whatever we can do to get a better experience and better recognition of our needs. But it's going ot be a long hard road!
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  #16  
Old January 27th, 2013, 11:43 AM
Captain Beefheart Captain Beefheart is offline
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Hi Chunky, i can understand you being disappointed with the response to your letter,again it comes down to be dismissed by the cruise line as just one individual complaining. Maybe if all the passengers had contacted the MD you may well of received a better outcome.
Because the lack of legislation in the Euopean cruise industry and to a slightly lesser degree in the US it seems as though the cruise companies just ignore customers complaints something that would not happen in any other private sector industry.
I asked the forum management, on the suggestion of another member if we would be able to set up a petition for members to sign if they had had problems that had been dissused on the forum but kept reappearing due to the fact that no changes had taken place, but was told this is not allowed.
It is said by the management that the major cruise lines moniter the forum if this is the case lets hear from the cruise lines about what they intend to do about sorting out members problems.
I ask all members for their support.
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  #17  
Old January 27th, 2013, 01:20 PM
Virga Virga is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiona 2 View Post
Hi Virga,will be interesting to read .
I have found the ADA/DDA specalists helpful in certain ways booking shower chairs, equipment advice etc: but have no authority to introduce changes.
i was in contact by letter, email and telephone with a major US cruise company with the head of the disability management about the possability of introducing modifications such as extra drop down rails etc: to H/C,W/A cabins,the idea was to fit them to existing ships has they can in for refits and being standard for new ships.This had been agreed in correspondence, 12 months of hard work justified, until the first ships came in for refits and further correspondance reveiled that this was no longer going to take place, this is the sort of problems we come accross. Usual thing, just a single person writing so cruise lines class this as a induvidual problem and dissmiss it.
I have also found that the cruise lines tend to conform to whichever legislation suits them best ,what is needed are regulations covering all cruise lines and their ships irrespective of where the ships are sailing to and from and where those ships are registered.
The more members we can encourage to voice their concerns the better i hope the likes of yourself will be able to support and keep pushing for changes. Thanks
I am hopeful that the things I'm writing about will help some people to cruise who thought - for a variety of reasons - that it wasn't feasible.

I had an eye opening experience recently with Celebrity - tried to book an accessible room for my father. Asked for an oceanview, to participate in the promotion. They only had a suite available - less than a month before sailing - and it took three days to reach a person who was willing to review the HC cabin bookings to move an AB from one of them. What bothered me most was the constant refusal to give me anything in writing at any point - but of course they don't want to give me something that proves outright that they're violating legislation. I was given blatantly incorrect information over and over, but noone - not even resolutions - would take the responsibility to admit it in writing.

In the end, the ADA specialist (not just a special needs staffer) for X/RCCL was great - even had a few suggestions for my dad, and sent some private photos of the actual cabin he ended up in. He apologized for the runaround and gave me all his contact information for any future problems. I feel confident that he would always do everything possible to make it work, at least in part because he knows that I am well aware of my father's rights here. He is also a very compassionate man, who seems to feel real satisfaction with being able to help folks with limitations enjoy their trip to the fullest.

That said, it is obvious that they only have him for situations where people intend to exercise their rights - if you either don't know you have them, don't know their implications, or don't fight for them... Well, if my dad didn't have a firecracker for a daughter, he wouldn't be on this cruise.


And that's only having to do with booking and pricing! Don't even get me started on how DUMB it is that X appears to have no intention of partially modifying any standard staterooms to try to relieve the demand for fully accessible cabins. I don't much like how Carnival lumps them together, but I wholeheartedly support the concept. If space is the premium that 'costs too much' to add more accessible cabins, why not retrofit standard cabins? My dad doesn't need the space this cruise - actually, large open rooms are pretty difficult for him - but does need extra grab bars, a higher toilet, a sturdy seat in the shower, reduced lips in thresholds.. some of the features that are ONLY available in the fully accessible cabins. It's ludicrous that they wouldn't at LEAST add additional handrails, I don't think they'd even have to reserve those as accessible cabins.

The regulations are good for certain purposes - preventing price discrimination, ensuring HC cabins are held for folks with limitations that require them - but that's pretty much the only sway the US has on these foreign ships. Demand is going to have to drive the addition of more accessible cabins.

Unfortunately, everything I'm learning is only valid for cruises sailing from US ports - I agree that it would be optimal to have a set of umbrella legislation, but I do understand why it is untenable. I think the only solution right now is for it to be made apparent to the lines that modification is in their own financial best interests. That's where the OP's idea comes in - I think a lot of folks with limitations are so used to working around obstacles that they don't complain often enough when they've been slighted. Sure, a single letter can be overlooked, but how else will companies know that they're shooting themselves in the foot if we aren't all providing feedback? Many people articulating the same issues - with money to spend elsewhere - is likely going to be the only thing that brings real changes.
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  #18  
Old January 27th, 2013, 02:15 PM
Ians Grandma Ians Grandma is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Virga View Post
I am hopeful that the things I'm writing about will help some people to cruise who thought - for a variety of reasons - that it wasn't feasible.

I had an eye opening experience recently with Celebrity - tried to book an accessible room for my father. Asked for an oceanview, to participate in the promotion. They only had a suite available - less than a month before sailing - and it took three days to reach a person who was willing to review the HC cabin bookings to move an AB from one of them. What bothered me most was the constant refusal to give me anything in writing at any point - but of course they don't want to give me something that proves outright that they're violating legislation. I was given blatantly incorrect information over and over, but noone - not even resolutions - would take the responsibility to admit it in writing.

In the end, the ADA specialist (not just a special needs staffer) for X/RCCL was great - even had a few suggestions for my dad, and sent some private photos of the actual cabin he ended up in. He apologized for the runaround and gave me all his contact information for any future problems. I feel confident that he would always do everything possible to make it work, at least in part because he knows that I am well aware of my father's rights here. He is also a very compassionate man, who seems to feel real satisfaction with being able to help folks with limitations enjoy their trip to the fullest.

That said, it is obvious that they only have him for situations where people intend to exercise their rights - if you either don't know you have them, don't know their implications, or don't fight for them... Well, if my dad didn't have a firecracker for a daughter, he wouldn't be on this cruise.


And that's only having to do with booking and pricing! Don't even get me started on how DUMB it is that X appears to have no intention of partially modifying any standard staterooms to try to relieve the demand for fully accessible cabins. I don't much like how Carnival lumps them together, but I wholeheartedly support the concept. If space is the premium that 'costs too much' to add more accessible cabins, why not retrofit standard cabins? My dad doesn't need the space this cruise - actually, large open rooms are pretty difficult for him - but does need extra grab bars, a higher toilet, a sturdy seat in the shower, reduced lips in thresholds.. some of the features that are ONLY available in the fully accessible cabins. It's ludicrous that they wouldn't at LEAST add additional handrails, I don't think they'd even have to reserve those as accessible cabins.

The regulations are good for certain purposes - preventing price discrimination, ensuring HC cabins are held for folks with limitations that require them - but that's pretty much the only sway the US has on these foreign ships. Demand is going to have to drive the addition of more accessible cabins.

Unfortunately, everything I'm learning is only valid for cruises sailing from US ports - I agree that it would be optimal to have a set of umbrella legislation, but I do understand why it is untenable. I think the only solution right now is for it to be made apparent to the lines that modification is in their own financial best interests. That's where the OP's idea comes in - I think a lot of folks with limitations are so used to working around obstacles that they don't complain often enough when they've been slighted. Sure, a single letter can be overlooked, but how else will companies know that they're shooting themselves in the foot if we aren't all providing feedback? Many people articulating the same issues - with money to spend elsewhere - is likely going to be the only thing that brings real changes.
I agree with you. I have thought the same thing about cruise lines making more cabins that work for those passengers that don't need the larger turnaround spaces but do need the grab bars, etc.
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  #19  
Old January 27th, 2013, 02:26 PM
Captain Beefheart Captain Beefheart is offline
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Hi You have just summed up the problems that disabled passengers are facing. The cruise lines always site either cost or health and safety as the reason for not doing anything. My reason for starting this post is to try and get members to realise that until we all make our voices heard by contacting the companies direct they will continue to ignore us and do nothing. Any suggestions from anyone as to how we members can take matters forward would be most welcome.
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  #20  
Old January 27th, 2013, 02:56 PM
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mdvlprof mdvlprof is online now
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Originally Posted by DisneyKidsDad View Post
I want just the opposite. I want to be able to book a "regular" H/C balcony cabin for myself, my wife & my daughter and not have to go to a junior suit. Disney does it. Why can't everyone else?
Yup. Part of the reason DCL is not much more expensive for us. Don't have to shell out $$ for mini-suite, just so family will fit.
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