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  #1  
Old April 24th, 2012, 02:05 PM
sdschwrt sdschwrt is offline
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Default DOT ADA rules

Have the DOT rules for ADA compliance on cruise ships gone into effect. It appears that the publication in the federal register July 6,2010 were the effective date of new rules governing ADA compliance for cruise ships but I just wanted to make sure.

https://www.civilrights.dot.gov/site...Accessible.pdf

Do cruiselines now have to have a CRO, complaint resolution officer on board or do they do it by phone.

Will be cruising soon and am anticipating some issues that might need CRO.

I apologise if this has been covered before.
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  #2  
Old April 24th, 2012, 08:07 PM
PBC29 PBC29 is offline
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Originally Posted by sdschwrt View Post

Do cruiselines now have to have a CRO, complaint resolution officer on board or do they do it by phone.

Will be cruising soon and am anticipating some issues that might need CRO.

.
Haven't seen anyone with that title onboard as of yet but never had many issues which would need one to be called.

What issues are you anticipating?
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  #3  
Old April 25th, 2012, 06:08 PM
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Never had problems with accessability on cruise ships. Only issue we had was when a front wheel broke on DS wheelchair. Their mechanics tried to fix it, and when they couldn't, lent us a wheelchair [so DH could scavenge the wheel].
You're expecting problems??
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  #4  
Old April 25th, 2012, 07:47 PM
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I travel with a Service Dog and sometimes a DH in a wheel chair and, aside from the occasional rude person who will always try to push past or crowd into an elevator [practically sitting on your head], the ships themselves are more than willing to try and please and accomodate you.

They have electric doors, wider entrances, people who will assist in pushing you, people who will assist in any way they can, devices for the hearing impaired and the most helpful and kind hearted people to make sure that your cruise is your best vacation ever.

I don't know what you think you may need to "resolve" while onboard but we find the Hotel Manager's to be the best in the business and this would include most of the major cruise lines.

Since I've received my Service Dog I've decided that cruising will be my vacation of choice. It's just so darn easy and so much fun!
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  #5  
Old April 25th, 2012, 09:37 PM
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I have cruised frequently to lots of different places including Europe, Hawaii, Caribbean, and Panama Canal. It is very easy to cruise with mobility problems. I have been able to continue traveling as my disability has increased.
If you expect you may have a problem, I suggest e-mailing the special needs or access desk at the cruise line you will be using and describe what you need or the problems you are afraid you will run into. They can help you. Expectations that you have may need to be adjusted. For example there will not be assistance to help you bathe or change clothes. If you need that type of assistance you will need to bring someone with you to assist with personal care. Are you concerned about tendering? If you cannot walk at all you may not be able to tender and you definitely will not be tendering if the seas are a little bit rough even if the able bodied can do that. The cruise line cannot control your fellow cruisers. Some may act rudely. I've met disabled people who I consider rude. In all my time cruising I have only met one person employed by the ship who needed an attitude adjustment. I love cruising. I hope you will also.
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  #6  
Old April 26th, 2012, 01:43 AM
sdschwrt sdschwrt is offline
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Thank you for the responses.
Without going into detail, on a previous cruise on this line, we found areas of the lido and dinning room were inaccessible with a wheelchair resulting in a limited number of seating possibilities. I am concerned that with walk up dinning on a similarly designed ship, we may encounter excessive waits simply because a table that can be reached by wheelchair will be unavailable. We would have to wait for the accessible table to be available as the alternative which is not something I would do is to disturb other dinners asking them to move so we could pass. This was in fact an issue the first night of our March cruise on a different line and the solution they used was unacceptable to the special needs office of the current cruise line. Should we encounter this problem, I would like a quick fix which a CRO and ADA would provide rather than dealing with the front desk that can be obstructionist rather than problem solving.
Examples:
On our March cruise we had booked a tour to Harrisons caves in Barbados which was described as accessible. When I checked at tour desk they laughed and said if you can get there it is accessible. To make a long story short, could not see hotel director front desk supervisor would handle first saying statement of accessible was in boat brochure not online where I booked, accessible simply means easy, to finnaly requiring vendor to allow foldable transport chair onto bus where it was strapped with bungi cord onto rail by driver with enough room for people to get on and off. As it is difficult for my wife to climb onto many buses, we also wanted to walk from boat to terminal and needed again to negotiate allowance to do this even though easy acess van unavailable. I could actually get to terminal faster than provided transportation.
CRO vs hotel director. If there ever is a problem a CRO is much better for resolution as it implies an ADA violation. Cancun airport. Plane boarding delayed and a bus is needed to get to the plane and again because of steps, a stairchair or lift needed for boarding. Gate agent refused to board passangers requiring assistance first which would make walking down aisle to seat difficult. Adamant refusal. I requested to speak to CRO and within minutes, boarding stopped, supervisor/CRO arrives and all passangers needing assistance boarded with as much help as needed.
Hope this is making sense as I am fairly tired but I think it provides examples of why CRO much better for problem resolution if needed.
Finnaly, I realize the problems I anticipate will probably never materialize but I feel better anticipating the worst and not have my fears realized rather than encountering an unexpected situation.
I agree with all the posters that cruislines go out of their way to make the vacation experience as worry free as possible and it is one of the best ways to vacation with mobility concerns. I do find it tiresome having to shortstop when someone jumps in front of us and somtimes having to put my arm on someones back as they suddenly start to back up into us.
Finnaly finnaly. We do travel extensively in the Caribbean and Mexico and have not found a place or attraction we could not reach by wheelchair except flights of stairs and extremely steep hills. We normally walk from the ship into town as it allows me to eat more and stay fit. We find residents of places we visit extremely gracious. For example, we routinely leave the fenced area in Belize and walk around never feeling uneasy in contrast to the cruise line warnings. We are never aggresively approached by anyone. On numerous occasions when sidewalks abrubtly end. People actually come over and carry the wheelchair and my wife to the next paved area.
I apologize for unclear logic and poor spelling as I am tired and being overly verbose.
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  #7  
Old April 27th, 2012, 07:48 PM
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In answer to your question, no we still don't have access guidelines for cruise ships. Yes they are covered under the ADA, and the rules that you refer to are the DOT's "non-discrimination" rules. They are very basic, but needed to be codified. They include things like not denying passage to disabled passengers and not charging them extra for accessible rooms. The US Access Board is charged with actually creating the access guidelines for cruise ships and they have been at this since 2004. I have no idea when they will be released -- I was expecting them years ago.And once they are released they will only apply to newly built or newly designed ships, usually 6 moths or so from the publication date.

And non there is no requirement for a CRO or the like, but many cruise lines have access departments. Additionally Air Travel is covered under the ACAA, not the ADA but it is overseen by the DOT, and to some extent the FAA.

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  #8  
Old April 28th, 2012, 11:00 AM
xxoocruiser xxoocruiser is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdschwrt View Post
Thank you for the responses.
Without going into detail, on a previous cruise on this line, we found areas of the lido and dinning room were inaccessible with a wheelchair resulting in a limited number of seating possibilities. I am concerned that with walk up dinning on a similarly designed ship, we may encounter excessive waits simply because a table that can be reached by wheelchair will be unavailable. We would have to wait for the accessible table to be available as the alternative which is not something I would do is to disturb other dinners asking them to move so we could pass. This was in fact an issue the first night of our March cruise on a different line and the solution they used was unacceptable to the special needs office of the current cruise line. Should we encounter this problem, I would like a quick fix which a CRO and ADA would provide rather than dealing with the front desk that can be obstructionist rather than problem solving.
Examples:
On our March cruise we had booked a tour to Harrisons caves in Barbados which was described as accessible. When I checked at tour desk they laughed and said if you can get there it is accessible. To make a long story short, could not see hotel director front desk supervisor would handle first saying statement of accessible was in boat brochure not online where I booked, accessible simply means easy, to finnaly requiring vendor to allow foldable transport chair onto bus where it was strapped with bungi cord onto rail by driver with enough room for people to get on and off. As it is difficult for my wife to climb onto many buses, we also wanted to walk from boat to terminal and needed again to negotiate allowance to do this even though easy acess van unavailable. I could actually get to terminal faster than provided transportation.
CRO vs hotel director. If there ever is a problem a CRO is much better for resolution as it implies an ADA violation. Cancun airport. Plane boarding delayed and a bus is needed to get to the plane and again because of steps, a stairchair or lift needed for boarding. Gate agent refused to board passangers requiring assistance first which would make walking down aisle to seat difficult. Adamant refusal. I requested to speak to CRO and within minutes, boarding stopped, supervisor/CRO arrives and all passangers needing assistance boarded with as much help as needed.
Hope this is making sense as I am fairly tired but I think it provides examples of why CRO much better for problem resolution if needed.
Finnaly, I realize the problems I anticipate will probably never materialize but I feel better anticipating the worst and not have my fears realized rather than encountering an unexpected situation.
I agree with all the posters that cruislines go out of their way to make the vacation experience as worry free as possible and it is one of the best ways to vacation with mobility concerns. I do find it tiresome having to shortstop when someone jumps in front of us and somtimes having to put my arm on someones back as they suddenly start to back up into us.
Finnaly finnaly. We do travel extensively in the Caribbean and Mexico and have not found a place or attraction we could not reach by wheelchair except flights of stairs and extremely steep hills. We normally walk from the ship into town as it allows me to eat more and stay fit. We find residents of places we visit extremely gracious. For example, we routinely leave the fenced area in Belize and walk around never feeling uneasy in contrast to the cruise line warnings. We are never aggresively approached by anyone. On numerous occasions when sidewalks abrubtly end. People actually come over and carry the wheelchair and my wife to the next paved area.
I apologize for unclear logic and poor spelling as I am tired and being overly verbose.
Fully understand your concerns however you need to understand that if the DOT regulations you referred to in your post ever do get approved they would only apply to the Cruise Ship it self. It would still not change the fact there will always be accessable issues when traveling outside the USA as ADA Laws only apply to the USA. You would still need to seek out your own accessable tranportation/tours at the port.

Specifically regarding dining : The time to addess dining table accessibility issue is immediately after boarding. Proceed to the dining room and check out your table location. If not suitable than ask the Matre'D change the location to suit your accessible needs.
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  #9  
Old April 28th, 2012, 11:30 AM
xxoocruiser xxoocruiser is offline
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My pervious post timed out before I could edit it.

IMHO - one of the problems is that people are so quick to shout ADA Vioation when in fact they do not fully understand how ADA law works, as demonstrated in the OP's comment about the Cancun airport.
  • ADA Law only applies to the USA
  • Does not apply to countries outside the USA
  • Nor does ADA LawTransfer with a USA citizen when traveling outside the USA.
Further more most people who shout "ADA Violation" have never read the complete Law. In most part ADA Law only gives the person the right to ask for a reasonal accommodation to be made provided it does not cause any undue adminstrative and or financial burden/hardship to the facility or program that receives the request. This link is very helpful in understandin this :http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/accommodation.html
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  #10  
Old April 29th, 2012, 01:46 AM
sdschwrt sdschwrt is offline
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I am well aware of the ADA limitations applying within the US and not to foreign nations. The DOT regulations regarding air travel may not have applied to the Cancun airport but when I asked for the CRO a supervisor did appear and we received first on boarding. What you seem to fail to concede is that in some conditions, service providers want good PR and they will follow the same procedures if requested that we're applicable on the outbound flight from the US. When asked, they provided the appropriate boarding in a foreign country.
In regard to accessible transport, we did not need a lift equipped vehicle but simply a vendor who would place the folding wheelchair in their van. We travel out of country on cruises nd to Mexico 3-4 times a year and we have never had a tour provider or independent transport be unable to transport our lightweight foldable transport chair. The cruise line contracts with tour providers and has a lot of clout in specifying the terms of the contract which I feel should include a requirement to provide space for foldable wheelchairs. I do not think it is unreasonable to expect the cruise lines to require their outside contractors to accommodate those with disabilities especially when it can be done at little cost. My guess is that if I had simply appeared at the tour checking point the tour operator would have placed the wheelchair on the van as has always been done rather than turn us away. The problem arose when I inquired if it could be done involving the ship tour desk who worry about precedents.
The only reason the ADA is required is that businesses must be forced to do what is right. We can be proactive and I have found that there are cases, Cancun airport for example, where the right thing will be done even if not technically required by law!
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  #11  
Old April 29th, 2012, 09:21 AM
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We always look to see what Wheelchair Excursions are provided on the ships we cruise on. Guess what there are not many if at all and when we ask at the tour desk sometimes their meaning of Accessible means a few steps onto a bus or can you transfer into a safari bus (pickup truck). When your in a chair you enjoy the things you can do and blow off the things you cannot do. Sometime a smile and being polite will get you further than quoting regulations that have nothing to do with where you are. Some people who are handicapped shout it out and are looking for special treatment, not me I want to be just like everone else but I just can't walk. If you see me on a cruise I will not be hard to spot, I am always smiling
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  #12  
Old April 29th, 2012, 10:17 AM
xxoocruiser xxoocruiser is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdschwrt View Post
I am well aware of the ADA limitations applying within the US and not to foreign nations. The DOT regulations regarding air travel may not have applied to the Cancun airport but when I asked for the CRO a supervisor did appear and we received first on boarding.What you fail to understand is that Air Travel is covered under the AIR CARRIER ACCESS ACT otherwise know as ACCA. The CRO appeared because it's a requirement of ACCA . DOT Regulations nor ADA Law have nothing to do with this process. Here's the link http://www.ilru.org/dlrp/html/public...airtravel.html

What you seem to fail to concede is that in some conditions, service providers want good PR and they will follow the same procedures if requested that we're applicable on the outbound flight from the US. When asked, they provided the appropriate boarding in a foreign country.
Fully understand that providers want good PR . PR was never an issue in either your OP nor my Previoujs Post. The situation you expereinced was clearly a matter of the Gate Agent not understanding or not wanting to take the time to comply with the AIR CARRIER ACCESS ACT which is why the CRO than appeared upon your request.

In regard to accessible transport, we did not need a lift equipped vehicle but simply a vendor who would place the folding wheelchair in their van. We travel out of country on cruises nd to Mexico 3-4 times a year and we have never had a tour provider or independent transport be unable to transport our lightweight foldable transport chair. The cruise line contracts with tour providers and has a lot of clout in specifying the terms of the contract which I feel should include a requirement to provide space for foldable wheelchairs. I do not think it is unreasonable to expect the cruise lines to require their outside contractors to accommodate those with disabilities especially when it can be done at little cost. Cruise lines may have clout but the cruise lines have no legal ground to stand on to require that all their vendors in foreign ports provide accessible transportation...... whether it be a wheelchair lift or have a luggage hold area to stow a scooter.

Don't understand why you say that it could be done at little cost ? The initial cost of accessible transportation is extremely expensive and would certainly cause undue financial hardship for the small independent local tour agents in these small ports of call as a Cruise line can drop that port of call at any time making it a poor investment for the tour agent.

My guess is that if I had simply appeared at the tour checking point the tour operator would have placed the wheelchair on the van as has always been done rather than turn us away. Yes you could have done that but many tour providers will still refuse the stowing of your scooter in the luggage hold due to insurance issues. Have personally seen this happen on jujst about every cruise I've been on since becoming disabled. So it's alway at your own risk it you do this.

The problem arose when I inquired if it could be done involving the ship tour desk who worry about precedents.
The only reason the ADA is required is that businesses must be forced to do what is right. We can be proactive and I have found that there are cases, Cancun airport for example, where the right thing will be done even if not technically required by law! Technically is was required by Law though you seem to fail to understand that. The right thing was done in the Cancun Airport because it was mandated by the AIR CARRIER TRAVELERS ACT ( ACCA)
Again it come back to people not fully understanding what laws apply to what situation when it come to accessible travel. In case you're wondering yes I'm disabled, use a scooter and sometimes confront the same issues. However I'm proactive by fully understanding what laws apply to what situation if needed.

Last edited by xxoocruiser; April 29th, 2012 at 10:18 AM.
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Old April 29th, 2012, 10:55 AM
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Quick and simply put...
Why would you plan a cruise anticipating a problem?
We have cruised with DD several times (as well as done tours, etc) and she is fully dependant upon us for her every need, we have never had to wait for a accessable table in the dining room (unless we asked for a specific table, then of course, like everyone else, we would have to wait). We have done many tours and I research those tours BEFORE we leave to be sure they are accessable. It has certainly not taken me long to realize that what is accessable for one, may not be for another! We have cruised with Disney, NCL and RCI and thay have all, IMO, gone above and beyone to be sure everything is perfect for our family! Thank You cruise lines!
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Old April 29th, 2012, 11:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NEcruisers???? View Post
Quick and simply put...
Why would you plan a cruise anticipating a problem?
We have cruised with DD several times (as well as done tours, etc) and she is fully dependant upon us for her every need, we have never had to wait for a accessable table in the dining room (unless we asked for a specific table, then of course, like everyone else, we would have to wait). We have done many tours and I research those tours BEFORE we leave to be sure they are accessable. It has certainly not taken me long to realize that what is accessable for one, may not be for another! We have cruised with Disney, NCL and RCI and thay have all, IMO, gone above and beyone to be sure everything is perfect for our family! Thank You cruise lines!
Well said ! Totally agree !
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Old April 29th, 2012, 01:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NEcruisers???? View Post
Quick and simply put...
Why would you plan a cruise anticipating a problem?
We have cruised with DD several times (as well as done tours, etc) and she is fully dependant upon us for her every need, we have never had to wait for a accessable table in the dining room (unless we asked for a specific table, then of course, like everyone else, we would have to wait). We have done many tours and I research those tours BEFORE we leave to be sure they are accessable. It has certainly not taken me long to realize that what is accessable for one, may not be for another! We have cruised with Disney, NCL and RCI and thay have all, IMO, gone above and beyone to be sure everything is perfect for our family! Thank You cruise lines!
Exactly. DS[21] is total dependant. If head waiter knows we are coming at XX time, they even try to hold a table open for us. Usually do private tours, and some places, can't because there are no local drivers with a HC van/bus.
A smile and a kind word seems to get everything we need [that is within cruiseline's power].
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Old April 29th, 2012, 01:52 PM
sdschwrt sdschwrt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xxoocruiser View Post
My pervious post timed out before I could edit it.

IMHO - one of the problems is that people are so quick to shout ADA Vioation when in fact they do not fully understand how ADA law works, as demonstrated in the OP's comment about the Cancun airport.

[*]Does not apply to countries outside the USA[*]Nor does ADA LawTransfer with a USA citizen when traveling outside the USA.[/list]

What you fail to understand is that Air Travel is covered under the AIR CARRIER ACCESS ACT otherwise know as ACCA. The CRO appeared because it's a requirement of ACCA . DOT Regulations nor ADA Law have nothing to do with this process. Here's the link http://www.ilru.org/dlrp/html/public...airtravel.html



The situation you expereinced was clearly a matter of the Gate Agent not understanding or not wanting to take the time to comply with the AIR CARRIER ACCESS ACT which is why the CRO than appeared upon your request.

Quote:
Originally Posted by xxoocruiser View Post
Again it come back to people not fully understanding what laws apply to what situation when it come to accessible travel. In case you're wondering yes I'm disabled, use a scooter and sometimes confront the same issues. However I'm proactive by fully understanding what laws apply to what situation if needed.
As you are an expert on what is covered by each of the multitude of regulations governing accessibility issues while I simply know my rights without being able to differentiate if they are granted by the ADA or Air Carrier Access Act, am I correct in concluding from your post that it is only the ADA that in your words "Does not apply to countries outside the USA" while the air Carrier Access Act does?

Believe it or not, one can fully understand their rights without being able to cite specific
statutes/ regulations and by being proactive can obtain these rights under conditions that perhaps (depending on which of your assertions regarding Cancun coverage is correct) are not mandated.
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Old April 29th, 2012, 02:14 PM
sdschwrt sdschwrt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NEcruisers???? View Post
Quick and simply put...
Why would you plan a cruise anticipating a problem?
We have cruised with DD several times (as well as done tours, etc) and she is fully dependant upon us for her every need, we have never had to wait for a accessable table in the dining room (unless we asked for a specific table, then of course, like everyone else, we would have to wait).
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdvlprof View Post
Exactly. DS[21] is total dependant. If head waiter knows we are coming at XX time, they even try to hold a table open for us. Usually do private tours, and some places, can't because there are no local drivers with a HC van/bus.
A smile and a kind word seems to get everything we need [that is within cruiseline's power].

George Santana said: "Those who can not remember the past are condemned to repeat it"

We are sailing on a ship of the same class that we sailed on a few years ago. On the previous cruise we had a long talk with the hotel director and captain. They admitted major accessibility problems making the statement that when large people are seated in the two tops down the center aisle the waiter can not get by let alone a wheelchair. This suggests to me that there will be a limited number of wheelchair accessible tables.

As has been done for one poster, we requested from special needs whether they can hold a table for us if we will come at a certain time and we were told this can not be done. Was done in March on a different cruise line. For me, I would rather prepare for eventuality that I will have to wait longer for seating than able bodied due to limited number of tables we can use than have it come as a total surprise. By being able to formulate problem solving strategy prior to occurrence, there is more likelihood of successful outcome and of preventing this from being a problem for others. I do not expect special treatment but simply equal treatment.
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Old April 29th, 2012, 03:22 PM
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[quote=sdschwrt;33561920]As you are an expert on what is covered by each of the multitude of regulations governing accessibility issues while I simply know my rights without being able to differentiate if they are granted by the ADA or Air Carrier Access Act, am I correct in concluding from your post that it is only the ADA that in your words "Does not apply to countries outside the USA" while the air Carrier Access Act does?

I wasn't the original poster, but I can answer that. The ADA only applies to places in the US, and (for now) the anti-discrimination laws on crusie ships. There are no access standards developed yet for cruise ships dockin at US ports.

The ACAA applies to flights on US Carriers, and to flights on foreign carriers to and from the US. It should be noted that if there is a connection it is not covered. SO if you fly from NY to Paris with a stop in London on a foreign air carrier, only the New York to London segment is covered. It should be noted that some aspects of the the ACAA (like accessible restrooms) only apply to newer planes in regards to foreign carriers.

And no, to the original question, there is no requirement for a CRO, nor has this issue ever been brought up in the rulemaking process. So far the proposed rules don't address shore excursions, as most are operated by foreign contractors.

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Old April 29th, 2012, 04:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NEcruisers???? View Post
Quick and simply put...
Why would you plan a cruise anticipating a problem?
We have cruised with DD several times (as well as done tours, etc) and she is fully dependant upon us for her every need, we have never had to wait for a accessable table in the dining room (unless we asked for a specific table, then of course, like everyone else, we would have to wait). We have done many tours and I research those tours BEFORE we leave to be sure they are accessable. It has certainly not taken me long to realize that what is accessable for one, may not be for another! We have cruised with Disney, NCL and RCI and thay have all, IMO, gone above and beyone to be sure everything is perfect for our family! Thank You cruise lines!
I also agree. I have been in a chair for a long while, and have never had a bad cruise. I have researched and found out what I can do where. I have also been in every area of the dining rooms on different ships and have never had a problem getting to them. I am able to transfer into the regular dinning room chair, but I still have to get my wheelchair to that point. I tour where I can and the rest of the time we just wander around or stay on the ship and enjoy it.
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  #20  
Old April 29th, 2012, 08:45 PM
DesrtDrmr's Avatar
DesrtDrmr DesrtDrmr is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2001
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If you book traditional dining on your cruise, and make sure on the first day that your table is accessible to you by discussing same with Maitred, you would be seated every evening at the same accessible table. We book any time dining and I stay on my scooter. On our last cruise, at the beginning of April, we discussed table availability with the head waiter on the first evening, and he assigned us a table which we had every evening waiting for us. He even turned a four top into a two top for us because it was in such a convenient location. It was first thought (by the head waiter) that I could drive to table, leave my scooter, and climb a step on to the raised area. I could not, so arrangements were made to accomodate me and made the dining room a very welcoming place for us. I do hope that your future cruises will be more convenient for you.
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