Able bodied in disabled cabins

Disabled Cruise Travel
Cruisers with physical limitations share their advice & experiences.
Cruise Critic Disabled Cruise Resources
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
All times are GMT -4.
The time now is 11:28 PM.
#1
United Kingdom
4 Posts
Joined Apr 2015
Cruise out of Miami on 15 March 2015 around the S. Caribbean.
Celebrity Eclipse.

My husband is a full time wheelchair user. I always have a HUGE amount of difficulty booking a disabled cabin. I never dreamed that able bodied cruisers would be allowed to book a disabled cabin - how wrong I was.
The couple in the cabin next to us, able bodied, had booked their disabled cabin 3104, with Celebrity Eclipse, over a year ago on the advice of their travel agent, as it is 'a much larger cabin'
The US couple on our table, 229, frequently booked either cabin 3102, our cabin, or 3104 as the cabins are bigger, they even quoted the sq2!

On returning to the UK I learned that a work colleague also booked disabled cabins, not sure which cruiseline, over 1 yr ahead as 'it is a larger cabin!'
The disabled traveller NEEDS a larger cabin to be able to access the bathroom, bed, etc. and in fact go on a cruise holiday.
How we would love to have a 'normal' sized cabin and ditch the wheelchair and MS. If only this were an option.
I am disgusted to learn that cruise companies are allowing able bodied travellers to book disabled cabins when there are so few disabled cabins available.
We have been on 10 cruises but this has put us off going again. No wonder it is so difficult to book a disabled cabin. I am disgusted to learn that cruise companies are treating disabled travellers with such disdain!
#2
6,978 Posts
Joined May 2009
As a result of the United States Supreme Court Rules on Spector et. al. VS Norwegian Cruise Lines. a Federal Law under the Department of Transportation ( commonly referred to as DOT) became effective on January 1, 2012 that requires that the cruise lines with ships embarking from the USA have to verify that the person occupying the cabin has a medical or physical need to book the cabin. Some of the key points to this new law are:

(g) To prevent fraud in the assignment of accessible cabins (e.g., attempts by individuals who do not have disabilities to reserve accessible cabins because they have greater space, you—
(1) Must inquire of persons seeking to reserve such cabins whether the individual (or an individual for whom the cabin is being reserved) has a mobility disability or a disability that requires the use of the accessible features that are provided in the cabin.
(2) May require a written attestation from the individual that accessible cabin is for a person who has a mobility disability or a disability that requires the use of the accessible features that are provided in the cabin.

Under this law the only times it's acceptable for an able body person to book an HC cabin is after the final payment period has past and any unsold HC cabins are than open to the general public for booking or if it's the last available cabin with the specific category. This law does not apply to cruises embarking from non-USA ports.

However as much as things have improved since 2012 regarding booking of Accessible cabins there are still flaws in the process. The main one is that the verification process only requires the passenger(s) to either check a box at tie of doing the on-line check-in certifying the need for the accessible cabin and or complete a special needs form. Due USA Federal Privacy laws the cruise lines are very limited as to what information they can request from the passenger. Therefore unfortunately there are still able body people that are willing to lie to get the larger room. You also have to take into consideration that not all disabilities are noticeable. There were many years that I'm certain other passengers questioned my need for an accessible cabin as I did not use any mobility items but did require the features of a zero-threshold bathroom/shower due to balance issues from MS. A

If the cruise line determines that the passenger(s) falsely certified the need for an accessible cabin than the cruise line can move the passenger(s) without notice to a standard cabin and or banned them all together from the cruise.
#3
Cambridgeshire
3,225 Posts
Joined Dec 2011
Sounds encouraging that some authorities are on to this dispicable practice by a minority of people. I feel that more needs to be done in particular in draughting the terms and conditions to make it a very risky thing to do where people are simply seeking a bigger cabin for the money.

Regards John
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
John Watson

Ships cruised on
RMS Queen Elizabeth, SS France, Oronsay, Oceana, Vision of the Seas, Caribbean Princess, Aurora,
Queen Mary 2, Star Flyer, Star Clipper, Grand Princess, Queen Elizabeth, Azura, Ruby Princess, Ventura, Diamond Princess, Britannia, Emerald Princess, Navigator of the Seas, Queen Victoria, Pacific Princess
#4
United Kingdom
4 Posts
Joined Apr 2015
Thankyou xxoocruiser for that useful information. I will contact DOT.

I appreciate that some disabilities are unseen but the woman in the HC cabin 3104 next to us actually told me that they did not need the cabin and felt a bit guilty having it but her travel agent told them to book it, over a year ago, as it is a larger cabin. They could have said no! Their greed nearly stopped us travelling, we had a last minute cancellation.
The couple on our table, both fully able bodied, always try and have booked 3102/4 HC cabins because they are bigger. Some people have no concience.
#5
GB
738 Posts
Joined Aug 2014
Hi,

I have a certain amount of sympathy for the cruise lines as they are sometimes between a rock and a hard place.

I am sailing from San Francisco in October and have booked an accessible cabin which I need, I booked this in the UK (which as most will know that there are similar disability laws in the UK but with differences). I received a letter from the cruise line asking for a letter from my doctor to prove that I needed the accessible cabin. I wrote back to them expressing how impressed I was with them in the fact that they were trying to ensure that the correct people were able to use these cabins but as my doctor would charge for this letter I felt that it was discriminatory for me to pay to prove that I am disabled, I also advised them that I would willingly provide them with a letter from my doctor but at their expense.

This was several months ago but I haven't heard anything from them.

Pete
#6
United Kingdom
4 Posts
Joined Apr 2015
Enforcer, sorry you have to pay for your GPs letter. We are in Wales and didn't have to pay.
It's bad enough having to pay for a larger cabin and missing out on cabin deals without extra payments.
If people take a disabled cabin without the need they should be fined double the cost of the cabin. That might put them off.

We would love to not need a disabled cabin with roll in shower.
#7
Ontario
146 Posts
Joined May 2006
We paid our physician for a letter several years ago ($25 Canadian, I believe) stating that the disability is permanent, requires a wheelchair, pre-boarding, accessible rooms, etc. We keep one copy in our documents when we travel, and our travel agent has a copy to provide when booking our cruises, flights, hotels etc. That letter has paid for itself many times over. Disney, RCI and HAL have requested proof that we need an accessible room. We were disappointed recently to learn that NCL does not ask for proof, and we were very lucky to be able to book a handicapped room for our Hawaiian cruise which is over two years away. Our agent said that NCL is known for not asking for proof of need, and therefore the accessible rooms sell-out immediately.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
RCI Navigator - Western - July 2004
Disney Wonder - April 2005
RCI Navigator - Eastern - July 2006
Disney Magic - April 2007
RCI Jewel - Eastern - March 2008
RCI Vision - Southern - March 2009
HAL Volendam - Alaska - Sept 2010
HAL Zaandam - Alaska land/sea - June 2015
NCL Price of America - Hawaii - May 2018
HAL Rotterdam - Panama Canal transit - Feb 2020
#8
United Kingdom
4 Posts
Joined Apr 2015
Strange how you/we have to provide such detailed information yet others, not in need of disabled cabins, are able to book without any question.
The cruise companies need to review their booking procedures, especially as some may be breaking US law.
#9
6,978 Posts
Joined May 2009
Originally posted by adisguise
Thankyou xxoocruiser for that useful information. I will contact DOT.

I appreciate that some disabilities are unseen but the woman in the HC cabin 3104 next to us actually told me that they did not need the cabin and felt a bit guilty having it but her travel agent told them to book it, over a year ago, as it is a larger cabin. They could have said no! Their greed nearly stopped us travelling, we had a last minute cancellation.
The couple on our table, both fully able bodied, always try and have booked 3102/4 HC cabins because they are bigger. Some people have no conscience.
Based on what 3104 cabin told you it can only be assumed that t they fraudulently falsified there need for an accessible cabin to RCCL which is a direct violation of the USA law since the cruise embarked from a USA port. If it had been me I might have left an anonymous at Guest Services a diving RCCL that the passengers in in that cabin were bragging how they booked an accessible cabin a year in advance while having not need.

As far as the other able body passenger at your table there is always the possibility that they originally booked a standard cabin than attempt to changed to an accessible cabin after the final period has past which is acceptable under USA law.
#10
Dartmouth NS
5,589 Posts
Joined Jun 2012
Interesting. Thank you for your insights. I have problems with mobility and have my disability permit with me, when we travel. Even so I still feel guilty driving into the handicap spaces and using the Accessible Cabins, as some days I am more mobile than others. I have my odd good days and mostly very bad weeks.
#11
easton pa
75 Posts
Joined Oct 2011
As the wife of an amputee...
1)maybe just because you can not see the disabilty does NOT mean it does not exsist!
2) that the aids available in the room are needed...even if you CAN'T tell by looking
3) maybe you can think of that before you assume you know someone's limits based on what you observe.
not everyone "shares" their private information.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
#12
6,978 Posts
Joined May 2009
Originally posted by Folk Singer
Interesting. Thank you for your insights. I have problems with mobility and have my disability permit with me, when we travel. Even so I still feel guilty driving into the handicap spaces and using the Accessible Cabins, as some days I am more mobile than others. I have my odd good days and mostly very bad weeks.
FYI - Parking Placards are generally not accepted as a proof of ones disability other than for it's primary use ... which is to park in a HC space. Reason being that there are unethical doctors that will fraudulently approve an HC Parking Placard application as well as HC Parking Placards are often easy to counterfeit. This isn't meant to imply that your placard wasn't properly obtained but rather to let you know that it's generally not accepted as proof of ones disability for these reasons.
#13
6,978 Posts
Joined May 2009
Originally posted by elle64
As the wife of an amputee...
1)maybe just because you can not see the disabilty does NOT mean it does not exsist!
2) that the aids available in the room are needed...even if you CAN'T tell by looking
3) maybe you can think of that before you assume you know someone's limits based on what you observe.
not everyone "shares" their private information.

Well stated !
#14
Lancashire
3,046 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
Originally posted by elle64
As the wife of an amputee...
1)maybe just because you can not see the disabilty does NOT mean it does not exsist!
2) that the aids available in the room are needed...even if you CAN'T tell by looking
3) maybe you can think of that before you assume you know someone's limits based on what you observe.
not everyone "shares" their private information.
Have you posted this on the wrong thread? The people getting stick on here are the ones who admit they are not disabled but book a disabled cabin because it's bigger. No-one is criticising genuinely disabled who don't look disabled.
#15
Dartmouth NS
5,589 Posts
Joined Jun 2012
Originally posted by xxoocruiser
FYI - Parking Placards are generally not accepted as a proof of ones disability other than for it's primary use ... which is to park in a HC space. Reason being that there are unethical doctors that will fraudulently approve an HC Parking Placard application as well as HC Parking Placards are often easy to counterfeit. This isn't meant to imply that your placard wasn't properly obtained but rather to let you know that it's generally not accepted as proof of ones disability for these reasons.

Wasn't what I was implying as having that permit with me as proof of disability.

Agree with you that some of the HC permits are questionable, but have to think that the system does work well in the greater picture of life. I take it with us when we travel to use if we rent a car on Holiday, as we usually do a TA and take time once we disembark to travel. As I suffer from severe Chronic Pain and use a cane; some days I am better than others and can get around while other days, well.

It is difficult as it is to get an HC Cabin without those who do brag of getting one when they really do not qualify for one. More stringent controls do need to be in place.

Agree with the other poster " Elle64" who was mentioning about not having someone comment, just because you do not look like you are disabled.

This will be the first time we have been able to get an HC cabin so we will see what transpires.
#16
easton pa
75 Posts
Joined Oct 2011
Just to be clear...I was saying that to some it may appear that we DO NOT have a handicap ..a reason for the larger room....maybe NCL should be more careful when booking these limited rooms.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
#17
1,610 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
I have had an hc cabin on ncl,x,princess and have a reservation for rci and ncl....not one question of why I need the cabin nor request for any proof.....I could easily provide it...
#18
St. Petersburg, Florida
471 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
While I agree that it would be a hassle to have to provide a Doctor's note justifying the need for the cabin - we would happily provide one. Especially since that is one of the only ways we could help the cruise ship keep the cabins for those who really need them.

I don't understand the resistance to providing documentation of your disability. To me its no different than having to put up the handicapped placard on the car when parking in a disabled space.
#19
North Norfolk
3 Posts
Joined Oct 2014
I have had hemiplegia (CP) since birth and I am a partial wheelchair user. At home I have a level access shower so when I go on a cruise I can cope in a standard cabin because I know there are people who need a disable cabin more.
I have only had a disabled cabin on RCI but got a few looks. On ship I use a walker but am often seen as abled bodied. I am on Britannia at weekend ( May) and I would love to use the pools and I know there is a hoist. I have been told that only full time wheelchair users can us it. Even when you obviously have a disability people don't see it.

Yes I have come across people who have a disabled cabin and are abled bodied and I do not find it offensive to prove I am disabled after all I have nothing to hide.
#20
Cambridgeshire
3,225 Posts
Joined Dec 2011
Originally posted by Enforcer
I felt that it was discriminatory for me to pay to prove that I am disabled, I also advised them that I would willingly provide them with a letter from my doctor but at their expense.

This was several months ago but I haven't heard anything from them.

Pete
It is a pity you took this hard line on the issue with a cruise line which was trying to insure fair play on this problem. The cost of a doctor's letter would be about £30 I should think which is a very small amount when you consider that it would be valid for many cruises thereafter the first. Many people in the UK get special financial allowances because they are disabled; and rightly so, and in many cases these special payouts are in place to try and address the additional expense of coping with a disability.

Regards John
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
John Watson

Ships cruised on
RMS Queen Elizabeth, SS France, Oronsay, Oceana, Vision of the Seas, Caribbean Princess, Aurora,
Queen Mary 2, Star Flyer, Star Clipper, Grand Princess, Queen Elizabeth, Azura, Ruby Princess, Ventura, Diamond Princess, Britannia, Emerald Princess, Navigator of the Seas, Queen Victoria, Pacific Princess