To Whom It May Concern:
I have read that the ADA and the Cruise Lines are saying that the ships already have too many accessible cabins and want to have less because the accessible ones take more space and then the ship cannot sell as many cabins. My family and I have been on 8 cruises in the last couple years and have had to already book some for next summer because the ships DON"T have nearly enough available. Most ships only have a few fully accessible cabins, as some that they call accessible have been converted by adding a few bars in the restrooms, or a little ramp over the bathroom lip. but they are not workable for someone that is actually totally dependant on a wheelchair or scooter. There are a few that are actually totally handicapped with wide doors, accessible bathrooms with roll in showers, etc. They work great, the problem is there are so few of them. A real big problem that my family and I have in booking is that on most ships there are either only one, or else two fully accessible cabins that will hold more than two people and we have three, my husband, our daughter and myself. I cannot walk at all and need to take my electric Jazzy for use on the ship and my folding wheelchair for going to any ports, as most ports have no transportation with lifts for the electric one. Cruising is a wonderful and easier way for people that are disabled to enjoy a vacation. On all of the cruises that we have been on we have seen very many people using wheelchairs, scooters, etc to get around and some of them have had to leave their scooter in the hall which makes it very difficult then for other people to get by, especially if you are using a wheelchair, scooter, etc.
The ships also need more seats in the theaters designated accessible, and not all in the back of the theater. I believe that everyone should be able to see the shows, and there should be enough accessible cabins as there are lot's of disbled people that love to cruise and sometimes can't just because the cruise ship simply has not provided enough handicapped rooms for the amount of disabled people cruising, or at least trying too! When we have cruised we have usually had other family members with in other regular cabins, so I know for a fact that a small wheelchair will not fit through the doors of any of their rooms, even balcony rooms, as I have never been able to get in the doors.
The disabled deserve to cruise just as much as the able bodied people, believe me I would much rather be able to book a regular cabin and walk, but I cannot and neither can many, many others. We have been blessed so far with a real good travel agent that has helped us get a fully accessible room for 3 on our cruises, but to do that most times we have had to book way ahead, which is difficult for anyone to know for sure when they can go on a cruise a year or more later. The fact is that the disabled deserve to cruise with their families like other people, and when they book a cruise they are paying for their cabin just as others are doing.
PLEASE help all the disabled people that desire to cruise by encouraging MORE, not less FULLY ACCESSIBLE CABINS, and make sure that more of them will hold three or four, so that the children can be with their parents. If we could not cruise in a fully accesible cabin that accomodates all three of us, we could not cruise, and cruising is actually the best kind of vacation we have ever done with a wheelchair and Jazzy, it is enjoyable for the whole family.
Thank You so much for your time and help in this matter. We appreciate all that the ADA does for the disabled and for the kind manner that the cruise lines have always treated us with.