In response to:
V224 Passenger Guest Rooms.
There continues to be a major problem with having sufficient accessible cabins available on most major cruise ships. This problem is BOTH due to an insufficient number of cabins on even the most recently built ships, as well as the common practice of allowing anyone to book these cabins far in advance of the cruise, regardless of having an actual need for an accessible cabin. Many passengers try to book these cabins because they are larger than comparably priced cabins although they do not require the accessible amenities. Most cruise lines allow this, and most have no mechanism for later requiring a move of these passengers to another cabin when someone requiring an accessible cabin tries to book one. Many travel agents even encourage their customers to do this. If accessible cabins were only available to those with a documented need, and these cabins were held until a reasonable period prior to the cruise before being released to non-disabled passengers (such as the final payment date), more cabins would be available for those who actually need them. This is comparable to allowing non-disabled drivers to park in handicapped parking space if there is no one with a disability already parked there.
In addition, the actual number of mobility accessible cabins needs to be greater than it is currently, and greater than what is proposed in the regulations by at least 1/3. With an aging American population, more and more people have mobility disabilities traveling,the number of passengers who are semi-ambulatory and use "scooters" for mobility around ships has jumped significantly in the last few years. Since most cruise lines no longer (appropriately) allow these scooters to be stored in hallways at night, this creates a much higher demand for accessible or semi-accessible cabins by those who are actually ambulatory for short distances. Cabin doorway width is the major obstacle for many of these scooter users, who may be ambulatory enough to use a standard cabin, but also must be able to get their scooter into their cabin doorway. Increasing the number of cabins with wider doors in addition to those with fully accessible bathroom facilities would help with this problem.
San Diego, CA