V224 Passenger Guest Rooms. This section is unchanged in this draft. However, the Board is still evaluating the scoping section and the technical provisions applicable to accessible guest rooms.
Commenters generally took opposite positions on the scoping for accessible guest rooms. Industry groups indicated the scoping was beyond the need experienced and should be reduced. Disability organizations and individuals described their experiences and indicated that there is an insufficient number of accessible guest rooms available. Commenters also said that a guest room equipped with mobility features is generally one and a half times the size of a standard guest room. Therefore, increasing the number of such accessible guest rooms will lead to a reduction in the total number of guest rooms available and related unacceptable revenue loss. Some commenters noted the need for wider doors at all guest rooms, not just accessible guest rooms.
The preceding issue is critical for the cruise industry. I agree with other commentary which stated that there are too few accessible rooms. As the population of the United States ages, more people will require accommodation than ever before. Although cruise lines are in business to make money, they should examine the concept that in order to sell rooms to many of those over 60, some level of accessibility will be required. I have the following specific comments:
1. Provide accessible rooms at three or more price points.
2. Provide more accessible rooms than currently available—they are very difficult to book.
3. Provide rooms that have extra grab bars (in bathrooms, by closets, near doorway transition thresholds), walk in showers with nearby scooter parking for those who can ambulate but fatigue easily or are unsteady. These rooms might not have to be larger. This might ease the pressure on the availability of accessible rooms but accommodate the increasing population of mobility impaired.
In addition, it has been quite difficult for my husband to park his scooter due to lack of space when eating in the formal dining room. Flexible areas that would allow scooter parking during meals but could be used for other activities at other times would be helpful.
West Sacramento, California