My name is Allie M. Joiner, and I reside at 15806 18th Ave W, B 102, Lynnwood, WA. I am Deaf and I have been in the field of advocacy work with the Deaf for 26 years.
Last summer my partner and I had an opportunity to travel on a river cruise down the Volga River (Russia). It was a smaller cruiser – about 240 passengers compared with ocean cruisers, I am sure the access issues are the same for people who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. Deaf-blind persons will need extra support services and maybe blind people can address their needs where vision is concerned.
We – 70 Deaf people - did well with four interpreters (all were qualified ASL interpreters). It was a challenge getting all of us together to hear a safety plan in case of a disaster --- Interpreters were present when the Captain and First Mate (?) spoke to us about a drillI, I would think a PowerPoint presentation or video tape showing would almost guarantee that we d get all the information.
And it would be nice for the Front Desk to have a visual display screen sending messages of alerts, ugrades, changes in plans etc… so that the receptionist would not have to repeat telling Deaf people of this and that. Some Hard of Hearing people do not get all information because they could not hear the whole messages through the speaker, either.
Maybe some kind of paging device to be assigned to each Deaf – Hard of Hearing – Deaf-Blind passenger when she/he is in her/his cabin so that she/he can get alert or emergency messages when the device vibrates and blinks in red or green.
During the trip we went through some locks. It would have been nicer if we knew which lock it was so maybe a script can be fed into a kind of paging device for each Deaf – Hard of Hearing – Deaf Blind person so we would have access to same information hearing people hear through speakers.
There is a cost effective way to do it, be sure to ask right people with expertise – consumers (not professionals, i.e. speech pathologists, audiologists, or others who do not experience the same thing we do in the real world).
Allie M. Joiner
With National Domestic TTY Hotline based at Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services