Closter, NJ 07624
I recently took a cruise and requested an assistive listening system (ALS). Customer service was unfamiliar with their ADA obligation to provide this form of access, so I had to do some advocating; this should not be necessary.
When I boarded, the ALS receiver was not immediately provided, and all passengers were instructed by a public address system to attend a mandatory safety instruction. If my normally hearing daughter had not accompanied me, I would not have known to attend, and without any communication access, I could not understand it. My daughter later told me that much of the information was provided by the public address system, which I would not have understood even with an ALS, as I also need to speechread. This presentation should have been captioned, and the notice to attend should have been provided in written form.
Shortly after the safety presentation, a lecture was given, which I was also unable to attend because I still did not have the ALS receiver. Nobody I asked knew where it was, until someone finally located it for me.
The ALS was an FM system, which did not work very well because of interference. I had to hold the receiver in a particular position to stop the static, which would soon begin again, necessitating finding a new position. There was a craft that required the use of both hands, and it was impossible for me to hold the receiver in a suitable position while doing the craft.
In addition, the ALS transmitter was also only set up in the auditorium, so I was unable to attend presentations made in other locations.
I had requested and obtained a TTY, but when I called the help desk, nobody answered my call. I had to go there in person to tell them to answer such calls.
The cruise-sponsored tour that I took didn't provide any communication access.
In addition to correcting the above problems, movies, videos, and TV programs need to be captioned, and the appropriate symbol needs to be used to indicate specific forms of communication access (the wheelchair symbol doesn't apply to hearing loss, and the slashed-ear symbol doesn't indicate what type of communication access is being provided).
I agree with the other recommendations of the Hearing Access Program as well.