I am a late deafened adult who has been on cruise ships of all sizes and in a variety of waters. Based on my experience, I would like to emphasize the following for inclusion in the guidelines for ships.
1. I use a telephone, and not a TTY, and require one that has loudness controls that is compatible with the T-coil in my hearing aids.
2. Telephones need to be situated near lighting sources that do NOT interfere with an aid's T-coil. Many fluorescent lights produce static.
3. For those inidividuals who need a TTY, units need to be available for both in cabin use and at central service locations on the ship.
4. All areas where shows and lectures are staged sound be equipped with assistive listening systems and signs should be displayed indicating their presence and who to see for a unit (a frequent failing on the ships I have been on).
5. Captioning should be available on all in cabin televisions. Specially filmed material by the cruise line for repetitive use on vessels explaining amenities, etc. should be captioned.
6. Where movies are shown in auditoriums, some and preferably all performances should be captioned. (Please note there are closed captioning systems in movie theatres now.)
7. Flashing lights need to be installed in addition to the ship's whistles to indicate life threatening emergencies.
8. Other useful amenities would include door alerts and "shake awake" units.
Finally, and most important of all, all customer service people both on the vessel and in the customer service department before the cruise need to be trained on the range of assistance devices available. One size does not fit all when it comes to hearing loss and the needs of individuals.
Thank you for the opportunity to add my perspective on these issues and I hope that these comments will influence your final guidelines.
New York, New York