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Royal Caribbean Accessible Seas Program Ensures Great Vacations For Guests With Special Needs

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  • Royal Caribbean Accessible Seas Program Ensures Great Vacations For Guests With Special Needs

    Royal Caribbean Accessible Seas Program Ensures Great Vacations For Guests With Special Needs; Little Touches Make a Big Difference for Guests With Disabilities

    Monday January 27, 10:21 AM EST

    MIAMI, Jan 27, 2003 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- Royal Caribbean International has announced a fleetwide enhancement to its industry-leading Accessible Seas program that may seem a small thing to the average cruiser, but will make a big difference for some guests with disabilities. To better meet the needs of visually impaired travelers, the company is adding Braille deck numbers to staircase handrails on each of its 16 ships in 2003.

    "We've learned that it's sometimes the small things that add up to a relaxing and stress-free cruise experience for our guests with disabilities -- something as simple as not having to ask passers-by what deck they are on," said Laura Amor, access specialist for Royal Caribbean. "We've looked at our ships from bow to stern to make sure that every aspect of the cruise is easy and enjoyable. Our ships offer an extensive list of amenities from larger features like automatic doors, hydraulic pool lifts and shore-side beach wheel chairs to smaller extra touches such as pull-down closet rods, Braille menus, and, now, stairwell banister deck numbers."

    This latest addition is just one component of Royal Caribbean's comprehensive accessibility program, which strives to make travel more convenient and hassle-free for the nearly one in five Americans with disabilities. As a result of initiatives such as these, cruising has been cited by the Society for Accessible Travel and Hospitality (SATH) as the most common way for Americans with disabilities to travel overseas.

    "I've traveled extensively since becoming paralyzed and have found that cruise travel has distinct advantages," said David Rafter, an active disabled traveler and travel writer. "From the moment I embarked, Royal Caribbean's activity-packed ship and helpful staff made me feel like an active participant, rather than a passive bystander. Cruising also gives me peace of mind knowing that I'll have the same room, bed and shower to come back to at the end of each day."

    Rafter offers travelers with disabilities and their loved ones the following tips to help plan a successful vacation:

    * Seek out companies offering modern accessible features and
    accommodations (such as wheelchair lifts, gradual inclines, automatic
    doors and accessible bathrooms ).
    * Choose a vacation that creates opportunities for guests with
    disabilities to actively participate in the same activities as other
    * Inquire if there is staff dedicated to helping both before and during
    the vacation, and take full advantage of their services.
    * Look for destinations that offer convenient dining, activity and
    entertainment options all in one place.
    * Get out there! Don't let fear hold you back. With some upfront
    planning, travelers with disabilities can have a terrific vacation with
    exciting new experiences.

    "For many people, when it comes to traveling, fear and apprehension of the unknown are far worse than the reality," Rafter said. "Seemingly insurmountable challenges faced by Americans with disabilities in the past have been addressed by travel industry leaders like Royal Caribbean."

    Other notable accessibility features onboard Royal Caribbean's Voyager- class and Radiance-class ships include:

    * Staterooms with 32- to 34-inch doors, ramped bathrooms, roll-in showers,
    grab bars, raised toilet seats, lowered sinks and vanity areas, and a
    five-foot turning radius in sleeping areas, bathrooms and sitting areas;
    * Spacious corridors, pool lifts and ramps in terraced public areas;
    * Braille on menus, stateroom doors, service directories and elevators
    * Portable kits for the hearing impaired including TTY (Text
    Telephone)/TDD (Telecommunication Device for the Deaf), Alertmaster and
    a strobe alarm; and
    * Closed-captioned televisions, amplified telephones in staterooms and
    public areas, and infrared systems.

    Royal Caribbean International is a global cruise brand currently with 16 ships in service and three more under construction or on firm order. For more information about Royal Caribbean's disability programs, or to request an Accessible Seas brochure, contact the Access Desk at 800-722-5472, extension 4492. For additional information about the cruise line, please visit the company's Web site at or call 800-327-6700.

    SOURCE Royal Caribbean International
    CONTACT: Jaye Hilton of Royal Caribbean, +1-305-539-6577, or; or Samantha Van Nuys, +1-212-445-8107, or, for Royal Caribbean

  • #2
    Holland America is also pretty good for accessibility.


    • #3
      I think the largest consideration for my husband and I when cruising is round trip voyages. Not having to fly in one place and out another is a pain. But we have suddenly hit the jackpot as Baltimore is becoming a cruise port for Celebrity, Carnival and Norwegian with Holland America starting up in 2004. And all are round trips! No air, as much or little luggage as we want and now a selection of lines. Can't beat it. I also look at the age of the individual ships when we book. If you haven't traveled since your injury cruising is a great way to start going again.

      Oh, and you want to price a few agents and the line before choosing who to go through for booking. The people who are "diabled traveler experts" aren't necessarily the best or even close to best price out there.

      Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."
      Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

      Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.