Just returned from 20 day trans-Pacific cruise on Crystal Harmony. Had not been on this ship for about 3 years. Previously had same cabin (only 4 handicapped cabins on board), and bathroom was acceptable with fold down seat for showers next to (outside) tub. Only problem was drainage as the entire bathroom tended to flood.
Imagine our surprise on this trip to find the shower area surrounded by an added wood 1 1/2 inch high 2 inch wide board lip with no bevel. We use a portable lift, and could not roll it over the lip at all, and it was also in the way for any transfers to the toilet, including positioning a wheelchair for either quad pivot or slide board transfers. Ended up with sponge baths and cathing in bed for the entire cruise. Even for someone who is semi-ambulatory, this lip is a dangerous trip hazard. This is horrible and we have written to Crystal complaining.
Otherwise, the ship is fairly accessible. The staff is very accomodating and always offered to carry trays, push the chair for us, etc. when needed. We were advised to use the 4th deck ramp for port diembarkation/embarkation, but it is too narrow (20 inches) for our chair, so we had to be carried up and down the steeper steps on the gangway. Crystal could easily make this ramp on deck 4 wider as the door itself is about 6 feet wide. This would also facilitate loading supplies for their staff, which is the usual use for this ramp.
Esp. with recent court decisions regarding ADA compliance on cruise ships, Crystal has made themselves very vulnerable to suit.
I am sorry you had a bad experience. Just for a second I'm going to play the devils advocate because I know what the cruise line might ask where you aware of these problems? Did you have the same problems before?
I am in NO WAY SHAPE OR FORM sticking up for the cruise line. I'm glad you wrote a letter. If the ship is not in the grandfather clause I honestly think you should sue but do you your research first on the ADA as well as when the ship was built.
Ship was built in 1990, but this change (remodel) of the bathrooms occurred in the last 3 years sometime (since our last trip with them)...possibly during this last spring redecorating, so would be within the ADA requirements regardless (if the current court case proves ADA coverage for foreign registered ships as expected). Prior to this time there was no barrier to use of a wheelchair or lift in their bathroom, so as I said originally they have ruined what was previously a pretty accessible bathroom.
Regardless, it is false advertising to market these rooms as "wheelchair accessible", esp. when other ships (Princess, Celebrity, etc.) all have BETTER wheelchair accessible bathrooms, even on some older ships. In addition to the problem described, you cannot get under the sink with a wheelchair without taking feet off pedals, and the trap under the sink is not insulated to prevent burns.
We are not talking suit at this time, but expect Crystal to remedy the solution or they have lost us as customers in the future, and will be telling other disabled cruisers to avoid them as well.
That was a great responce to the Crystal problem. That is why I always stress use a travel agent who has done their research on the ships. ADA was only brought into play for the cruise lines this June. Many of the ships were built back in the 8o's and are built to weather the seas. I to want to see changes because all my clients have special needs but we must realize it takes time to take each ship into dry dock and they must make extencive changes to the ships.
Today I called two hotels in the Clearwater Beach area for a deaf client and neither hotel was up to ADA standers. I mentioned to both hotels they were in danger of facing a law suit. Lets give the cruise lines time to comply and then make charges if they refuse. I will re-state use a good travel agent when booking a cruise, make sure they have done the research on the ship for you. It costs no more to use and agent than to book it on your own.
Beasley Travel Inc www.beasleytravel.com
Carol, we have never booked a cruise on our own (never get good deals that way). We have a very good travel agent, but since she is NOT in a chair, we know a lot more about what to look for than she does. Since we had been on this ship SIX times before, we trusted that the same exact cabin was no different (#7108), which was our mistake.
I think most travel agents, even those to do mostly disabled travel, would make the same mistake. Hard to believe in this day that someone would take a very acceptable, accessible cabin, and make it inaccessible!!!
I agree with you regarding that fact everyone make a mistake. But..........If a travel agent goes to a vender and the vender outright lies to the Travel agent or even to a customer Just to get the business in my opion something should be done about the Vender
I'm not saying that this happened to you although it could of I've seen it happen
There seems to be an increasing number of lawsuits filed against cruise line for the failure to not provide acceptable accommodations. While there still are a limit number of lawsuits filed, the response buy the defendant cruise lines can be evaluated. I am not an attorney nor giving legal advise when I write about what is going on as an interest to the reader.
It seems when the plaintiff passenger files suit, if the forum clause in the passenger ticket is not adhered to the cruise line seeks dismissal of the suit on the grounds, failure to file where specified in the ticket. If the plaintiff passenger adheres to the forum clause designation,. Then the cruise line seeks dismissal of the suit on the ground that ADA does not apply to a foreign flagged cruise ship. According to a June 13,1999 letter I received from the Civil rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, " Cruise ships are subject to the requirements of Title III of ADA". "Section 301 prohibits in places of public accommodation." "Cruise ships, which typically contain guest cabins, restaurants discrimination, etc. function as places of public accommodation." " Nothing in the plain language of ADA excludes from coverage foreign flagged cruise ships that do business in the United States"
The current problem is that when a ADA case if filed in a federal district court or a state court, the decisions are inconsistent. For very case where the courts rule in favor of the plaintiff passenger, there is another case in another district or state where the cruise lines prevail. In the recent case of Tammy Stevens v. Premier Cruise Lines, the trial court ruled against Stevens;, on appeal the court reversed the trial court and ruled in favor of Stevens. In a more recent case, Walker & Adams v Carnival Cruise Line and two travel agencies. This matter has been again tried after the trial court granted a motion to dismiss since the California resident had not filed suit in Florida as called for in the passenger ticket. The latest decision of Feb. 10, 2000 the United States District Court held that the forum clause was unreasonable; reversed decision to submit and held the forum had to be in California.
With the cases of the Tammy Stevens, Walker & Adams and other cases, it is time for the United states Supreme court to get involved and render a precedent decision one way or the other. Probably the Stevens v Premier case is academic since the cruise line is "kaput".