My husband wrote the following letter to the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice that may be of interest? The inquiry has been prompted after reading a number of court cases
where disabled passengers have been misled or misinformed by cruise lines or travel agents as to the ability to utilize a stateroom by a disabled passenger.
November 25, 2000
Mr. John L. Wodatch, Chief
Disability Rights Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
P.O. Box 66738
Washington, D.C. 20035-6738
Re: Wheel Chair Accessible
After reading the court cases of Stevens v. Premier Cruise Line and more recent Walker v. Carnival, 63 Fed. Supp3rd 1083 and 107 Fed Supp3rd 1135, I have to wonder if there is a definition of what is meant by "Wheel chair Accessible".
Does it mean that the stateroom on a cruise ship has to be accessible ?
Does it mean a wheel chair user must have a toilet that he or she can use without assistance ?
Does it mean that the stateroom must have a shower than can be used without assistance ? In case ADA is not aware, many cruise ships have showers that are used inside of a bathtub where the distance from the bathroom floor to the top of the tub is 21 inches or more. Even my wife, who is not disabled has problems with these tubs because of her short legs, so she needs physical assistance getting in or out..
Does it mean all public rest rooms on the ship must have wheel chair accessibility and fixtures common to a rest room ?
It is indeed a sad commentary when you write that the United States has not developed standards for a wheel chair accessible stateroom aboard cruise ship. I have in my possession 1992 copies of correspondence between United States Senator Phil Gramm and the Department of Transportation on the subject of wheel chair accessible standards for cruise ships. It will in a short time be 200l and the DOT apparently has not done a thing. Little wonder the cruise lines and travel agents are still confused as to exactly what it required and the torts lawsuits go on and on.
The time has come for action by the DOT since we now have two large passenger cruise ships flying American flags and by 2003 will have two or three more.