Interesting news in Carnival Cruise Lines SEC 10-Q form filed 10/13/200. It seems Carnival and it's subsidiaries Holland American, Costa and Cunard are confronted with ADA lawsuits in various courts throughout the United States over accessibility of the disabled on cruise ships..As time goes by, hopefully we will read of favorable court decisions for the disabled. In the interim lawyer fees will probably equal or exceed the cost of making the vessels compliance to the ADA law.
The Cruise Line Ombudsmans
To be perfectly honest, I think that many of these lawsuits are initated by activists with nothing better to do and or money grubbing lawyers. Carnival is well known so they naturally will be the first to be attacked. Personally, it seems to me that all cruiselines have tried very hard to accomodate those with disabilities. It is extremely expensive to attemp to convert the older ships to disability accessable and the expense would have to be borne by the passengers in higher rates. Some people have even demanded that there be people onboard that will sign all meeting and shows as well as installing lights and tty type phones in cabins for the hearing impared. I have also seen people that have friends and family with someone who is a parapaligic believing that they should be accomodated with all these special needs equipment. I'm sorry but IMHO it is too much to expect any cruiseline to take on the expenses of catering to all the disabled. That said and now that I have many angry with me I would like to state that "I" am disabled. I can get around well enough to take care of myself and do not want any special treatment and if I couldn't then I would do only those activities I could do and not demand that everyone bend to my needs.
I do not believe those that sue a cruise line are "money grubbers" for if they are, they will be sorely disappointed. Under ADA you cannot sue for some monetary damages nor for punitive damages. Lawyers are not keen on handling claims when they cannot sue for punitive damages. Almost all the publish court decisions I have studied concerned what might be a breach of contract. The plaintiff disabled passenger has ben informed by either the travel agent of the cruise line his or her cabin is useable by a disabled person. In the case of Tammy Stevems av. Premier, she should never have booked o the ship despitre what she was told because the ship had only one disabled cabin and it really wasn"t. If you will take the time to go to a law library and read the case Walker @ Adams v. Carnival you will learned what most of the ADA suits are all about. case is
I had to cut my reply short due to a long distrance call frolm Europe. As for suing I forgot to menton that cruise ship passengers can no longer sue for emotional distress except in the case of sexual assault or rape. If you can read the two cases cited you have to wonder why these people expected the ship to be able to provide the services they require; whether they told the cruise lines handicaps consisted of; if they told the cruise line, then it is remiss in not turning them down. As I understand ADA afer reading the Act, if the Coast Guard determines it might be unsafe to modify an old ship; or doctors determine it is unwise for the invalid to be at sea aboard a cruise ship, then ADA may not be enforceable.In the Walker & Adams v Carnival court case, both individuals recounted how difficult it is to fly on an aircraft, especially since the airlines may not subject to ADA.
My wife uses a walker or wheel chair and her only problem is walking up and down stairs and those bathtubs with 21" high sides to take a shower. I made her a footstool that can be taken apart, which helps. Last but not least, sice I am not a lawyer I intend not to give legal advise.RoboCop wrote:
> To be perfectly honest, I think that many of these lawsuits are
> initated by activists with nothing better to do and or money
> grubbing lawyers. Carnival is well known so they naturally will
> be the first to be attacked. Personally, it seems to me that
> all cruiselines have tried very hard to accomodate those with
> disabilities. It is extremely expensive to attemp to convert
> the older ships to disability accessable and the expense would
> have to be borne by the passengers in higher rates. Some people
> have even demanded that there be people onboard that will sign
> all meeting and shows as well as installing lights and tty type
> phones in cabins for the hearing impared. I have also seen
> people that have friends and family with someone who is a
> parapaligic believing that they should be accomodated with all
> these special needs equipment. I'm sorry but IMHO it is too
> much to expect any cruiseline to take on the expenses of
> catering to all the disabled. That said and now that I have
> many angry with me I would like to state that "I" am disabled.
> I can get around well enough to take care of myself and do not
> want any special treatment and if I couldn't then I would do
> only those activities I could do and not demand that everyone
> bend to my needs.
I stayed in a handicap cabin on the Galaxy a couple of summers ago. The room was very well designed on a wide corridor that was all for handicapped passengers. I was very impressed with how thoroughly comfortable this cabin would have been for anyone in a wheelchair. Princess has a vice president in charge of handicapped passengers so I think the major lines certainly are really trying to make the cruise experience as pleasant as possible for everyone. I think Robocop is correct though. Stick with the modern ships, because they will have the most comfortable facilities.
Federal Judge Holds Foreign cruise Ship Covered By
As long I was on the Internet I sought out the U.S. Department of Justice to see what was going on there. The following information has been made available for the public and should not be subject to any copyright laws. The problem with this court's decision is that it is not consisent with other federal district courts.
Federal Judge Holds Foreign Cruise Ship Covered by ADA - The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in Walker v. Carnival Cruise Lines ruled that the ADA covers cruise vessels when they are in the ports or other internal waters of the United States, even if they are registered in a foreign country. The plaintiffs in this case were two wheelchair users who had booked cruises on the "Holiday," a ship registered in the Bahamas, originating in Los Angeles with stops at Catalina Island, California, and Ensenada, Mexico. They alleged that the defendants had failed to remove barriers in their reserved rooms and throughout the ship's facilities even though it was readily achievable to do so. The Department argued in an amicus brief that title III of the ADA applies to cruise ships because they are both "places of public accommodation" and "specified public transportation services" operated by private entities, and that cruise ships are required to comply with title III's "barrier removal" requirement despite the absence of applicable design standards for new construction and alterations. In addition, the Department argued that foreign-flag cruise ships (virtually all cruise ships serving U.S. ports sail under a foreign flag) are subject to the requirements of the ADA when they do business in U.S. ports and internal waters. As urged by the Department, the court will allow consideration of the plaintiffs' barrier removal claims to continue.
Comment: Since this decision came down I have kept track of the filings to the United States Supreme Court for review of the decision. Todate, Carnival has not filed which in itself is surprising.I would also make the comment that in the European cruise industry they are far ahead of the United States on this subject matter. The United States is not the only nation that has
an abundance of all sorts of cruise ships. The Europeans were using cruise ships long before the foreign flagged ships decided to invade the U.S. Incidentally, the U.S. had cruiseships that were foreign flagged during prohibition. These ships sailed out of east coast ports to such luxury places as Cuba but in those days they had no ADA.