Since I was incorrect on August 26, 2001 posting by identifying the vessel as the Sun Princess, when we were actually aboard a sister ship, the Sea Princess. I wrote to the Civil Rights Divsion of the U.S. Department of Justice, not as the filing of a complaint but to learn of their reaction. Nor have we any intention of taking legal action or asking anything from Princess Cruises. This now all past history that could be important to others who might be disabled./
What I received was a package of pamphlets on ADA, which I had previous obtained. Next, I received a letter from the United States Coast Guard, which apparently had been supplied with a copy of my letter to the Justice Deparment.
What I learned was that when a wheel chair bound passenger is aboard the vessel, there is no ADA regulations as to the ease or ability to get around the ship. The Coast Guard informed me that they intended to check into the room steward's carts since they may constitute an obstruction in the event of an emergency. Since the Coast Guard inspectors may not be aboard the ship when the carts are being used, I question if there will be any improvement..
Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I did send them aa picture of the wife stuck in her wheel chair between the wall of the passageway and a steward's cart.
This is a problem (carts in the hallways) on every ship we have been on EXCEPT the Zenith, which has all its accessible cabins on one deck, with wider hallways.
When we book a cruise, one of the things we look for is that it has accessible cabins with the minimum possible distance from the elevators. This way you don't have to dodge so many carts. Usually we just shove the carts down to the next area where the doors go in or the next cross-section and leave them their after we pass by. This tends to get the attention of the stewards, and improves their parking out of the hallway whenever possible (in the doorway alcoves found on many ships).
If we get a final decision someday about the application of ADA to ships on cruises with USA ports, this may change, since the ADA does address "path of travel" obstacles (for example in department stores that have their racks too close together....Macy's lost a big suit over this in San Francisco).