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  #1 (permalink)  
Old June 11th, 2002, 11:47 AM
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Default The Preferential Treatment Question ...

Terrorism to one side (and don't we all wish it WERE?) the question of preferential treatment is an interesting one.

The former Princess officer who posted under the "Who's First in Line" thread made great sense. The point is evacuation running as smoothly as possible.

I wonder what plans are made for the children in the Kiddie Gulag? What if it's a week with 250 kids on board? Do they have a special muster station/lifeboat just for the kids? Trying to hook the kids up with their parents would be chaos.

As far as preferential treatment being archaic, think of the Americans With Disabilities Act, which is not without its faults. Step forward? Step back?

If I were an employer on the 100th floor of a building, I would think twice about hiring a physically handicapped person JUST IN CASE the worst happened. Would I turn that person down because of his/her handicap? Yes, for the person's own safety. But employers no longer have that choice.

In some places (our Quaint State being one) there are now preferential parking spots for pregnant women and mothers of young children. Is this progress or is this retro-think? (I think there should be preferential parking for mothers who have SURVIVED the young children stage !!!)

Many times, I have seen wheelchair passengers being "pushed" by somebody who's not too far from a wheelchair him- or herself. I once sailed with a "solo" fellow in a motorized wheelchair with no "helper."

When I learned of an affinity group cruise of more than a hundred handicapped folks, I was aghast. I certainly hope they all had cabins on the boat deck, but I think the chances of that were slim as most ships have a limited number of handicapped cabins.

I don't think cruise travel should be limited to the "able-bodied" but just as some cruise lines limit the number of children under "X" age on board, perhaps there should be reasonable limits for the physically challenged to make sure that they can be taken care of in an emergency situation.

In these days of on-line booking when the passenger never meets the TA, how could it be known that they are special-needs people ??? Unless they tell.

Interesting conundrum, Hmmm ?

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Old June 11th, 2002, 02:01 PM
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Default Re: The Preferential Treatment Question ...

Good question Pam. Hmmmmmmm???

"there are now preferential parking spots for pregnant women and mothers of young children. "...........Pamda

What about fathers with young children? Do they have to park in the regular lot?

But evacuation on a sinking cruise ship is a real life possibility and if not properly studied, planned and rehearsed could lead to unnecessary loss of life. I'm particularly concerned now about the scenario of 250 kids in the Kiddie Kamp. You know the kids went to the muster drill with their parents and paid no attention to the instructions what-so-ever.

Regards,
Thomas
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Old June 11th, 2002, 07:39 PM
TomS
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Default Re: The Preferential Treatment Question ...

pamda wrote

> Terrorism to one side (and don't we all wish it WERE?) the question of preferential
> treatment is an interesting one.
>
> The former Princess officer who posted under the "Who's First in Line" thread made
> great sense. The point is evacuation running as smoothly as possible.
>
> I wonder what plans are made for the children in the Kiddie
> Gulag? What if it's a week with 250 kids on board? Do they
> have a special muster station/lifeboat just for the kids?
> Trying to hook the kids up with their parents would be chaos.
>

On Carnival, children are required to wear a hospital-style bracelet with their muster station on it. I would assume there is a crew member working the gulag per station, and they are assigned to take their charges to the appropiate station.

> As far as preferential treatment being archaic, think of the
> Americans With Disabilities Act, which is not without its
> faults. Step forward? Step back?
>

When talking with a disabled person, do not be afraid to use everyday language including "step up" and so on. I recently ran a major political meeting where one of the delegates was in a wheelchair. During a "division of the house" vote where people stand to show how they want to vote (when a simple voice vote was too close to be useful), I would ask the person in the wheelchair how he intended to vote.

> If I were an employer on the 100th floor of a building, I
> would think twice about hiring a physically handicapped person
> JUST IN CASE the worst happened. Would I turn that person down
> because of his/her handicap? Yes, for the person's own safety.
> But employers no longer have that choice.
>

There are special "stair chairs" for people in wheelchairs to evacuate tall buildings. During the evacuation of the WTC on 9/11 (and again back in 1993), other workers in the building carried people in wheelchairs down.

> In some places (our Quaint State being one) there are now
> preferential parking spots for pregnant women and mothers of
> young children. Is this progress or is this retro-think? (I
> think there should be preferential parking for mothers who have
> SURVIVED the young children stage !!!)
>

A few grocery stores tried that out here, but it didn't catch on

> Many times, I have seen wheelchair passengers being "pushed"
> by somebody who's not too far from a wheelchair him- or
> herself. I once sailed with a "solo" fellow in a motorized
> wheelchair with no "helper."
>
> When I learned of an affinity group cruise of more than a
> hundred handicapped folks, I was aghast. I certainly hope they
> all had cabins on the boat deck, but I think the chances of
> that were slim as most ships have a limited number of
> handicapped cabins.
>

During an emergency, they would wait in the stairwell, and a helper or member of the crew would assist. The elevators do shut down automatically, but this can be overridden by the crew.

> I don't think cruise travel should be limited to the
> "able-bodied" but just as some cruise lines limit the number of
> children under "X" age on board, perhaps there should be
> reasonable limits for the physically challenged to make sure
> that they can be taken care of in an emergency situation.
>

This is one of the arguments the cruise lines argued against having the ADA applied to them. Unfortunately, we focus on what a disabled person can't do rather on what they can. As a visually impaired person myeslf, I know that there are many degrees of blindness. While I can not drive a car, I do get up every morning, go to work, put in a full eight hour day (with the aid of a CCTV reader), come home, make my own dinner (when I feel like it), watch TV, chat with pamda, and go to bed just like anyone else. We must look at each case differently, but realize that people with disabilities have the right to enjoy life to the best of their abilities.

> In these days of on-line booking when the passenger never
> meets the TA, how could it be known that they are special-needs
> people ??? Unless they tell.
>

The general rule of thumb to use is, "if they don't ask for help, they probabilly don't need it." I know in some cases that doesn't work such as alcolholism or drug addiction, but when a person knows their limits and the consequences of exceding them, they are not likely to test them.

> Interesting conundrum, Hmmm ?
>
>
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Old June 12th, 2002, 10:39 AM
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Default Re: Re: The Preferential Treatment Question ...

Pamda,

This was thought-provoking to me, in that my mom (an avid cruiser) is in a wheelchair part-time due to the effects of cancer radiation treatments from two years ago. Of course, my dad is there to wheel her back and forth when she cannot walk for any length of time. I also seem to recall that the cruiselines require a disabled person to travel with someone to aid them.

She just came back from a long European cruise on Norwegian, with several days spent on land before and after. My mom said she was surprised the difference on how well people in wheelchairs are treated in Europe ... at the tourist attractions, the staff went out of their way to help out, show shortcuts, etc.

I think if we start limiting disabled passengers, next we should adopt a couple more quotas, such as limiting:

* The number of cranky, indecisive old people who hold up buffet lines.
* Sun-worshippers who stake chairs for 7-days straight by the pool.
* Women with big hair who block your view in the theater.
* Gay men, who are so clean their cabin steward doesn't have anything to do.
* And hygiene-challenged people who leave their calling cards in the elevators.

Just a thought :-)

Harry
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Old June 12th, 2002, 10:52 AM
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Default Re: Re: Re: The Preferential Treatment Question ...

An interesting side note. We recently flew to Reno on Southwest air lines with a change in Las Vegas. We were sitting in an Exit seat and talked with one on the Flight Attendants. She said that particular daily flight from San Antonio to Las Vegas was referred to as the "Miracle Flight" since usually 8 or 10 people get on the plane on wheelchairs, and only two or so need wheelchairs to get off. Must be the curative power of slot machines.
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Old June 12th, 2002, 11:36 AM
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Default Re: The Preferential Treatment Question ...

When parents register their children/teens in the relative clubs, they are given guidelines on emergencies. On hearing the "crew-alert" signal (a signal for the crew to report to their emergency duties/positions) they are to collect their children from the childrens center. If by time the General Emergency Signal (7 short & 1 long) the children were not collected the youth staff would escort them to a designated area of one of the Muster Stations. This way if a parent is concerned about the location of their children, every crew member can inform them of their location and collect them rapidly. Please note that getting the parents calmly to their children is normaly the biggest task for any crewmember!!!!!!!!!
Please also note that by US law a ratio of 1 youth staff for 15 children must be enforced (allthough this ratio does change often).
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Old June 12th, 2002, 12:32 PM
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Default Re: The Preferential Treatment Question ...

Neil ...

That's one of the concerns that Ive been wondering about. Frantic parents, frantic kids. I didn't know how it worked. Or, for that matter, how it WOULD work.

Does the US law apply to foreign-flagged ships?

Are there "stair chairs" avialable to those who are wheelchair-bound? Who is to help them? Whether on a ship or in the World Trade Center? Volunteers? People who are assigned to the task?

Arguably, the elderly spouse of a wheelchair-bound person couldn't do a whole lot with a "stair chair". Are "stair chairs" supplied as are life jackets?

Could any single individual manage a wheelchair-bound person down -- or up -- several decks?

I remember, clearly, a tender port (Grand Cayman) where a wheelchair person required FOUR crewmen to transport the person down the stairs of the gangway and onto the tender. I looked at my watch because I was getting antsy about a privately-booked excursion. It took SEVEN MINUTES to accomplish the task. There were mid-level seas and one of the land lines snapped in the process, breaking a cleat as it went, making it even more difficult.

I have no answers, only questions.

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Old June 12th, 2002, 01:20 PM
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Default Re: The Preferential Treatment Question ...

The questions are 1) Is there a limit to the number of, say, under 12 years old passengers allowed and 2) Is there a limit to the number of wheel-chair bound passengers?

There must be some kind of limit that has been established for each ship based on its level of preparedness. It wouldn't make good business sense to be unable to care for all your customers in an emergency. And if there were an excessive number of wheel chair bound passengers wouldn't this effectively consume an inordinate amount of available staff resources to care for them rather than assist other passengers in an evacuation?

And I wonder about what kind of instructions and training have the staff been given on evacuating the disabled. Do they assist them first? Do they remove them from their wheel chair? Do they move them to a specific muster station? Must the staffer be capable of lifting 150 lbs. to qualify?

Regards,
Thomas
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Old June 13th, 2002, 05:03 AM
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Default Re: Re: The Preferential Treatment Question ...

Pamda,

On the day of embarkation all passengers with mobility dificulties are requested to inform their room steward and/or the Pursers Office. A list is then past to the Safety Officer

On the Crew Alert signal, approximatly 50-100 crew members known as the "Work Party" would muster together. Within this group would be several "Stretcher Parties". A Stretcher Party would consist of 4 crew members and a stretcher.They would then proceed to any stateroom with a passenger on the list and, if need be, carry them to their respective muster station. Although seven minutes in Grand Cayman would have been a long time to assist a passenger down a gangway, in an emergency the emphasis is to get the passenger to the muster station quickly, rather than in "armchair comfort". Remember, in an emergency, elevators can not be used due to the risk of a power failure.

After all passengers are together in the muster station, the work party carry out a complete check of every passenger stateroom. If any passengers are still unable to leave their stateroom, a quick call on the radio and the stretcher party are summond.

Muster Stations now are always situated on the same deck as the lifeboat embarkation areas. All able bodied passengers are escorted into the lifeboats first. Any wheelchairs are then taken to the lifeboats. The passenger would be lifted out of their wheelchair and into the lifeboat. A crew member known as a "door checker" would ensure an alocated space is left inside the lifeboatfor this passenger. Although there are exeptions in special medical cases, the wheelchair would not be placed in the lifeboat and would be left behind.

Regarding the ships registration, all ships that enter US waters must be drilled by the US Coastguards. This also applies to ships entering the UK with HM Coastguards running the examination. All ships company have to prove their are able to successfuly complete a full evacuation within US or UK law and under the guidelines of SOLAS (Safety Of Life At Sea). Normally they will evacuate one muster station, using crew from the other muster stations as "passengers". Sometimes role-playing is requested to test crowd management or extreme situations. I have often played the role of a frantic parent or a confused Norwegian passenger with no command of English!!!! This ensures that any scenario can be dealt with. Any ship failing to meet the required standards can be prevented from sailing that day - no exemptions!!!!

It is also a legal requirement for every ship to run one full and one technical drill every 14 days in addition to the passenger drill within 24 hours of embarkation (although this is normally carried out prior departing the first day)

I'm not going to suggest or slander any cruise lines, but there are some small Asian and European lines who constantly avoid US and UK waters. Could this be due to the strict regulations and requirements they both have?

Neil
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Old June 13th, 2002, 07:18 AM
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Default Re: Re: Re: The Preferential Treatment Question ...

Good job Neil, thanks for the info.

Haven't really had much concern in the past for the readiness of the cruiselines to react to an emergency, but after 9/11 it has become much more of a question to me.

Regards,
Thomas
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Old June 13th, 2002, 09:57 AM
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Default Re: The Preferential Treatment Question ...

Thank you Neil for a terrific insider's look at the process.

All best, pamda

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Old June 13th, 2002, 06:50 PM
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Default Re: The Preferential Treatment Question ...

Thank you Neil, that was very informative. However, on the Paradise (and I assume all Carnival Fantasy-class ships), the lifeboat embarkation decks are, with some esceptions, one deck higher than the muster stations. On the Carnival Destiny-class ships, I've heard that you can embark on the lifeboats directly from the muster stations without having to wait for the crew to lower the boats. This might be the case on the Spirit-class, too, but I haven't heard. We were advised during the muster drill that it would be women, children, and infirm (which I assume would include the elderly and the disabled) that would be first loaded on the boats. They did indicate that families would not be split up, though.
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Old June 13th, 2002, 07:59 PM
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Default Re: The Preferential Treatment Question ...

I never thought of the ADA until someone very close to me became disabled - my mom. My mom is visually impaired and uses a Seeing Eye dog. Several years later, I lost the use of my right arm for a 2 year period (right handed). Luckily, several surgeries later, my right arm is now about 90% functional.

Boy, I didn't realize how difficult life was "not being fully functional" until it "hit home."

Now, I can't imagine life without ADA regulations. Actually I can and it is not a pretty site. Many foreign countries do not have laws similiar to ADA. We have encountered it traveling to the Caribbean and Mexico.

I literally had no idea how much disabled people are discriminated against until my mom became disabled. Even though these laws are in force here in the US, we have been denied entrance to restaurants and stores due to the Seeing Eye dog, she has been turned down paying for purchases at a local store because she was visually impaired, sometimes people talk around her thinking since she can't see, she must not hear, etc. . and they do not address her directly. I have also seen people try to take advantage of her due to her disability.

I have heard people say my mom shouldn't take her dog everywhere. I don't think people realize that this is her mobility tool. You wouldn't ask someone in a wheelchair to leave their wheelchair behind or someone with a hearing aid to not use it - why would you ask a blind person to leave their dog behind?

I have seen some cruiselines go out of their way to accomodate disabled people and other cruiselines who make things far more difficult then they need to be.

Cruiselines should abide by ADA regulations. There are already several court cases enforing this saying that if they dock in the US, they must abide by regulations. Previously, cruislines turned down cruisers who were disabled if they were not traveling with someone "abled". This is rediculous!

Next time you try to take a taxi, go into a store or a restaurant or any thing that is a normal part of your life - stop to think if someone said "no you can't do that due to something about you that is beyond your control."

Next time one criticizes the ADA - I sure hope they understand why it was created and why it was needed. Until it hit home, I sure didn't understand the need for it.

FYI - I do recall a visually impaired person with a Seeing Eye dog on a very high floor of the World Trade Center. His dog safely lead him out of the building. This shouldn't surprise anyone, the dog is a professional.
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Old June 14th, 2002, 12:17 PM
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Default Re: The Preferential Treatment Question ...

Everything that Theresa said.

Until I met Theresa, her mom Bunny, and The Dog (Erin who is THE DOG I thought I was sensitive to the issues. Turned out I was almost totally clueless.

But I still don't think that being pregnant or having small children is a disability.

I am still aching from the story of a shoreX desk person who said, within hearing of others, "Why would a blind person want to go on a shore excursion?."

We know a person who is profoundly deaf who goes to the Philadelphia Orchestra to SEE it, rather than hear it.

We should all open our eyes and ears to those who struggle, daily, to overcome disabilities and turn them into abilities.

On a personal level, my elderly (89) mom has had a number of small strokes rendering her right side pretty much useless. Her valliant efforts to overcome are humbling.

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Old June 15th, 2002, 09:32 AM
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Default Re: The Preferential Treatment Question ...

Theresa, please permit me the privelage of climing the tallest nearby mountain and procliming, "Well said, Theresa!"
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Old June 16th, 2002, 05:43 PM
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Default Re: The Preferential Treatment Question ...

Thanks everyone for the support!

Even though the ADA has been in effect for several years in the US - discrimination of people with all types of disabilities still occurs.

For all of us who are "fully abled" - this is a good reminder to realize how lucky we are and how much we take for granted.

For all of those who are "mostly-abled" - I have to give you kudos for everything you do! You have an extra challenge then most of us have and you seem to handle things so well!

Theresa
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Old June 17th, 2002, 06:44 AM
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Default Re: Re: The Preferential Treatment Question ...

I agree with you in respect to ADA regulations helping those disabled to perform everyday life activities. However, there are some parts of the ADA which I believe need to be changed to prevent unnecessary usurping.

The Supreme Court ruled in Casey Martin vs. PGA that because of his debilitating leg injury he was entitled to use a golf cart in tournaments by decree of the ADA in his pursuit of his chosen profession. While others, regardless of their health, had to walk per the PGA rules, Martin is allowed to ride.

Now while I sympathize with Martin, I also shun at the Pandora's Box that has been opened. Jose Maria Olazabal a few years ago had his toe amputated and limped around the golf course for over a year. Should he be allowed to ride? Many golfers struggle with bad backs, should they be allowed to ride? If my chosen profession was basketball, should the basket be lowered so I can dunk the ball like the others since my small stature is a disability preventing me from competing in my chosen profession? Suppose I chose to pitch baseball but my disabled arm prevented any meaningful speed on the ball; should I be able to pitch from a mound 10 ft. closer to home plate?

The ADA has forced businesses and others to accomodate and facilitate the needs of the disabled, and this is good, but it can be used wrongly.

Regards,
Thomas
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Old June 23rd, 2002, 02:16 PM
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Default Re: The Preferential Treatment Question ...

When was the last time you saw Casey Martin on the leaders' board ???

And there is a reason for the Seniors' Tour.

Grrrr.

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