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  #1 (permalink)  
Old January 8th, 2004, 08:02 AM
TimH
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Default Able bodied people booking accessible cabins!!!!!!!!! Don't

My wife is disabled and we need an accessible cabin. She is not in a wheelchair but has braces on her legs and needs the bathrooms on accessible cabins. We tried to book a Princess repositing cruise at the end of April and all the accessible cabins are full. I asked Princess if they are all full of people who need the cabins and they would not check. Please, please, please----if you do not need these cabins, do not book them. We now have to switch cruise lines to get onto a ship because my vacation time is already set. We may not even beable to sail the canal like we had hoped. My company won't give us our vacation time for this year until January 1st or I would have booked sooner. We may try for September repositinging but it is so frustratring to hear of people booking accessible cabins to get bigger cabins when they don't need them. I wonder if these people realize they are prevening those who need these cabins from sailing!!!!!!!! This was going to be my wifes dream cruise.
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Old January 8th, 2004, 08:25 AM
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Default Re: Able bodied people booking accessible cabins!!!!!!!!! Do

Good point. Cruise lines, and even TA's, should make certain that those booking accessible cabins actually need them.
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Old January 8th, 2004, 08:30 AM
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Default Re: Able bodied people booking accessible cabins!!!!!!!!! Do

Tim: Kind of like people sprinting from their car in the Handicapped Parking space, huh?

You have a valid point and it's good you've brought it to people's attention. In the last few years I've had some knee/hip problems, including knee replacement surgery, and have learned how much extra planning and thinking has to be done before doing even the smallest task.

I sympathize with you and hope you've opened some eyes to this situation. I hope Princess can accommodate you - have you tried any other lines? I think people might book these cabins quite innocently, thinking perhaps that they are not being used, when it looks like you have found out differently. I sure hope you can arrange something.

Keep us posted and thanks for the reminder to everyone.
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Old January 8th, 2004, 09:04 AM
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Default Re: Able bodied people booking accessible cabins!!!!!!!!! Do

You have a very good point, Tim. Thanks for bringing it to people's attention. I hope you are able to find a cruise that suits your needs.

Cheers,
Michelle P.

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Old January 8th, 2004, 09:12 AM
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Default Re: Able bodied people booking accessible cabins!!!!!!!!! Do

I noticed that some of Carnival's balconies looked larger that others in the same cat and I called to check on one of them. Carnival said it was a wheelchair accessable cabin and asked if anyone in my party was handicapped. My answer was no and their reply was that I could book it but would be bumped if a handicapped person wanted it. I did not want to chance being bumped to a poor location so I chose a different cabin.

I have stayed in hotel rooms that were handicapped accessable but usually it was the last room available in the complex. If it was the last cabin on the ship I would take it if they offered it to me. Does the next handcapped person who calls have a superior claim to it than I?
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Old January 8th, 2004, 10:25 AM
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Default Re: Able bodied people booking accessible cabins!!!!!!!!! Do

Handicapped cabins do go fairly early as most handicapped people book early to ensure they get this type cabin. Four month out of sailing is not a time to expect a handicapped cabin to be available. Understand that cruiselines will try to accomodate handicapped people in handicapped cabins and will often even offer anyone that has pre-booked one an upgrade is they are willing to release it. I do agree that an able-bodied person should not take this cabin unless actually needed.
Jim

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Old January 8th, 2004, 11:39 AM
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Default Re: Able bodied people booking accessible cabins!!!!!!!!! Do

Tim,
that's really bad no point in having such cabins unless they can be used by those who need them.
Teresa
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Old January 8th, 2004, 11:44 AM
Asealady
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Default Re: Able bodied people booking accessible cabins!!!!!!!!! Do

I agree 100 percent. Its a good point, I think many passengers
never think of this.
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Old January 8th, 2004, 12:01 PM
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Default Re: Able bodied people booking accessible cabins!!!!!!!!! Do

In all fairness, many able bodied people that are put in accessible cabins may not be aware of the fact that this is even the case. The cruise lines get some of the blame here too.
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Old January 8th, 2004, 12:51 PM
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Default Re: Able bodied people booking accessible cabins!!!!!!!!! Do

I really don't understand how this happens. My wife has relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Several years ago when we wanted to book on RCI and my wife was having problems, the line required a doctor's statement for us to get a handicapped-accessible cabin. Seems like a good policy to prevent this type of abuse. Since then, she has had no problems to justify such a cabin, and we have not booked or been assigned to one of these.

Thanks,
Richard
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Old January 8th, 2004, 03:34 PM
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Default Re: Able bodied people booking accessible cabins!!!!!!!!! Do

>>In all fairness, many able bodied people that are put in accessible cabins may not be aware of the fact that this is even the case. The cruise lines get some of the blame here too.<<

Yeah, I'm wondering about this. Don't non-disabled people ever get assigned accessible cabins without asking for them? It's hard to imagine that there are that many jerks who would request accessible cabins without needing them, but maybe I'm wrong.
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Old January 8th, 2004, 05:27 PM
Mickie
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Default Re: Re: Able bodied people booking accessible cabins!!!!!!!!

As a handicapped person who does book such cabins I can tell you that we have to jump through hoops to book them. I have a Dr. apt tomorrow for which I have to pay to fill out the form to send to Princess. Then unscrupulous people and TA's call and book the cabins with the promise the paper work is coming and then never send it. It is very rare that the cruise line will follow up on it. And I have been on ships where 3 of the only 4 accessible cabin were booked by non disabled people and there were 16 of us that needed them and ended up in inside unaccessible cabins in the lower part of the ship. They made no effort to move those in the cabins.
and Yes people are bumped to these cabins if they are empty close to sailing and that is fine, but booking them because you want a bigger cabin is like all the other things people do, chair hogs, smokers smoking in non smoking areas, you know the long list of "I'm the only one that matters here, hang the rules," things.
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Old January 8th, 2004, 05:38 PM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Able bodied people booking accessible cabins!!!!

Maybe time to switch lines that you cruise with. Just asking?
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Old January 8th, 2004, 06:45 PM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Able bodied people booking accessible cabins

Yes, perhaps consideration of a change in lines is in order, if your present line allows people to book a handicapped accessible room when they don't need it and you do, all without any medical evidence. All I know is RCI required their reciept of the doctor's statement before allowing us to book such a room back in 2000. If they still operate this way, it would be a good choice for people with mobility limitations. The line we take the most now, Radisson, always seems to accomodate the handicapped as I have observed, even though it has not been necessary for us to ask for any such accomocations on any of their cruises we've taken.

Thanks,
Richard
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Old January 8th, 2004, 07:04 PM
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Default Re: Able bodied people booking accessible cabins!!!!!!!!! Do

This has been very informative--I never knew what the process was for booking an accessible room. Glad to hear the paperwork is required at least in theory, although it sounds like some of the lines could do more to enforce that policy.
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Old January 9th, 2004, 12:56 AM
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Default Re: Able bodied people booking accessible cabins!!!!!!!!! Do

I am totally supportive of people with disabilities booking handicapped cabins. But however, these cabins are also alloted to those with handicaps who are not mobility impaired - those with visual and hearing impairments! They may not appear handicapped but they are - and for the most part handicapped cabins are the only ones on the ship that are set up for those with visual and hearing deficits (ie: braille, flashing lights when the phone or door bell rings, etc.) Are they to be denied the right to have a handicapped room because they can walk and have no mobility impairment?

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Old January 9th, 2004, 09:44 AM
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Default Re: Able bodied people booking accessible cabins!!!!!!!!! Do

I agree 100%. If someone has any disability that requires them to have an accessible cabin, they should be able to book it. There are people who don't need any kind of special access to their cabin and book them anyway, assuming that "there will be plenty left for the people who need them". Tim - don't let the change of cruise lines ruin your vacation. You can still have a fabulous time as there are many cruise lines available. Good luck with the booking and have fun!

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  #18 (permalink)  
Old January 9th, 2004, 09:47 AM
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Default Re: Able bodied people booking accessible cabins!!!!!!!!! Do

I still don't get how these able-bodied people are getting accessible cabin assignments, though. Are you guys saying the ABPs are specifically asking for these assignments to get more room, or are the cruise lines not paying attention? Or both?

Some of you have said the lines require documentation from physicians? Do some of them not require it?
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Old January 9th, 2004, 10:08 AM
Mickie
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Default Re: Re: Able bodied people booking accessible cabins!!!!!!!!

Yes abled bodied people are booking the cabin and saying they are disabled or the agent does when they book the cabin, then they just don't bother to send the paperwork and the cruiseline seldom follows up in those cases.
And to those who mentioned it I have cruised several cruiselines so it is not like I am staying with one line that has this problem.
Another problem is that the cruise line software that assigns cabins or shows what cabins are available is configured in such a way that if someone with a disability books an accessible cabin and later cancels that cabin instead of going back to special services to assign instead goes into the general pool of available cabins for anyone to book, it is even less likely at that point that anyone is going to check the documentation.
Also I am not assuming that the cabins were booked by someone without disability just because they walked out of the cabin, I have been told by the cruiseline that some of them had no documentation on file and others I have met and inquired of the actual people in the cabin and been told no they did not have any problem they just were given that cabin. I am well aware that many disablilities are not visable.
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Old January 9th, 2004, 11:59 AM
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Default Re: Able bodied people booking accessible cabins!!!!!!!!! Do

Well, all this just proves a point I like to make that the Americans With Disabilities Act (Federal Law) has too many loopholes and lacks vigorous government enforcement.

The cruiselines' trade association has taken the position that ADA does not apply to them, and no one has taken them on over it. This is another case of the lines wanting to be AMERICAN only when it suits their desires, such as when they want to take advantage of our bankurptcy laws. Otherwise, they want to be FORIEGN and exempt from US laws.

What a mess!
Richard
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Old January 10th, 2004, 02:29 PM
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Default Re: Able bodied people booking accessible cabins!!!!!!!!! Do

We just received our monthly cope of "Inside MS" , the magazine of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, which contains an article on cruising with this and other disabilities. The article states that Carnival, NCL, Princess, and RCI all have "special needs" departments to assist in booking and accomodating the handicapped. I don't know if calling and asking for this department would help the problem, but it couldn't hurt. The article states that the US Justice department has determined that cruise ships ARE subject to the requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act, but is still in the process of issuing guidelines. After all this time since this Act was passed. Sounds like somebody needs a fire lit under their ---- well, you know what!

Thanks,
Richard
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Old January 10th, 2004, 02:40 PM
Mickie
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Default Re: Re: Able bodied people booking accessible cabins!!!!!!!!

It is true that the cruiselines you mentioned do have special Needs departments it is also true that you cannot phone them directly. You must go through your travel agent or through there regular customer service agent who then calls them and talks to them so you are always stuck going through a third party.
I just today faxed over to Princess my latest medical form that they require after going yesterday and paying to see my Doctor so she could fill out this form. I will not hear anything back from Princess on this however. I simply sent it off into fax land and hope for the best.
There is no good reason why these departments should not be completely available to disabled passengers to contact and speak with real people directly and get answers to the questions they need answered.
For instance I notified them that I am having a scooter delivered to the ship by one of the biggest rental agencies for such things and I need to know where I have to go when I get there to claim this. some say it will be in my cabin others that it will be at the dock, [somewhere] Also no clear answer as to whom I see at check in, they have special assistance for disabled passengers for check in and boarding they just leave it up to you to figure out where it is. and it is not easy to navigate a packed terminal in a wheelchair and with carryons as I am sure you all know, not easy for the person in or pushing the chair and not easy for the other passengers that need to try to make room. a little clearer idea where to go at the terminal would be a big help.
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Old January 10th, 2004, 03:25 PM
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Default Re: Able bodied people booking accessible cabins!!!!!!!!! Do

The original poster offer NO proof what so ever that able bodied people have booked those cabins, he himself admitted the cruiseline wouldn't comment on who's booked those cabins or any other for that matter, Its no body business who's booked in one cabin or another.. Could it be , that the original poster just waited to long to book one the few handicap cabins?? maybe the people who did book those cabins are indeed disabled, but REALISED that there are only few of this cabin and they booked early...Umm? I'm sure the all the cruiselines have some system or another to qualify people before awarding these cabins ... Its incrediable how many people JUMP into one of these threads without even considering the original posters motives or valitidty.

The Moral is, if you have a special needs BOOK EARLY , and don't expect other people to wait until your'e ready to book..

Happy Sailings
Srpilo.
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Old January 11th, 2004, 11:48 AM
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Default Re: Able bodied people booking accessible cabins!!!!!!!!! Do

Princess does not require a medical note to book a handicapped cabin. They do require a medical note of disabled people with the OK from the doctor indicating that they can travel and asking for medical information so that they have it on file in case there is a medical situation on board. We also have run into this with Princess. They trust those booking need the cabin and if people lie, they won't check to see if they really need the cabin, they just say the cabin is booked. AND PEOPLE DO LIE TO GET THESE CABINS. My travel agency has gone round and round with Princess on this and they admit it is a loophole in their system. We continue to sail Princess, wife is disabled, because they actually handle disabled people the best on board--they even have shore excursions specifically for disabled people--no other line has this. We have had poor results with Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. Have not tried Carnival. I believe the original poster since we have experienced it ourselves. Unforunately with some jobs, booking more then 4 months out is not possible.

Please, do not book these cabins unless you need them. I agree with LIsa that these cabins can go to those with visual and hearing impairments and that is fine. I have a friend who is blind who literally can not walk in regular rooms without getting bruises on their legs because the walk way is so small. The rails in the bathrooms are also useful for those without sight.
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Old January 11th, 2004, 11:51 AM
Jason H
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Default Re: Able bodied people booking accessible cabins!!!!!!!!! Do

Sorry, I agree with Mike and not Lisa. Those with mobility and hearing impairment I can see benefit from these rooms. I am talking about able people who book these rooms who shouldn't and there are plenty of those out there.
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Old January 11th, 2004, 11:53 AM
Jason H
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Default Re: Able bodied people booking accessible cabins!!!!!!!!! Do

Sorry got confused with Lisa's comments. She sounds supportive of other mobility impairments such as blindness which can be a mobility impairment.
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Old January 11th, 2004, 03:59 PM
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Default Re: Able bodied people booking accessible cabins!!!!!!!!! Do

In my post above, I mentioned that the magazine "Inside MS" published by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society has an article on cruising mentioning special contacts with four major lines for those needing any type of handicap accomodation. Some of you have responded that you have tried, but were not able to speak directly to these departments.

In the interest of information, here are the numbers and extentions given in "Inside MS."

CARNIVAL: (305) 599-2600, Ext. 70025

NCL: 1-800-327-7030, and ask for the "Special Needs" department.

PRINCESS: 1-800-PRINCESS, and ask for "Special Needs" deptartment.

RCI: 1-800398-9819. Access Desk; 1-800-722-5472, Ext. 34492 (voice/TDD)

If any on this board have tried these contact numbers and have not been able to speak to someone about your situation and needs, let me know by posting on this thread. I will get email notification of your post, and will contact this magazine so they can clarify any misinformation.

Thanks,
Richard
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Old January 11th, 2004, 08:51 PM
Mickie
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Default Re: Re: Able bodied people booking accessible cabins!!!!!!!!

Richard,
I have called Princess at the number you list and have been told several times now that I cannot speak to anyone in that department directly that I must speak to the customer service agent and they will speak to special needs with me on hold and then speak to me and so forth and so on. I think it is outrageous behavior.
I have in the past spoken direct with NCL special services and RCCL special services but got the same run a round with Celebrity .
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Old January 18th, 2004, 07:54 PM
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Default Re: Able bodied people booking accessible cabins!!!!!!!!! Do

Another issues is the overall availability of a type of cabin. If I was to book a lower deck balcony cabin and only one is left and it happens to be a handicapped cabin, what is the cruise line to do? Do they refuse to seel it to me assuming someone who is handicapped MIGHT book later? Or book me knowing they'll get that money?

If that happens, it would make sense to upgrade me to open that cabin, but that loophole may not show who is and who is not handicapped.

I definately sympathize, but if I NEED a particular type of accommodation for my trip, I'd make sure I had it before requesting vacation time. Some trips I book s specific hotel/flight/etc, others I use priceline or hotwire to save money as long as I get close to what I want.

Since most ships are NOT registered in the US do they still need to comply with ADA because they are US companies?
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Old January 18th, 2004, 07:59 PM
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Default Re: Re: Able bodied people booking accessible cabins!!!!!!!!

The courts have decided that YES they do have to abide by the ADA, however the actual rules that will apply to Cruise ships have not yet been determined it is currently being studied.
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