April 17, 2001
Carnival Cruises - one of the lines-of-choice for members of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) - has settled a discrimination lawsuit by promising to make its cruise ships more disabled-accessible. The lawsuit, filed by Access Now, a Miami-based non-profit group for people with disabilities, had called for substantial improvements for disabled passengers, such as the addition of more cabins with enlarged doorways, less cramped interiors and roll-in showers that were more accessible to people who use wheelchairs. Carnival is the first cruise line to accept a ruling by the court, which has stated that the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) does apply to foreign-flagged ships that dock in the U.S. According to Edward Resnick, president of Access Now, Carnival’s agreement to make changes applies to ships under development as well as existing vessels. Resnick compliments Carnival’s willingness to adapt and also gives Princess Cruises a pat on the back for its disabled-friendly attitudes. Lawsuits are still pending against other cruise lines, Resnick says, including Costa, Holland America and Norwegian. Norwegian recently attracted headlines when a blind passenger who had purchased a cruise ticket and showed up at the dock, was turned away by the cruise line because he was traveling solo.