Sea Days

Although I?ve been MIA from the blogosphere for the past several days, I?ve had a good reason for my absence. I?ve been sailing the Southern Caribbean on Holland America?s Westerdam for the past week. OK, so I have had internet access, but what can I say ? time just got away from me. To my credit however, for the past two days at sea I have been putting the finishing touches on my next book. I put that in here, just in case my publisher reads my blog.

In any case it was a very good cruise. We called on Aruba and Curacao as well as HAL?s private island (Half Moon Cay). As far as access ashore goes, I?m happy to report that great progress has been made in both Curacao and Aruba since my last visit. In both ports they are paving more of the port area and as a result wheelchair-users now have an expanded area to shop and explore ? complete with curb-cuts. I was also thrilled to meet with one accessible tour operator in Curacao, and he showed me his lift equipped bus. So things are definitely improving.

As far as this ship goes, I had the opportunity to tour it extensively and see many accessible rooms. My full report will be in a future issue of Emerging Horizons, but I can say that I am quite impressed with HAL and their treatment of access issues. I?ve seen more than a few wheelers on board and all have pretty much been singing the praises of the staff and crew of the Westerdam.

I was particularly impressed with the showroom seating as wheelchair-users have a true choice. There are accessible seating options on all three levels of the showroom, so you can sit close to the stage, up in the balcony or somewhere in between. The accessible seating areas are also well marked, and from what I?ve seen those designations are pretty much respected by able-bodied passengers.

In any case it was a very productive trip and I?ve got lots of great information and resources to report to Emerging Horizons? readers. Tomorrow it?s off to the airport after a short tour of the Everglades.

Gotta run now — I?m late for cocktail hour.