Cruise Line Policies Shifting


A few years ago many cruise lines required a doctor?s note from passengers who wanted to book an accessible cabin. OK, I know some folks got around that requirement, but for the most part it was the policy.

But change is afoot.

According to the latest buzz on cruise discussion boards, cruise lines are now moving to self-declaration rather than MD certification. In short, they now ask passengers who want to book an accessible cabin to submit a simple letter stating their access needs. For example, a roll-in shower or grab bars in the bathroom. You don?t have to state a specific diagnosis or go into detail about your medical issues (unless you use supplemental oxygen, which is an entirely different issue).

Although some advocates consider this a step back, because they feel it opens the door for greedy AB cruisers to book accessible cabins for the extra space; I prefer to look at it as a step forward. Interestingly enough the proposed access guidelines for passenger vessels prohibit medical certification in most cases. So I?d like to think that this shift in cruise line policy means that we are getting closer to actually having some final access guidelines in place. Of course that?s up to the Access Board, but like I said, I?m hopeful.

As for the greedy AB passengers, sure some will lie, but to be honest the liars have issues that go way beyond cruising. For the most part I think AB passengers that end up in accessible cabins assume that they?ll be moved if the cabin is needed by a disabled passenger. Of course this doesn?t happen, so the self-declaration letter will at least serve as a deterrent to those folks.

OK, so it?s not a perfect system, but what is? Asking for medical documentation is not allowed under the ADA and IMHO it?s just too invasive. Self-declaration is certainly a step in the right direction.