TAKING ACCESSIBILITY TO NEW LEVELS: OASIS OF THE SEAS
Royal Caribbean International’s (RCI) much anticipated next generation cruise ship, the Oasis of the Seas, is ready for passengers. Rising sixteen decks high, she is the largest vessel afloat — and among the most accessible.
We toured the ship recently and can report first hand that the Oasis of the Seas offers the largest number of accessible staterooms of any ship, a total of 46. For the newer ships in the fleet, RCI has consistently maintained a standard of 1.7 percent of all staterooms designated as accessible, the highest percentage in the industry. Wider doorways, roll-in showers, grab bars and other assistive features ensure barrier-free vacations for guests. We especially like the fact that on the Oasis of the Seas, accessible staterooms are distributed throughout the decks, ensuring ample choices for location and category. One of the more deluxe choices is the ultra-modern, two-story Crown Loft Suite measuring 737 square feet — substantially larger than its non-accessible counterparts – and equipped with an elevator to transport guests between the upper and lower floors of the loft.
Of the 46 accessible staterooms on the Oasis of the Seas, 33 have balconies; eight with Central Park or Boardwalk view. Since most persons with disabilities travel with others, RCI designed half of the accessible staterooms on the Oasis of the Seas to accommodate more than two people. The ample number of family suites and adjoining staterooms facilitates multi-generational travel, a growing cruise trend. Twenty-two percent of all accessible staterooms connect to an adjacent non-accessible stateroom. Read more.
CRUISE LINE SPOTLIGHT: CELEBRITY CRUISES
Condé Nast Traveler readers consistently rank Celebrity Cruises fleet among the top ships in the world. With their modern amenities, wide variety of activities and entertainment, spacious accommodations and commitment to accommodate guests with special needs, it’s easy to see how the fleet earns its ranking.
Every ship in the Celebrity fleet was designed to accommodate people with disabilities and special needs. The wide, spacious corridors allow 180 degree turns for wheelchairs, most decks are accessible through automatic doors and all public rooms feature entrances with gradual inclines.
The Solstice class with the Celebrity Solstice and Celebrity Equinox, provides the best in accessibility options. These ships have 30 state-of-the-art wheelchair-accessible staterooms in a wide variety of categories including Sky Suites and balcony cabins. Unique to this class are automatic stateroom doors on all accessible staterooms, making making entry and exit easier. This class also has a lift for one pool and one whirlpool and accessible Guest Relations Desks. Three more Solstice class ships will join Celebrity’s fleet – Celebrity Eclipse in April 2010, a fourth ship in 2011 and a fifth ship in 2012. Read More.
CITY OF HIGHLIGHT: MIAMI, FLORIDA
Miami is home to thousands of mature adults and retirees, and during the winter, thousands more flock to Miami to enjoy the warm weather. Because of this, the city and its surrounding areas provide a plethora of offerings for people with special needs.
Miami has some of the best beaches in the world. To assist those who are mobility impaired, the city offers beach wheelchairs at Crandon Park Beach, one of the top ten beaches in the United States. Beach wheelchairs can also be found on 10th Street Beach and 72nd Street Beaches in Miami Beach and at Haulover Beach in North Miami Beach. The chairs are on a first come, first serve basis and are especially in high demand on Sundays. If you want to access any of South Florida’s other beaches or if you want the peace of mind that your wheelchair has been reserved, you can always rent one through Special Needs Group.
Miami is a great place for sports participants and enthusiasts. The Crandon Park International Tennis Center, as well as the Coral Pines Park, South Dade Park and Tropical Park all have accessible tennis courts. Golf courses like the famed Blue Monster course at the Doral Golf Resort & Spa provide visitors with some of the best – and most difficult – golf in the world. For those who prefer to watch sports, in 2010, South Florida will host the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl XLIV. Miami is also home to the professional sports teams of the Miami Dolphins, Florida Marlins and Miami Heat, all of which have accessible seating. Read More.
Interesting Fact: Miami is the only United States city to be planned by a woman, Julia Tuttle.
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The team at Special Needs Group would like to wish all of our travel agent friends and their families a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season. Thanks to you, we had a wonderful 2009 and we look forward to continued growth in 2010. May the New Year bring you love, happiness and success.
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About Special Needs at Sea and Special Needs Group…
Special Needs Group, Inc. is a one-stop resource for special needs travel around the world. We offer a broad range of special needs equipment for purchase and rental including wheelchairs, scooters, power chairs with capabilities to support 500 pound or more; oxygen (liquid, cylinder, and concentrator); hearing impaired equipment, Braille printing, baby cribs and more. Recommended by the world’s major cruise lines and hotels for superior service and value, we also provide consultation services regarding special needs policy and new-build design. Special Needs Group, a U.S. company, is not a travel agency; we do not compete in any way with travel agents.