HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITY ACT
This year, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) celebrates its 20th Anniversary. Since the ADA’s inception, we have seen significant changes within the travel industry including accessibility across the fleet for cruise ships, including foreign-flagged vessels carrying U.S. passengers and more ramps, railings and grab bars in public venues. We have also seen a deepening respect and higher level of acceptance for all forms of ability differences.
Looking ahead, there are new provisions being implemented that will bring even more positive changes for the slow walker and special needs traveler. For example, new rulings will bring over 100 state and local governments into ADA compliance, making it easier for you to access almost any facility or venue in even the most remote, rural location. Additionally, the guidelines for what constitutes a "disability" have been expanded to include temporary conditions as well as conditions that can be controlled with medications.
Even though the ADA has made significant strides, there are still more improvements that can be implemented. For example, we’d like to see booking features relating to accessible accommodations on online booking sites and more universal accessibility standards around the globe. Foreshadowing future advances, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, Anne Duncan, commented in a recent address that students with disabilities who graduated in 2010 are members of the "ADA Generation" – – a new generation of Americans with disabilities growing up with the expectation of "no barriers"; of differences no longer being an issue, or even noticed. This is an important advance for inclusive and accessible travel throughout the U.S. and around the world. Read More.
CRUISE LINE SPOTLIGHT: DISNEY CRUISE LINE
The Disney name is synonymous with providing world-class entertainment and fun. With its launch in 1998, Disney aimed – and succeeded – in combining the magic of Disney with the elegance of a cruise. Disney Cruise Line offers children, teens and adults round-the-clock activities. Nearly an entire deck is dedicated to children’s activities, while adults have their own restaurant and Quiet Cove Pool to indulge in. Disney Cruise Line also makes sure that individuals with disabilities can experience the magic of Disney.
Most guest areas aboard the ships – including theaters, restaurants and shops – are accessible to guests. Transfer tiers are provided at one of the feature pools. And special viewing areas at scheduled onboard activities are set aside for guests using wheelchairs.
Guests with disabilities have access to Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. The island includes the following: paved pathways throughout the main promenade, providing access to shops and restaurants; sand wheelchairs, available on a first-come, first-served basis; a wheelchair-accessible tram; and accessible restrooms. Read More
CITY OF HIGHLIGHT: SEATTLE, WASHINGTON
Seattle is the northernmost major city in the contiguous United States. The most popular time to visit is during the summer – May through October – when the warm weather and the sun shines down on Seattle. With its abundance of accessible sightseeing destinations, restaurants and nightlife, Seattle is a favorite tourist destination.
Two of Seattle’s most famous and "must see" attractions are the Space Needle and Pike Place Market. Once serving as the symbol of the 1962 World’s Fair, the Space Needle is now one of the most recognizable structures in the world. Visitors take an elevator 520 feet up to see the breathtaking Seattle views. Both the Space Needle and the famous SkyCity Restaurant are wheelchair accessible. The Pike Place Market is a large open-space market. Although it contains beautiful fresh flowers, gourmet foods, an assortment of import goods, antiques, collectibles and other shops, it is best known for its flying fish. The original Starbucks is also housed in the Pike Place Market and is a popular tourist destination for coffee lovers.
A lesser known – and one of the more interesting Seattle destinations – is the Museum of Flight. The museum contains a world class collection of space and flight memorabilia. The interactive museum is divided into separate sections and immerses visitors with aircrafts, history and personal stories. The main exhibit hall, the T.A. Wilson Great Gallery, contains 39 full-size historic aircrafts. The J. Elroy McCaw Personal Courage Wing highlights the stories of courage, dedication, heroism and human spirit of fighter aviators in World War I and World War II. The Airpark is home to America’s first Air Force One, the first 747, the original 737 and a Concorde jet. Other parts of the museum contain traveling exhibitions, an exhibit on the early history of Boeing, flight simulators and more. The Museum of Flight is wheelchair accessible. Read More.
Interesting Fact: In 2008, Central Connecticut State University ranked Seattle and Minneapolis as the most literate large cities in America. Additionally, the Seattle Public Library system has the highest percentage of library card-holders per capita in the country.
Ship Information: Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean
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QUOTE OF THE MONTH:
SPECIAL NEEDS GROUP NOW SERVICING NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE
Special Needs Group was named a preferred mobility and oxygen supplier for NCL. The status is effective immediately and includes all of NCL’s ships, including the EPIC. Special Needs Group now works with, and is recommended by, all major cruise lines.
SPECIAL NEEDS GROUP WINS CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY PROGRAM OF THE YEAR IN 2010 AMERICAN BUSINESS AWARDS
Special Needs Group was honored as the winner of the 2010 Corporate Social Responsibility Program of the Year "Stevie," as part of the nationwide 2010 American Business Awards.
As strong advocates for the disabled, Special Needs Group helps thousands of individuals each year enjoy barrier-free travel.
Winners were announced at an Awards Banquet in New York on June 21.
Delivering an Accessible World.
2860 West State Road 84, Suite 107, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312