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Consumer Newsletter – September 2009



September 2009




For Anne Barker, a timely delivery of portable oxygen “saved the day” --and the cruise. Barker had brought along her personal oxygen equipment for her voyage aboard one of American Cruise Line’s ships. On the seventh day of her ten-day cruise, Barker’s equipment began to malfunction.

“I called my travel agent,” she reports, “and my agent called Special Needs at Sea. There was a time frame problem because the delivery had to be when the ship was in port. We were in Nantucket and my cell phone stopped working so I wasn’t able to tell anyone where to deliver the oxygen rental pack.”

Special Needs at Sea checked on the ship’s itinerary and had the oxygen equipment waiting at the next port of call. “I was able to continue my travels uninterrupted. I would not hesitate to recommend Special Needs at Sea to anyone.”


Cruise vacations can be excellent choices for travelers with disabilities, but choosing the right line and ship is key. Holland America Line is one such line that provides safe, easy, and accessible accommodations for all persons with disabilities, to the extent that it is feasible.

Almost ten years ago, Holland America Line installed the industry's first system for the safe, comfortable transfer between ship, tender and pier for guests using wheelchairs. The custom-built system is now on 13 of 14 ships. Continuing its commitment to being a leader in providing accessible solutions for guests, each new ship and each time a ship is refurbished, it is carefully designed with accessibility in mind.

All of Holland America’s ships have accessible cabins but the ships of the Signature Class (Eurodam and upcoming Nieuw Amsterdam, which debuts in June 2010) and Vista Class (Zuiderdam, Westerdam, Noordam and Oosterdam) have the most with 30 and 28 cabins per ship respectively whereby enabling travelers to take their pick of staterooms in every category type. These staterooms have roll-in showers with a hand-held shower head and vertical bar to adjust the fixed shower heads and heavy-duty handrails. Staterooms with verandahs have ramp access to/from the verandah. Guests can also request additional in-room equipment, such as elevated toilet seats.  Read more.


Salem, Massachusetts may be one of the spookiest towns in America. Best known for the witchcraft trials of 1692, October is a particularly good time to visit Salem when the “Halloween Capital of the World” comes alive.

Beginning October 1, Salem kicks off a full calendar of Haunted Happenings that range from a Haunted Harbor Cruise, reenacted scenes of the Witchcraft Hysteria, Costume Galas (for both adults and pets) and a ‘Mourning Tea,’ which celebrates the dearly departed. Salem in October has something for everyone - for the entire family to adult-only events. Vendors fill the streets with the most unusual wares in a place where it’s not uncommon to see people in costume month-long.

Salem also has specialty museums, a rich maritime heritage, green city parks, and superb seafood. Visitors can follow the Salem Heritage Trail, a Red Line along the sidewalks to navigate through Salem’s sites. The Witch History Museum, The Salem Witch Museum, Cry Innocent, the Tall Ship Friendship and the fascinating collection of art and history at the Peabody Essex Museum are all worth visiting and wheelchair accessible. As some of Salem’s sites date back to the 17th century, they either have limited accessibility or no accessibility. The outside of Salem Pioneer Village 1630 is wheelchair accessible, while the first floors of the Derby House (home of America’s first millionaire) and the Narbonne House can accommodate standard wheelchairs up to 26” in width. Derby House and Narbonne House recommend that you call at least three days in advance (978 740-1660).  Read more.

Interesting Fact: Nathaniel Hawthorne was born "Nathaniel Hathorne" but changed his name to disassociate himself from his ancestor John Hathorne, a judge at the Salem Witch trials.

Cruise Information: Carnival, Celebrity, Crystal, Cunard, Holland America, Princess, Royal Caribbean all sail from Boston, just a short drive from all Salem has to offer.




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'"As a traveler with special needs, what was your favorite cruise and why?" 

Please share your story with our readers for upcoming issues. Your answer may appear in our newsletter or online at The author of our favorite letter will receive a $50 voucher off his/her next Special Needs at Sea rental.

Submission must be received to by 9/30/09. Voucher must be redeemed by 8/31/10.


"I refuse to let a disability determine how to live my life. I don't mean to be reckless, but setting a goal that seems a bit daunting actually is very helpful toward recovery." Christopher Reeve 


On September 1, 2009, officials announced that Hilary Lister, a woman who controls her boat through straws linked to switches, became the first female quadriplegic to sail solo around Britain.

Delivering an Accessible World.

Toll Free: 1-800-513-4515
International: 1-954-585-0575

2860 West State Road 84, Suite 107, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312

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.




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