GLOBAL ACCESS NEWS TRAVEL E-ZINE
VOLUME II, NUMBER 3, March 2001
Copyright © 2001, Global Access News

http://www.globalaccessnews.com/

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Please note: Any Internet links mentioned in this e-zine were verified as functioning as of the date at the top of this e-zine. Websites and e-mail addresses, however, change frequently, so changes may have occurred after that date.

Welcome to the March 2001 issue of the Global Access News Travel E-Zine. This month, our readers provide a fine collection of travel tips ranging from European insights to Reno access, along with additional insights on accessible cruising. Thanks to everyone for taking the time to share your travel experiences.

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CONTENTS

1. CARAVAN EUROPE
2. RAVES FOR RENO
3. CRUISE NEWS
4. ACCESSIBLE AMSTERDAM & ROTTERDAM
5. PUERTO RICO
6. TRAVEL FOR DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED PEOPLE

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1. CARAVAN EUROPE

If your passion is to caravan (RV) around Europe, two new web sites could help you realize your dream. Pete and Wendy Dolphin of Bedfordshire, England have done an outstanding job with their web site, “Pete & Wendy’s Information Pages for the Less Able” at http://homepage.ntlworld.com/peter.dolphin/Our_intro.html

Readers will find excellent reports on caravanning in France, Portugal, Belgium Holland, Austria, Germany Spain, Luxembourg, Tenerife and Eastern Australia.
Eric Gwilt, also of the UK, sent us word on his new “Caravanning4u” web site, featuring links to such holiday destinations as Salisbury Cathedral, Edinburgh Castle, Tower Bridge, Hadrian’s Wall, Disneyland Paris and more.
http://www.caravanning4u.co.uk

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2. RAVES FOR RENO

Mary Fowler and wheelchair user Jim Gonsalves, of Alameda, CA, share their fun getaway to Reno, Nevada in this month’s feature article, “Raves for Reno,” at http://www.globalaccessnews.com/reno01.htm

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3. CRUISE NEWS

Frederick A. Shotz, of ADA Consulting Associates, sent the following addendum to Gwen R’s Cruise Ship Checklist, which appeared in our February issue.

His remarks are based on an ADA compliance inspection of one of the newest cruise ships in the U.S. market. Shotz comments:

A) A roll-in shower is great, but if the shower seat is the 12-inch by 12-inch fold-down seat that I have seen, your chance of taking a shower without falling off the seat is not very good. Even if you can stay on the seat, there is a good chance that the high location of the shower faucet control will be out of reach.
B) Every stateroom bathroom has a lavatory (a sink). But in the wheelchair accessible staterooms, there is rarely, if ever, the under lavatory knee clearances needed by wheelchair users. Be prepared to not be able to use the shower, to not be able to reach the sink to brush your teeth, to have difficulty even washing your hands. If you need lateral transfer space to use the water closet (the toilet), forget it.

C) In your wheelchair accessible stateroom, if you have limited use of your hands or limited hand and/or arm strength, you will not be able to open drawers or the doors of cabinets. The door and drawer pulls usually require fingertip ability, and the force to open these doors and drawers ranges from 10 to 14 pounds.

D) The newest cruise ships have only 50% of the public restrooms designed for wheelchair accessibility. When you need a restroom, there is a 50-50 chance that the one you can use is on the other end of the deck from where you are. Traveling the length of a cruise ship can take a good 10 to 15 minutes. If your body does not allow for such a delay, you better carry a bucket at all times.

E) Only Holland American Lines have equipment to transfer people in their wheelchairs to tenders and then to the dock at ports of call. While the staff of other cruise lines will try to offer some assistance, there is no safe way to visit ports of call where the ship cannot tie up to a dock.

D) Once out of the U.S. very few, if any, of the shore tours will be wheelchair accessible. If you cannot get out of your wheelchair and climb aboard a bus or mini bus, you will probably be out of luck.

E) The key question to have answered is whether the cruise ship is in compliance with the requirements of Title III of the ADA and the ADAAG. No travel agent will be able to answer that question and most cruise lines, whether they know the answer or not, will not answer that question. If you are told yes by a cruise line, get it in writing to use as evidence when you sue them after your cruise.

Two new issues concerning cruise ships. Carnival cruise lines, just a few weeks ago, agreed to settle the ADA lawsuit against them. Over the period of the next six years, they will bring their 19 cruise ships into full compliance with the requirements of Title III of the ADA. This agreement is for the purpose of settling the lawsuit filed against them by Mr. Ed Resnick and Access Now, Inc. Also, Holland American Lines now has operational a new mechanical system that will allow them to transfer people with disabilities using wheelchairs to the tenders and then from the tenders to shore. This new ability on the part of this cruise line allows passengers with disabilities who use wheelchairs to get to shore in all ports of call. This device is not yet available on all Holland American ships, so passengers needing this assistance should check with the line about which ships are so equipped before booking a cruise.

On a whole different topic the U.S. Department of Transportation has now extended the reach of the Air Carrier Access Act to foreign flag air carriers.

For accurate information about the accessibility of several cruise lines, Shotz suggests that people contact Access Now, Inc. at http://www.adaaccessnow.org

 According to Shotz, they are the plaintiff association in ADA lawsuits against several cruise lines and know more about cruise ship accessibility, from the perspective of people with disabilities, than any other organization (except the cruise lines themselves who aren't talking).

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4. ACCESSIBLE AMSTERDAM & ROTTERDAM

Johan Peters, of the Netherlands, tipped us to two new web sites featuring the access of Amsterdam and Rotterdam. The Rotterdam site provides information about the accessibility of 500 Rotterdam cultural buildings, attractions, hotels, etc. While the site primarily focuses on access for wheelchair users, it also contains information for visually and hearing impaired people. http://www.accessible.rotterdam.nl/DefaultEng.asp

The Amsterdam site is a work in progress, but it still provides a sampling of accessible accommodations and tourist information for that city of canals. Check it out at http://www.ttfa.org/

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5. PUERTO RICO

Jane Danielson wrote to remind readers of a new article on her trip to Puerto Rico’s El Conquistador Resort, which she just uploaded to her site. If Puerto Rico is on your travel list, visit
http://www.editors-publishers.com

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6. TRAVEL FOR DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED PEOPLE

Ron C gave high marks to his travels with Lucky Mindy Adventures, of Minneapolis, MN, which specializes in tours for both developmentally and physically disabled people. "When I first started taking tours with Search Beyond Adventures in 1992, I started with their "extra assistance" tours, Cluck said. “I went to the Wisconsin Dells, Nashville/Memphis twice, Branson, Orlando, and back to Branson. In 1999, they changed the name of the tours to "Wheelers,” and that year I went to Nashville, Las Vegas and on a Western Caribbean cruise. But sadly, that would be my last tour with Search Beyond Adventures because they decided to drop their Wheelers tours. Luckily, Mindy Desens, the Extra Assistance tour coordinator, decided to take over the Wheelers tours by starting her own company, Lucky Mindy Adventures. That year I went to Washington DC and on a Deluxe Nashville tour. These tours are a great way for disabled people to get out and experience the fun of travel, meet new people, and see new places. The tours can be expensive, but in my estimation, the cost is worth it to experience the fun of travel." Visit Lucky Mindy Adventures at www.luckymindy.com or call 800-800-9979 ext. 19.

The Guided Tour at http://www.guidedtour.com/ features tours for persons with developmental or developmental & physical challenges. They also have a camp in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania for kids 5-21 years old with developmental challenges. For details, visit http://www.leemar.com/

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Global Access News welcomes your travel reports, tips and comments at clearpath@cox.net
Thanks for sharing!

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