Friday, December 12, 2008

What'd ya say?

I was reading a "Venture" magazine today which got me thinking about some of my most used sayings.

In an article about accessibility and air travel, David S. Martin who is Delta's disability program manager quoted, "Knowledge is power" when talking about how advantageous it is for consumers to know their rights as outlined in the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA). It stuck out to me because I've said those same words many times and in the same context. "Knowledge is power" and I believe that if you have a disability and you fly, you should get familiar with your rights. Knowledge will empower you if you have a problem. Even just knowing what/who a "CRO" is and when you have a right to involve this person can mean a world of difference.

"A picture says a thousand words" has been a saying at Connie George Travel Associates for years. We use it referring to how important our accessible travel photo gallery is to us. I've seen people who haven't cruised since acquiring a disability start to feel more comfortable with the idea based on their seeing what to expect or seeing others in similar situations enjoying themselves. I've also seen people who are skeptical because they've either purposely or accidentally been misled about access which they didn't find out until they were in a negatively surprising situation. We've used photos to educate suppliers and to advocate for clients with suppliers. In fact "a picture says a thousand words" was the reason we started our site, which is dedicated to being the internet's largest photo gallery pertaining to accessible cruising.

One of my personal favorite quotes is, "When written in Chinese, the word "crisis" is composed of two characters. One represents danger, the other opportunity." Despite having recently learned that it's a myth and not accurate, it's been a favorite of mine for nearly two decades so I'm sticking with it.

In the spirit of being upfront, I should also admit that I grew up in the '70s and used "Duh!" so much that I drove my mother crazy with it. I slacked off for a long time, but it seems to be coming back into my vocabulary a lot more. You'll probably be happy to hear that I mostly reserve it for talks with friends and my kids!

Whether you developed your favorite sayings while embroidering peace signs on the pockets of your jeans or while reading the words of someone who is famous, enjoy using them! You either chose them based on your pull to the saying or you chose something that helped to shape you.


Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) -
"Venture- Your guide to accessible travel" -

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Celebrity Cruises debuts Celebrity Solstice (part 2)

My last blog ended with the riddle of what is missing from this Celebrity Solstice that is on other Celebrity ships, but that it would be a welcome loss. The answer? Thresholds, sills, lips... whatever you want to call those elevated spots between public areas that for some manual wheelchair users amount to mini mountains and for someone using a walker they are like a car going through a parking lot with speed bumps. The only lip which we personally encountered was going from the Solstice Theatre toward the Galleria Boutiques.

The Solstice Theatre offers excellent accessible seating so be sure to see their incredible new show called "Solstice." Guests will find truly accessible restrooms and well ramped access from outer decks with automatic doors along with additional access surprises in public areas... mostly positive ones.

Along with Celebrity's newer standard access features, we were pleased to finally see a ship cabin with an added electrical outlet and we had the best drainage I've ever experienced in a roll-in shower.

There were a few cabin negatives. Some of the accessible balconies reportedly have a longer ramp while ours was short and fairly steep. However, the sill in the balcony doorway was horrible. To Celebrity's credit they were attentive to our concerns and quick to address the situation. Before one of our clients went on the first official ("inaugural") sailing of Celebrity Solstice only six days later, the ship's crew came up with a fix. Though not the best accessible balcony sills among the fleet's ships, our client was able to easily and safely access his balcony with his manual wheelchair. I've been told that the sills were fixed in all of the accessible cabins.

A second issue is a vanity panel across the front of the "roll-under sink." For some people, there is still enough depth but it would be more practical and accessible if that panel is removed and the pipes wrapped which will probably give another few inches in depth.

Another fix needed is the threshold from the cabin to the corridor. The metal strip is at a right angle rather than beveled. Manual wheelchairs will need to "pop over" them.

I believe these last two fixes are possible and can be accomplished with relative ease and expense. I'll be happy to report in a future blog once we have confirmation that these issues have been fixed.

We have access photos of Celebrity Solstice on site's Celebrity Cruises photo gallery and will be adding more. When booking your Solstice cruise through us, your Access Travel Team specialist will share our "insider info & tips" with you.