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Cruise Ship Observations by Lou Touchette

From Arizona Daily Star, 10/28/2013
About Lou Touchette

Lou Touchette is an active member of the Adult Loss of Hearing Association (ALOHA). For the past four years he has spearheaded a program called “Let’s Loop Tucson.” In this capacity he has been working with 350 local churches, the Tucson Airport, local businesses, libraries and individuals to install and promote “Looping.” He teaches loop installation classes, does presentations in the community and across the country, co-hosts monthly hearing loss meetings in Green Valley, writes articles and is always available to do looping demonstrations whenever/wherever needed. He has been on both radio and TV and often appears in local and national newspaper articles. As a hard of hearing person, he is dedicated to making life better for others like himself. He has both a hearing aid and a cochlear implant to enable him to hear. Here are his observations:

Having cruised on both Oceania and Holland America I can share my own experiences as a hard of hearing person.

Oceania provided absolutely no assistance. Period.

Holland America on the other hand, did provide minimalistic accommodation.

Unfortunately, most cruise ships are of European origin and are not subject to Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which states that individuals with disabilities are entitled to “full and equal enjoyment” of the services of a “public accommodation."

My observations aboard my recent cruise aboard Holland America:

Television: While the “LG” TV had a CC button on the remote control, nothing on any channels was captioned. There was a DVD player in the room and with more than 1,000 movie titles available to watch, they all had subtitles. I spent a lot of time watching them.

Safety/alerting: I requested safety assistive listening devices for my room and was provided a TTY, door knock, smoke, fire, sensor and a few other devices strobes and horns.

Public Places: With dozens of meeting rooms the only place that had any hearing assistance was in the main theater where nightly entertainment was provided. I was able to check out an FM Receiver (72 mHz) and a neckloop to use during performances. Nowhere else on the (2000 passenger) ship would this receiver work.

Emergency/public announcements: All key personnel aboard the ship spoke with a variation of foreign accents. Announcements on both the TV and the ships intercom were next to impossible to understand.

For more of Lou’s observations:

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