Disability rules to affect foreign cruises

Jan. 27, 2007 at 4:38 PM

MIAMI, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- A proposed set of regulations based on the Americans with Disabilities Act would affect all U.S. cruise ships and all foreign cruise ships at U.S. docks.

The proposal is on hold pending public comment but the government should finalize it later this year.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported that the federal government's proposed rules would ban discriminatory practices aboard such vessels and would likely force all cruise ships docked in U.S. ports to become more accessible to the handicapped.

International Council of Cruise Lines exec Ted Thompson said the implications of the proposal would not fully be known until any new ship design guidelines are revealed.

"It is difficult to analyze the impact of these regulations until we know more regarding the content of the guidelines," Thompson said.

The proposed rules, which include a ban on any selective price increases solely for handicapped passengers, would bring the cruise ship industry up to par with other forms of travel, the report said.

The newspaper said almost all other U.S. public transit industries have conformed to ADA guidelines and ban any discriminatory practices.

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