Me: "Good afternoon, this is Bruce with ******* ******* **** and I'm calling because your guest is currently occupying a wheelchair accessible stateroom and I see that they have not completed the necessary form to occupy this room."
Travel Agent on other end: "No they don't have any ADA needs."
Me: "I would like to know if your guests would consider switching to another stateroom as I have a wait list for this stateroom by another guests that does need this wheelchair accessible stateroom."
T.A. on other end: "I don't think my clients are interested in moving. They chose this room because it's close to the elevator and they can't walk very far."
Me: "I can understand that, but I do have a guest that is in a wheelchair that needs this stateroom. Maybe you could contact your guests and just ask them if they will switch to another stateroom?"
T.A. on other end: " I don't think I'll be calling them. What gives you the right to call and ask me to have my clients move to another room anyway? I think this is ridiculous for you to call me like this when they have already put a lot of money on this room and other amenities for their stateroom."
Me: "I understand that your guests have spent a lot of money for this sailing. What gives me the right to call is that I have a guest with ADA needs and it's my job to make sure that their needs are met on our ships. I can't force your guests to move, but I can ask you to ask them to do the right thing."
T.A. on other end: "Well you'll just have to find someone else to ask about moving. I'm not going to call and upset my guests with this kind of question."
(End of phone conversation)
Not every call that I have to make of this nature goes this way, but most of them do go in this direction.
Our ships are foreign flagged vessels and not subject to ADA, but since the average age of the guests on our ships is 60+, we make every effort to make sure that we can meet the needs of those guests that fall under ADA from life threatening food allergies to service animals to wheelchair stateroom accommodations.
My department is two (yes that's 2) handling requests for guests on 14 ships and one (yes 1) manager to make sure that the company is helping us help these guests. We have our hands full to say the least.
Why is it that given the average age of our guests are 60+, they feel that they don't need to do the right thing? People in this generation certainly were raised with better values than even I was!!!! Do they think that they deserve to act like prats when calls like this are made!?
Where is their sense of right or humanity? I'm sure that when I reach that age I'll appreciate having a stateroom near the elevator or some of the other nice little services that are provided for people with ADA needs. Of course as long as my legs still work (among all the other bits and pieces) I'd like to think that I will still do the right thing and make way for someone with a need at hand.
I'm grateful for the praise that we receive on the occasional basis, but really tired of the lack of decency shown for the most part to those that didn't ask to be in the positions they're in now.
Please make sure that you're doing the right thing next time you find yourself in the position to do so for folks that have a disability they didn't ask for.
Cruise ship karma lesson: when a guest says "no" to moving, you run the risk of the ship making a decision for you once on board.