Carnival Cruise Line, as part of its commitment to make their cruises more accessible to everyone, has become the first “sensory inclusive” cruise operator. This honor was bestowed upon them by KultureCity, a leading non-profit dedicated to creating inclusion for individuals living with sensory needs and non-visible disabilities.
Staff members—including guest service and youth staff personnel—are being trained to better understand and assist guests of all ages with conditions such as Autism, PTSD, ADHD, Down syndrome, and other sensory disabilities. Special KultureCity sensory bags are also available throughout the cruise. These kits are filled with a variety of tools to help calm, relax, and manage sensory overload. Among the items are: Puro Sound Lab noise cancelling headphones, a visual feeling thermometer, fidget toys, and a KultureCity VIP lanyard to help staffers identify guests with special needs.
Dr. Temple Grandin, an acclaimed autism activist who was one of the first individuals on the autism spectrum to document her insights, applauds this program. She said, “Carnival Cruise Line is to be commended for training their staff about autism and offering sensory bags that will enable individuals with autism and their families to have an enjoyable cruise.”
Rollout or the program began in October and all of Carnival’s South Florida-based ships are already certified. They hope to certify the rest of the fleet just as quickly with a completion date slated for March 2020. To help spread awareness, an informational video featuring actor Christopher Gorham plays on in-stateroom televisions on the six certified ships and will soon expand to the rest of the fleet.
“Carnival Cruise Line and KultureCity share a heartfelt commitment to acceptance and inclusivity,” said Vicky Rey, Carnival’s VP of guest care and communications who also acts as the ADA Responsibility Officer. “Working together, all of our guests can maximize their enjoyment and be the truest versions of themselves during their time on board.”
These varying measures have been proven to work throughout more than 450 landside venues, including stadiums, arenas, and amusement parks. The Carnival ships that have implemented the KultureCity program are already receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback. “We’re proud and grateful to partner with Carnival Cruise Line, offering guests with sensory needs an opportunity to more fully enjoy their vacations and create wonderful memories with their friends, families and loved ones,” said Dr. Julian Maha, KultureCity’s co-founder. “We appreciate Carnival Cruise Line for taking this important step in making their vacations accessible to everyone.”
Along with the KultureCity certification, Carnival will be the first cruise operator to complete additional certifications offered by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES), which include seventeen continuing education units (CEUs) in a variety of special needs.
IBCCES chairperson, Myron Pincomb said, “It has been a pleasure working with the Carnival team. Their unwavering passion to go above and beyond to create the best experience possible allows guests of all abilities to ‘Choose Fun’.”
To plan your next vacation with Carnival Cruise Line, give our experts a call at 1-800-377-9383 or visit us online.
SOURCE: Carnival Cruise Line