Cruise lines have become increasingly sensitive to travelers with a variety of special needs in recent years, from dietary concerns to accessibility limitations to sensory issues. While the best possible accommodations are made to ensure all guests have a wonderful cruise vacation, it is also important to note that not every request can be met.

Carnival Cruise Line, which has been recognized for its “sensory inclusive” options, has also had to field unreasonable requests from guests who want more and more adjustments for their individual cruise vacations.

Carnival Cruise Line Brand Ambassador John Heald answers thousands of questions every week through his popular Facebook page, from topics such as dining room assignments and onboard entertainment to a range of requests from eager travelers.

While Heald does try to arrange what requests are possible to meet, not every request is one that is practical or possible to arrange, as is the case with a recent request for changes to bathrooms to accommodate sensory sensitivity.

A guest for an upcoming cruise reached out to Heald, noting that their 9-year-old son is on the autism spectrum with overwhelming sensory overload issues.

“We have recently discovered that the sound of the hand dryers in public bathrooms would make him so upset,” the guest explained. “Is there any way these can be removed from the bathrooms on our cruise on Carnival Vista?”

Carnival Vista (Photo Credit: Wirestock Creators / Shutterstock)

It should be noted that the guest acknowledges that they could use their stateroom restroom, but that doing so isn’t always possible “in time” when the need arises, as any parent with young children would agree.

Still, the request to remove hand dryers in public bathrooms around the 133,596-gross-ton Carnival Vista is a bit extreme, and ultimately, unworkable.

While Heald is unable to meet the guest’s request, he did note that the cruise line offers noise-canceling headphones as part of sensory kits available onboard. The kits are available from the Guest Services desk as a loan, without any fee or charge. On Carnival Vista, the Guest Services desk is located on Deck 3 forward, on the starboard side of the lobby.

“While we cannot remove the hand driers we can make sure this young man has a wonderful time, a safe time, and loads of Fun,” Heald said.

John Heald

The sensory bags are supplied by KultureCity, a leading nonprofit dedicated to accessibility and inclusion for everyone with any type of sensory sensitivity or other invisibility disability, such as PTSD.

In addition to noise-cancelling headphones, the kits include fidget tools, a visual “feeling” thermometer, and a KultureCity VIP lanyard so the guest can be easily identified by staff members.

All of Carnival Cruise Line’s guest-facing crew members – guest services staff, the Fun Squad, wait staff, etc. – are trained to recognize, understand, and help guests with sensitive and cognitive needs, ensuring that everyone can have an amazing cruise vacation.

Furthermore, the cruise line’s youth staff in Camp Carnival also have additional resources, such as weighted vests, conversation cards, sensory games, and other aids to help them soothe and entertain children with different needs.

Carnival Cruise Line Sensory Sign

KultureCity has recognized Carnival Cruise Line as “sensory inclusive” since 2019 due to these measures and the cruise line’s dedication to accessible, fun vacations for everyone. In June 2022, KultureCity honored Carnival Cruise Line with their “Human Highlight Award” for assisting a guest with sensory issues to return home from Aruba when flying was not possible.

The lead ship in the Vista class, Carnival Vista, is currently homeported from Port Canaveral, offering 6- and 8-night Eastern and Southern Caribbean itineraries. While the guest requesting hand dryers be removed from public restrooms did not identify a sailing date, they did note that their upcoming cruise was in June.

Read Also: What Is Wrong With Carnival’s Vista-Class Ships? (Hint – It Isn’t the Bathrooms)

This would have given Carnival Cruise Line no more than two months to remove hand dryers from the more than 40 public restrooms onboard the vessel – when all such restrooms are counted, and if all public restrooms feature hand dryers. No private restrooms in guests’ staterooms are equipped with hand driers.

The ship can welcome 3,934 guests aboard at double occupancy, and up to 4,977 passengers when fully booked. During summer sailings in June and July, the ship is likely to be more fully booked.

Ultimately, while all Carnival guests are welcome to contact Heald with questions, concerns, and requests, it is also important to be mindful of the reasonableness of one’s request and whether or not such actions could even be possible.

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