Carnival Corp has reached a comprehensive agreement with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) to settle allegations that it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
“This landmark ADA agreement will enable individuals with disabilities the opportunity to equally enjoy a full range of cabins and services that previously were unavailable with vacationing on cruise ships,” said DOJ attorney Wifredo Ferrer on 23 July.
The settlement covers 62 vessels under the Carnival Cruise Lines (CCL), Holland America Line (HAL) and Princess Cruises brands, including 55 vessels on the water and seven on order. Of those, 42 existing ships and the seven on order will be renovated to comply with the ADA agreement.
On these 49 vessels, 3% of the cabins will be rendered accessible for disabled people, categorised by three levels: fully accessible, fully accessible with a single-side approach to the bed, and ambulatory accessible. The DOJ noted that this is the first time a cruise company has been required to provide a minimum number of accessible cabins.
The other 13 ships covered by the settlement “will be subject to possible remediation if they continue to be in service in US ports four years after the agreement is entered”, said the DOJ.
Carnival will implement ADA training and appoint an ADA compliance officer at the executive level, an officer at the CCL brand level and one for Princess and HAL brands, plus shipboard compliance officers. The cruise giant has agreed to pay a civil penalty of USD55,000 plus USD350,000 in damages to “individuals harmed by past discrimination”, said the DOJ. However, Carnival Corp “expressly denies that it has violated the ADA, and by entering into this agreement, does not admit any wrongdoing”.