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Cruise Line, Justice Okays Pact on Blind Passengers

Editor's Note: Editor's Note: The following article is re-printed from the Salt Lake Tribune, September 11, 2001

WASHINGTON -- Norwegian Cruise Line Ltd. agreed to allow sight-impaired persons to travel on its ships under the same terms and conditions as other passengers, the Justice Department said Monday. The agreement is part of a consent decree reached with the department and signed by a federal judge in Miami.

The agreement resolves a suit filed in January against Norwegian Cruise Line under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The department filed suit after complaints from three people who alleged that the cruise line imposed requirements on them because of their blindness.

The individuals said they were told they had to have a sighted companion in their cabin, obtain a doctor's note saying they were fit for travel and sign forms assuming financial liabilities for shipboard injuries.

After the lawsuit, Norwegian changed its policies to allow blind people to travel without special terms or conditions.

Under the pact, Norwegian will not require blind people to travel with or share a cabin with a sighted person; obtain a medical note prior to travel; or assume liability for travel risks unless the same requirement applies to all passengers.

"We are pleased that Norwegian has taken these steps voluntarily," said Ralph Boyd, assistant attorney general for civil rights.