Carnival Cruise Line has been certified as ‘sensory inclusive’ by KultureCity, an advocacy organisation that provides training and tools to enhance vacations for guests with sensory needs and invisible disabilities.
Guest-facing team members, including guest services personnel and youth staff, have been trained to understand and help adults, young adults and children with sensory-related questions or needs relating to conditions such as autism, ADHD, Down syndrome and PTSD.
Once on board, guests can check out KultureCity sensory bags for the duration of the journey. These contain a variety of items to help calm, relax and manage sensory overload. Items include comfortable noise-cancelling headphones, provided by Puro Sound Labs; fidget toys; and a visual feeling thermometer, produced in conjunction with Boardmaker; as well as a KultureCity VIP lanyard to help staff easily identify guests.
These measures have proven to be helpful in more than 450 landside venues such as stadiums, arenas and amusement parks that have partnered with KultureCity.
“Carnival Cruise Line and KultureCity share a heartfelt commitment to acceptance and inclusivity,” said Vicky Rey, Carnival’s vice president of guest care and communications and the company’s ADA responsibility officer. “Working together, all of our guests can maximise their enjoyment and be the truest versions of themselves during their time on board.”
The rollout of the programme started in October 2020 and all of Carnival Cruise Line’s South Florida-based ships are certified, with the balance of the fleet scheduled to be completed by March 2020.
Informational videos featuring actor Christopher Gorham, a member of the KultureCity board of directors, designed to create greater awareness among all guests, are playing on in-stateroom television on the line’s six certified ships and will expand across the fleet as the programme rolls out to other ships.
“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, co-founder, KultureCity. “We appreciate Carnival Cruise Line for taking this important step in making their vacations accessible to everyone.”
Carnival will also complete an additional special needs certification programme offered by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES).
The IBCCES programme includes 17 continuing education units (CEUs) of training in a variety of special needs, such as autism, Down syndrome, mobility issues and various other disabilities. Additionally, Carnival’s youth staff have different resources on hand to help soothe, calm and entertain children participating in youth programmes, such as weighted vests, conversation cards, sensory games and other aids.
“It has been a pleasure working with the Carnival team,” said Myron Pincomb, board chairman of IBCCES. “Their unwavering passion to go above and beyond to create the best experience possible allows guests of all abilities to ‘Choose Fun’.”
“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,” said Dr Temple Grandin, a renowned autism advocate and author and one of the first individuals on the autism spectrum to document the insights she gained from her personal experience with autism.
Images: Carnival Cruise Line