Ask Howard Anything – Interpreting and Cruise

VIDEO DESC & TRANSCRIPT: The NAD logo appears on bottom right corner as a watermark. Howard A. Rosenblum, NAD CEO, is sitting at his desk.

HOWARD: Do you enjoy going on cruises? When going on cruises, will you get interpreter services? What does the law say? There’s a lot of confusion on this. The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) does apply to cruises. The United States Supreme Court in the case of Spector v. Norwegian Cruise in 2005, ruled that any cruise ship that touches U.S. waters must comply with the ADA. If a cruise ship sails from Europe or another country and arrives at another country, without touching the United States, then that ship is not required to follow the ADA. Any cruise ship that arrives at an American port or leaves from an American port must follow the ADA. That is what the Supreme Court decided in that case. Despite this court opinion, many cruise lines refuse to provide interpreters. Some cruise lines say they follow the ADA but refuse to provide interpreters. That does not make sense. The NAD has reached out to many cruise lines and asked them to comply with the ADA by providing interpreters to deaf and hard of hearing passengers. If any of you want to go on a cruise but are facing barriers, you can contact the NAD for support. It is your right under the ADA to have interpreting services on your cruises. This is where the law may not be clear to some cruise lines. For example, when you request that a cruise provides ASL interpreting services, a cruise line might say, yes, you can provide your own interpreter even though the law is clear that the cruise lines must provide the interpreter, not you. Another example, some cruise lines will provide interpreters only for on ship activities and not for off ship activities or excursions. Cruise lines will argue that’s where the law is not clear. If you want to go on a cruise, and are not sure what your rights are or are facing problems with the cruise, contact the NAD for support! We will work with you to make sure all cruise lines that touch U.S. waters provide interpreters and other communication access for all deaf and hard of hearing people. Thank you.

Video cuts to grey background with the NAD logo quickly changing in different bright colors from teal to white to black to hot pink to green to orange to teal to yellow to purple to finally the official NAD logo with copyright text underneath “The National Association of the Deaf (c) 2019 All Rights Reserved”.

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