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Mar/Apr 2010 Issue

Cruises go the distance for special needs travelers

The cruise industry has long been proactive in accommodating guests with disabilities. As new ships are built, design features have been added to take into account wheelchair access and facilities for those with hearing and sight special needs.

Features on newer ships include specially equipped staterooms with wide doors and large, accessible bathrooms for guests in wheelchairs, Braille menus and call buttons, easy access on and off the ship, text telephone devices in some staterooms, and special dietery needs menus.

For example, the new Carnival Dream has accessible routes and modified staterooms on all decks. The Dream sails from Port Canaveral, Fla., on seven-day Caribbean cruises.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has a function on its Web site that lists ships according to a passenger’s needs. Research online at or call your AAA Travel agent.

Harry Potter at Universal

This spring, prepare to step into the world’s first fully immersive Harry Potter-themed experience as The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opens at Universal Orlando Resort.

Walk the streets of Hogsmeade and visit shops and other establishments from the J.K. Rowling stories.

Other attractions include the twin high-speed roller coaster, Dragon Challenge, and a smaller family coaster, the Flight of the Hippogriff. See Hogwarts castle and characters from the popular books at the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction.

Although an exact date has not been released by Universal Orlando Resort, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is set to open this spring at the Islands of Adventure, one of two theme parks at the Florida resort.


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