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Accessible Alaska

SATH’s spectacular Seminar-at-Sea to Alaska was held May 26-June 2, 2007 on board Royal Caribbean International’s Serenade of the Seas, and it was a “serenade” indeed! Hosted by Ron Pettit, Access Manager for Royal Caribbean/Celebrity and Roberta Schwartz, SATH Director of Education, our group departed Vancouver, BC in Canada for a remarkable 7-day learning experience through the beauty of the Inside Passage of the great state of Alaska, visiting Sitka, Hubbard Glacier, Skagway and Juneau. We also would like to thank Barry Keys and his team at Quick Shuttle for providing transfers from Seattle, as well as Tourism Vancouver and Courtney Atmore for the wonderful “fam tour” they put together for us before we left on the cruise. Our escort, Chuck Scott of Wild BC Tours, took us on a wonderful adventure and told us of his experience working with disabled divers. We visited the Vancouver Aquarium, the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Gardens, the Vancouver Artgallery, and toured and lunched at the Fairmont Waterfront Vancouver hotel, all the while seeking out the accessibility features of our stops. This was an incredible opportunity to learn about Alaska and accessibility.

Here are some of the comments from the travel professionals who participated. Come back soon for more:

“Many travel agents said to me that having a Seminar at Sea that focused on accessible cruising would be a great idea! I was so excited about the opportunity to host this Seminar at Sea. It was a great experience - to be able to reach out and educate travel agents and provide them with information that would help them sell Royal Caribbean's accessible products and services and accessible Alaska cruises. Wow! For example, we had the unique opportunity to view accessible staterooms first hand as well as other accessible features of the ship. Also, the ability to go on the different accessible shore excursions and experience the various ports of call was another huge benefit of the Seminar at Sea.”

Ron Pettit
Access Manager
Trade Support & Services
Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd.
1080 Caribbean Way, 2nd Floor
Miami, FL 33132-2096
Tel: (305) 539-4480
Fax: (305) 539-6666
The Most Accessible Cruise Vacation Begins with You!
Contact our Access Department at (800) 722-5472 ext. 34492,
fax (305) 539-6666 or e-mail special_needs@rccl.com

“Steve and I had a great time and I really felt the seminar was very beneficial. It's always good to get the ‘inside scoop’ on things!...I learned a lot of little ‘nuances’ which will further help me to sell the product. We enjoyed the week very much....great food, service, entertainment and, most of all, great group of people! I look forward to more opportunities to participate in seminars at sea and gain further insight into access on additional ships.”

Debra Kerper
Easy Access Travel
Newport Beach, CA
800-920-8989
ezaccess@adelphia.net
www.easyaccesstravel.com


"I had a absolutely fantastic time on the SATH seminar at sea Alaska 2007. The Host Ron Pettit of Royal Caribbean and Roberta Schwartz of SATH gave a very informative presentation. The product knowledge and hands on approach taught me several things I was unaware of. With this I can meet and exceed the expectations of my guests with confidence, and has already helped me work better with my clients with disabilities. The Cruise was absolutely incredible with a great group of people. I thank you for the opportunity for me to broaden my horizons, as I look forward to the next seminar at sea to further develop my product knowledge. Thanks!"

David Koch
Senior Cruise Consultant
WMPH Vacations
Home of AlaskaCruises.com, CruiseCheap.com and HawaiiCruiseOutlet.com
220 Congress Park Drive, Suite 140
Delray Beach, FL 33445
Toll Free: 1-800-439-1909, ext 7858
Fax: 1-561-243-0007
Email: david.koch@wmph.com


“Some of the most important things I learned on the SATH Seminar at Sea included the accessible feature of the entire Royal Caribbean fleet, especially what to expect in the accessible staterooms. It was also good to learn about the special accessibility department at Royal Caribbean and how they can help me address issues.”

Tuula Ezzell, CTC, ACC
J. Martin Travel
Spokane, WA
(509) 459-3000
Tuula@jmartintravel.com


“Being able to stay in an accessible stateroom, I learned all the little things that are important to a person with a disability. I especially liked the fact that there was an accessible whale watching shore excursion…that was the best! I learned so much that will help me in my future career in tourism.”

William (Bill) Walker
Senior
Johnson & Wales University
The Hospitality College
North Miami, FL
WRW624@students.jwu.edu


"I thought I knew a lot about accessible travel before I went on this cruise, But what Ron Pettit and Roberta Schwartz taught me about the subject was very enlighting and makes it much easier to sell travel and cruises to the people with accessible needs. I was especially impressed with the overall accessibility of Alaska, and found more shore excursions and land opportunities than I expected.

As the baby boomers are turning 60 plus everyday, medical health is a big concern. They have the funds to travel at leisure and as you get to be that age, more and more medical problems arise. This group wants to travel and if you are able to meet their needs, they will be loyal cliets for many years to come.

Thank you Ron and Roberta for all the knowledge you have shared with me and I know that the seminar at sea for accessible travel will enhance my cruise career."

Shelly Schwartz, ACC
Senior Cruise Specialist
WMPH Vacations
Home of CruiseCheap.com and AlaskaCruises.com
1-800-439-1909 Ext: 7823
shelly.schwartz@wmph.com


Our final thoughts on SATH’s first Seminar at Sea on Serenade of the Seas to Alaska. We want to thank Royal Caribbean International, in particular our host Ron Pettit, Access Manager, and Lisa Bauer, Senior Vice President of Sales, for making this incredible trip possible. Check out the SATH website for all the comments and photos by clicking here. If you are interested in participating in a future Seminar at Sea, please contact Roberta@sath.org.

“As Director of Education for SATH, I knew that one of the best ways for our members to understand accessibility is to experience it first hand. Ron and I had begun discussing the Seminar at Sea during the 11th Congress, and thanks to Lisa Bauer’s understanding and vision, we were able to make this happen.
“Alaska is a wonderful destination that I have personally visited four times now. Because it is one of the fifty United States, Alaska is a very accessible destination for people with disabilities. There were many shore excursions that provided for various levels of mobility, and the towns we visited (Sitka, Skagway, and Juneau) also provided us with detailed materials on their access. Each participant also had the opportunity to stay in an accessible stateroom whether we needed it or not, giving all of us the chance to experience the features and benefits firsthand.
“Thanks also to Tourism Vancouver for putting together a wonderful pre-cruise tour of some of Vancouver’s highlights, all of which are accessible.
“Our first Seminar at Sea was a great success and we look forward to exploring other accessible ships and destinations, in order to provide the best information for our members.”

Roberta Schwartz, CTC, MCC
SATH Director of Education
(561) 361-0017
roberta@sath.org