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Carnival Cruise Line

Taking a break from the winter weather of New Jersey and cruising the waters of the eastern Caribbean was an absolute delight during the third week of March 2004. It was also special to accept an invitation from Carnival Cruise Lines to help them produce the second in their series of "People first" staff training videos. My Seeing Eye dog Alice and I were joined by my wife Karyl, however, though I am surrounded by "non-believers", this was very much a working cruise.

Immediately following my acceptance of Carnival's invitation, the work began. I was presented a script, which conveyed the direction of the overall project. As I review, revised and continually fine-tuned the script, I found Carnival personnel willing to make changes in the script, and ultimately in the focus of many of the video shots. While I truly found all of the Carnival staff I interacted with to be friendly and out-going, Kay Strawderman, Manager of Guest Access Services, J. C. Trueba, VP of Corporate Training, and John Migliori, Manager of Corporate Training went out of their way in terms of helpfulness and hospitality.

We began shooting shortly after we embarked and considered the shoot "fully wrapped" at 3:00 p.m. on Friday. While my wife was compelled to go shopping without me in St. Thomas, I got the next day off to join her in St. Martins. This was a special treat as we three, (Alice included), took an island bus tour and went sailing on a catamaran for several hours. To avoid the salt staining her harness, I removed it, however Alice remained calm and content lying on the deck. She got a little wet, but "that's all in a day's work".

Although we wrapped up the video portion of the project onboard, we still had more work to do in the studio. On Tuesday and Wednesday after the cruise, we had to re-record the entire script, although we had done most of it onboard. One more time" is an expression that I heard time and time again, however, many of them followed the statement "perfect"! This simply proved to be J. C.'s way of pushing the performance bar to the highest level possible.

While working and cruising I met many Carnival employees who were sincerely interested in the company's effort to make information about interacting with people who are disabled. Several crew members were quick to ask about, and implement suggestions and directions being developed for the video. Many indicated how much they were looking to review and learn from the video once it becomes available as part of Carnival's training package. Through my attendance at SATH for the past several years, I have met many travel specialists who are truly sensitive about the concerns and needs of people who are disabled. I am extremely pleased to number in this crowd my newly found friends from Carnival Cruise Lines. As a result of this entire experience, my wife insists that we do it again, so shall we - in August!

David a. Loux
Manager of Field Operations
The Seeing Eye, Inc.
Morristown, NJ 07960
dloux@seeingeye.org