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Dr.JOHN AND CRUISING

May 27, 2003
MY HUSBAND, GARY, RECEIVED HIS 2ND GUIDE DOG,DR. JOHN, IN NOVEMBER OF 2001.
A WEEK LATER WE TOOK THE DISCOVERY CRUISE LINE FROM FORT LAUDERDALE TO FREEPORT GRAND BAHAMA. THE CRUISE LEFT AT 7 AM AND WE WERE IN FREEPORT IN THE EARLY AFTERNOON. BECAUSE OF THE SHORT DURATION, THE CRUISE LINE MADE NO SPECIAL ARRANGEMENTS. WE TOOK A "CAB" TO THE RESORT. THE CAB OVERCHARGED US ON THE WAY OVER BECAUSE WE HAD THE DOG. NORMALLY IT IS $5 PER PERSON AND WE WERE CHARGED $40. THE RESORT WAS VERY HELPFUL AND RECEPTIVE TO THE DOG. WE STAYED THERE 2 NIGHTS AND VIRTUALLY HAD NO PROBLEMS AT ALL. RETURNING ON THE SHIP, THE CAB CHARGED US THE NORMAL RATE AND ALL WENT WELL ON THE VOYAGE HOME.

IN JANUARY OF 2002 WE TOOK A THREE NIGHT CRUISE ON THE ROYAL CARIBBEAN SHIP, SOVEREIGN OF THE SEAS. THE STAFF SET UP A "LITTER BOX" IN A CLOSET IN A STAIR WELL OF THE CREW AREA. IT WAS A 4 BY 4 BOX MADE OF WOOD - ABOUT 4 INCHES HIGH. IT WAS FILLED WITH WOOD CHIPS. DOC DIDN'T REALLY LIKE TO USE THE BOX BECAUSE IT WAS IN SUCH CLOSE QUARTERS.

IN APRIL OF 2002 WE DID A REPOSITIONING CRUISE WITH NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINES ON THE NORWEGIAN SKY. THIS WAS A 6 NIGHT CRUISE FROM ENSENADA, MEXICO TO SEATTLE, WASHINGTON. THE CRUISE LINE PROVIDED A WOODEN LITTER BOX FILLED WITH SAND IN AN OPEN STAIR WELL IN THE NON PUBLIC AREA OF THE SHIP. IT WAS LOCATED JUST A FEW DOORS AWAY FROM OUR CABIN AND DOC AND GARY WERE ABLE TO LOCATE IT ON THEIR OWN. THERE WERE ABSOLUTELY NO PROBLEMS AT ALL USING THE FACILITIES THAT WERE PROVIDED. OF COURSE, DOC LOVED GETTING TO GRASSY AREAS WHEN WE WERE IN THE VARIOUS PORTS.

IN OCTOBER OF 2002 WE TOOK A CANADA AND NEW ENGLAND CRUISE FOR 5 NIGHTS ON THE GOLDEN PRINCESS. THE CREW PUT UP A LARGE CARDBOARD LITTER BOX WHICH WAS FILLED WITH A DARK GRAY MATERIAL THAT RESEMBLED SYROFOAM CHEESE DOODLES. THEY PLACED IT IN A CREW ONLY SECTION IN THE FORE END OF THE SHIP WHICH HAD TO BE ACCESSED FROM THE OPEN PROMENADE DECK. IT WASN'T A VERY CONVENIENT LOCATION AND DR. JOHN DIDN'T REALLY LIKE TO USE IT. A COUPLE TIMES, HE URINATED JUST OUTSIDE OF THE BOX. FORTUNATELY THERE WAS A HUGE DECK MOP RIGHT THERE SO I WAS ABLE TO MOP IT UP WITH NO PROBLEM. ONCE AGAIN THE GRASSY AREAS BY THE DOCK WERE MOST WELCOME WHEN WE WERE AT OUR SEVERAL PORTS OF CALL.

IN MARCH OF 2003 WE HAD A 1 NIGHT CRUISE TO NOWHERE ON THE REGAL EMPRESS. SINCE IT WAS A SHORT CRUISE, NO SPECIAL PROVISIONS WERE MADE FOR HIS RELIEF. WE BOARDED THE SHIP IN THE AFTERNOON, SO HIS BUSINESS WAS CARED FOR PRIOR TO EMBARKING AND WE DISEMBARKED VERY EARLY IN THE MORNING SO HE WAS ABLE TO WAIT UNTIL WE GOT OFF THE SHIP.

IN APRIL OF 2003 WE HAD A 2 NIGHT CRUISE TO THE BAHAMAS ON THE ROYAL OLYMPIA VOYAGER. WE WERE INITIALLY TOLD THAT WE WOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO BRING THE DOG WITH US BECAUSE ANIMALS ON BOARD WERE AGAINST THEIR COMPANY POLICY AND THEY HAD NO FACILITIES. AFTER FOUR MONTHS OF CONSTANT COMMUNICATIONS FROM ADVOCATES BELONGING TO SATH, THE GDUI, AND THE AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND TELLING THEM THAT THEY WERE BREAKING THE LAW AS PROVIDED BY THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT,THE CRUISE LINE FINALLY REVERSED THEIR DECISION. BECAUSE THE ITINERARY CONSISTED OF A GREAT DEAL OF TIME IN PORT, NO SPECIAL PROVISIONS WERE MADE FOR RELIEF NEEDS.

EVERY TIME WE HAVE TRAVELLED WITH DOC, GARY PORTION CONTROLS HIS FOOD IN PLASTIC PRODUCE BAGS THAT THE LOCAL GROCERY STORE SOLD TO US. HE SAVES THE EMPTY BAGS AND USES THEM FOR LITTER CLEAN UP.

DEPENDING ON THE DESTINATION, A TRIP TO THE VET IS USUALLY NECESSARY A FEW DAYS PRIOR TO DEPARTURE TO GET A CERTIFICATE OF HEALTH WHICH STATES THAT AS FAR AS THE VET CAN DETERMINE THE ANIMAL IS PARASITE FREE, HEALTHY AND ALL SHOTS ARE UP TO DATE. THIS IS NOT A REQUIREMENT IF TRAVELLING WITHIN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES. SOME COUNTRIES DO NOT ALLOW GUIDE DOGS WITHOUT A QUARANTINE PERIOD, OTHER HAVE SPECIAL CONDITIONS WHICH MUST BE MET TO ENTER THEIR COUNTRY AND SOME DO NOT ALLOW THE ANIMAL AT ALL. HERE, IN THE UNITED STATES, WE ARE PROTECTED BY THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT. ONCE WE LEAVE THE BORDERS OF THE US, WE NO LONGER FALL UNDER THE COVER OF THE ADA. NOT ALL COUNTRIES ALLOW GUIDE DOG PUBLIC ACCESS. THEREFORE, IT MAY NOT BE REASONABLE TO TRAVEL TO SOME PLACES.

THE CREWS ON THE SHIPS USUALLY ARE EXCITED TO SEE OUR BEAUTIFUL, LOVING, SMART AND WELL MANNERED GUIDE DOGS. THEY HAVE CONTRACTS THAT KEEP THEM AWAY FROM THEIR HOMES, FAMILIES AND PETS FOR PERIODS OF UP TO A YEAR. WHEN IT IS APPROPRIATE, WE HAVE EVER TAKEN DOC OUT OF HARNESS AND LET THE STAFF MEMBERS HUG EM AND LOVE EM.

IF YOU HAVE ANY OTHER QUESTIONS, CONCERNS OR NEED MORE INFORMATION PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTACT US.

Jackie Hull
OUTTA SIGHT TRAVEL, Inc.
2846 SW Port St. Lucie Blvd.
Port St. Lucie, Florida 34953
phone - 772-336-8747
fax - 772-336-8595
http://www.outtasighttravel.com