Sea Princess recently hosted a group of 25 new graduates from Guide Dogs for the Blind and their owners for the day in San Francisco, to familiarize them with how Princess Cruises can accommodate visually impaired travelers and their canine companions.
The group was able to enjoy a tour of the ship and lunch in the dining room, while learning how Princess can provide for their needs and those of their dogs. The event was hosted in association with Dimensions in Travel, a travel agency that regularly organizes travel for Guide Dogs for the Blind clients, to give new guide dog users a feel for what to expect if they join one of the agency’s group cruises, or travel independently. Since 2004, Princess has hosted 11 Guide Dogs for the Blind groups on cruises to destinations such as Mexico and Alaska.
“Working with these clients has changed the way we travel,” said Diana Saint James, owner of Dimensions in Travel. “It’s not all about what we see when we travel anymore—it’s all of our senses. That’s what our relationship with our blind travelers has taught us. It’s a different way to see the world.”
Aboard Sea Princess guests were able to test out many of the special features offered for visually impaired travelers and their dogs. For the dogs, the ships provide special life jackets, bowls of water in the dining room, and relieving boxes with favored cedar chips. Passengers also have specially translated menus and can enjoy reserved seating in the Princess Theater with room for their dogs. During a cruise, passengers and crew are also invited to meet the dogs during a designated play time.
“These dogs are canine heroes,” said Brian Rademacher, Princess Cruises district sales manager. “It’s truly a labor of love for us to work with this wonderful organization.”
A more detailed video of this guide dog familiarization day is available on YouTube at: http://youtu.be/tHm3CpXc1wg. A photo album is also available on Flickr at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/princesscruises/sets/72157626819027374/.