Separating to Emphasize Unequal?

Passenger Liner AUSONIA of Cunard Line

Image via Wikipedia

"There is a new cruise ship class system," begins the article by Andrea Petersen in the Wall Street Journal.

For the sake of argument, and stay in step with current political discourse in the US, let's bracket the American sensibility of egalitarianism and take it on face value that entitlement is a good thing. After all, the tradition of inequality on cruise ships is longstanding - and skillfully managed:

The Cunard Line has had at least two different classes on its ships for all of its 171 years. But President Peter Shanks says the industry's newest enclaves may provoke some backlash, particularly if they stick out as so much nicer than other parts of the vessel.
"When you create special luxury areas, it sort of doesn't gel with the rest of the ship," says Mr. Shanks. "If you're not careful, you can feel a bit imprisoned and at odds with the rest of the customers."

The phrase "feel a bit imprisoned and at odds with the rest of the customers" applied here to the privileged class might be the straightforward response to the experience. There is a revealing irony that this experience of being "excluded by design," which is the daily experience of the disability community, is also the experience of those segregated through privilege.  Still, no mention is made whether Universal Design permeates these enclaves or if the presumption is still that travelers with disabilities will be further segregated by limited access even when booking inside these ship-within-a-ship complexes:

 A growing number of cruise lines have built lavish--and separate--cocoons for their biggest spenders. It is a departure from the egalitarianism that had reigned on most ships for the last several decades when everyone from the humblest inside stateroom to the most luxurious suite would rub elbows in the same bars, dining rooms and pool decks. In a way, the trend is a throwback to the heyday of trans-Atlantic crossings in the 1920s, when first-, second- and third-class passengers were assigned separate areas of vessels...

Ship-within-a-ship complexes are usually tucked away, and cruise line executives insist that other guests don't mind the class distinctions.

"Generally people don't really know about it," says Kevin Sheehan, chief executive of Norwegian Cruise Line.

True, ppeople don't really know about it. More detail is necessary about the disability inclusion/exclusion assumptions expressed through design in these enclaves.

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