Special Needs Group, a global provider of special needs equipment for the travel industry, was recently named the exclusive mobility and oxygen equipment supplier for Norwegian Cruise Line.
The agreement, which is effective immediately, applies to all 11 ships of Norwegian's fleet, including its newest and largest ship, the 4,100-guest Norwegian Epic.
"We are proud to be affiliated with Norwegian Cruise Line, an outstanding cruise co mpany that has consistently worked to welcome and accommodate guests with special needs," said Andrew J. Garnett, founder and CEO of Special Needs Group.
Norwegian and other lines in the growing cruise industry are proactively taking steps to accommodate guests with disabilities, both in ship design and onboard services.
According to Garnett, cruise ships are growing larger with each generation of new-builds. For example, Norwegian Epic, which debuted in July 2010, measures 1,080 feet from bow to stern. This, coupled with an aging U.S. and European population, along with an existing market of 43 million individuals with disabilities, increases the need for wheelchairs, oxygen, scooter rentals and other special needs equipment rentals designed to make cruising easier for slow walkers and travelers with disabilities.
With Special Needs Group's new exclusive contract with Norwegian, it is now the only mobility and oxygen equipment supplier that is approved to deliver to all major cruise lines. Special Needs Group works with, and is recommended by, all major cruise lines including Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Holland America and more.
The company provides a full range of special needs equipment, including motorized scooters, power chairs, oxygen equipment, portable oxygen concentrators (POCs), patient lifts and other mobility aides for cruise travelers. It delivers directly to cruise ship staterooms at ports around the world. All services are customized. In addition to providing services to cruise guests, Special Needs Group also rents and sells equipment to cruise lines.
"Our goal is to make cruising enjoyable and accessible for everyone, especially guests with disabilities who may not have thought that they could see the world," said Garnett.