Do you love to cruise? Well you’ll be happy to learn that there is FINALLY a cruise passengers bill of rights establishing how cruise lines are expected to conduct themselves during unexpected events and emergencies.
For much of the past year news headlines about cruising have been about equipment breakdowns, norovirus outbreaks and disasters, instead of the pleasures of cruising. As aging fleets are renovated, and cruise lines roll out mega-ships the size of floating cities, the chance of unpleasant incidents aboard ships has increased.
In response to a significant dip in cruise bookings following the well publicized stranding of passengers on board Carnival’s Triumph, The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and all of their member Cruise Lines have adopted a Passenger Bill of Rights.
Passengers booking a cruise in North America on any of the 26 CLIA member cruise lines, are now protected by an adopted Passenger Bill of Rights, which holds the conduct of cruise lines to a uniform standard of service. Member cruise lines have agreed that passengers have these rights:
- The right to disembark a docked ship if essential provisions such as food, water, restroom facilities and access to medical care cannot adequately be provided onboard, subject only to the Master’s concern for passenger safety and security and customs and immigration requirements of the port.
- The right to a full refund for a trip that is canceled due to mechanical failures, or a partial refund for voyages that are terminated early due to those failures.
- The right to have available on board ships operating beyond rivers or coastal waters full-time, professional emergency medical attention, as needed until shore side medical care becomes available.
- The right to timely information updates as to any adjustments in the itinerary of the ship in the event of a mechanical failure or emergency, as well as timely updates of the status of efforts to address mechanical failures.
- The right to a ship crew that is properly trained in emergency and evacuation procedures.
- The right to an emergency power source in the case of a main generator failure.
- The right to transportation to the ship’s scheduled port of disembarkation or the passenger’s home city in the event a cruise is terminated early due to mechanical failures.
- The right to lodging if disembarkation and an overnight stay in an unscheduled port are required when a cruise is terminated early due to mechanical failures.
- The right to have included on each cruise line’s website a toll-free phone line that can be used for questions or information concerning any aspect of shipboard operations.
- The right to have this Cruise Line Passenger Bill of Rights published on each line’s website.
Perhaps most significant on the list is item #6 which calls for every ship to have an emergency power source that will hopefully eliminate the ghastly tales of non-functioning toilets and spoiled food. And should the worst happen, there are finally clear guidelines for the reimbursement of passengers who are inconvenienced. Definitely a step in the right direction!
Photo Credit: Flickr cc-Lynn Dombrowski