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Consumer Protection: Cruise Passenger Rights

cruise shipsWith World Consumer Rights Day coming up on Saturday, it’s important to understand all of your consumer rights, especially as a traveler. The cruise ship industry has taken a major hit with recent disasters, from deadly capsizing to norovirus outbreaks. With the reputation problems, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has been working on ensuring that all passengers are treated fairly by the cruise lines.

This led to the development of the passenger bill of rights, which applies to all U.S. travelers who purchase on North American cruise lines. Adopted in 2013, the rights are designed to protect passengers from mechanical failures and other problems that can arise on a cruise.

Next time you go on a cruise, print this out and bring with you:

The Members of the Cruise Lines International Association are dedicated to the comfort and care of all passengers on oceangoing cruises throughout the world.  To fulfill this commitment, our Members have agreed to adopt the following set of passenger 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.

So before you book that dream cruise, make sure you understand what your rights are and how you can best protect yourself from a vacation disaster.

Flying? Make sure you know your rights as an airline passenger as well.

With the recent major data breaches, do you trust retailers with your credit card information? Are you less likely to use your credit and debit cards to make a purchase? Take our monthly poll and let us know.

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