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| Date Published: February 15, 2012 |
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|Update: Costa Announces Compensation for Concordia Passengers, Cancellation Policies for Future Cruisers|
Special: The Costa Concordia Disaster, 1 Year Later
(Updated 12:20 p.m. EST) -- Costa Cruises has announced more of its compensation plans for passengers onboard Costa Concordia on January 13 when it capsized.
Passengers will be compensated 11,000 euros (about $14,500) apiece by the cruise line. According to a statement from the cruise line, the amount will cover "all patrimonial and non-patrimonial damages, including loss of baggage and personal effects, psychological distress and loss of enjoyment of the cruise vacation." As of February 14, Costa has extended the deadline for passengers to accept or reject this compensation plan. They now have until March 31 to make their decision.
The deal does not cover crewmembers, those who lost loved ones or those who were injured.
This follows on the heels of earlier announcements on compensation and cancellation policies for travelers booked on upcoming Concordia cruises and sailings on other Costa ships. In a statement, Costa added that it is "in contact with its guests and all consumer protection associations to determine indemnity for the hardship endured, with the support of the tour operator association of each country."
For passengers onboard Concordia on January 13:
Costa will refund the entire cost of the cruise, as well as all travel expenses incurred in reaching the embarkation port and returning home after the evacuation. The line will also reimburse any medical expenses incurred due to the accident.
The line will also refund all onboard expenses, with credit card charges being credited back to customer accounts and cash deposits refunded as well.
Costa will also make every effort to return belongings left in in-cabin safes. The line will keep passengers informed about the return of any personal belongings salvaged.
As stated above, passengers will be compensated 11,000 euros (about $14,500) apiece as a lump sum. It's offered to all uninjured passengers, including nonpaying children; crewmembers, those who lost loved ones and those who were injured will be handled separately. The line will not deduct from this sum any money paid out by passenger insurance policies.
Finally, the line will offer a program for psychological assistance to any passengers who request it.
Some media outlets have reported that passengers evacuated from the ship have been offered a 30 percent discount on a future cruise, but Costa spokesman Buck Banks tells Cruise Critic that the cruise credit is only for travelers scheduled to board the ship January 14 or after.
For passengers booked on Concordia cruises through March 23:
Travelers have three options:
They will receive price protection if they rebook on any available five- to seven-night Costa cruise, departing January through March 2012.
They can rebook on available 11-night cruises on Costa Serena (cruises through March 17), a sister to Concordia, or Costa neoRomantica (February through March 13) for a $150 per person supplement.
The 19-year-old neoRomantica will complete a $125 million makeover, one of the largest ever cruise ship refurbs, in early February. You can read about the dramatic changes here.
Or travelers can choose not to rebook with no penalty. The line will refund these passengers the price of their cruise, as well as the cost of government taxes and fees, and any airfare, hotel stays, transfers and vacation protection purchased through Costa. Additionally, they will receive a future cruise credit valued at 30 percent of the fare paid and applicable for any Costa sailing departing after June 1, 2012, and within 18 months of the original sail date.
Passengers must choose their preferred option by February 7, 2012. In addition, travelers who booked their own airfare should contact their airline for rebooking policies. Costa will reimburse up to $200 in change fees in the form of onboard credit, as long as documentation is provided.
For passengers booked on Concordia cruises on or after March 24:
Costa neoRomantica and Costa Magica will offer Western Mediterranean itineraries, so travelers can sail as planned, but on a different ship. Concordia passengers will receive price protection if they rebook on neoRomantica (March 24 - May 17) or Magica (May 21 - October 29), all seven-night sailings.
The 2,720-passenger Magica debuted in 2004 and is slightly smaller than Costa Concordia. To find out more about the ship, read Costa Magica reviews.
Or, travelers can choose not to rebook with no penalty. The line will refund these passengers the price of their cruise, as well as the cost of government taxes and fees, and any airfare, hotel stays, transfers and vacation protection purchased through Costa. Travelers who made independent travel arrangements should contact their providers for cancellation/change policies.
Passengers must choose their preferred option by February 7, 2012.
For passengers booked on all other Costa ships:
Travelers can choose to cancel their cruise for any reason with no penalty. The line will refund these passengers the price of their cruise, as well as the cost of government taxes and fees, and any airfare, hotel stays, transfers and vacation protection purchased through Costa.
Passengers must notify Costa of their intent to cancel by February 7, 2012.
--by Erica Silverstein, Features Editor
--Image appears courtesy of the Associated Press.
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