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What Is the Cruise Passenger Bill of Rights?

Melinda Crow

Last updated
Jul 27, 2023

Read time
3 min read

To ensure that cruise passengers are treated properly when it comes to issues of safety and well-being, industry leaders adopted the Cruise Industry Passenger Bill of Rights in 2013.

Working through the Cruise Line Industry Association (CLIA), member cruise lines agreed to the passenger bill of rights shortly after an engine room fire onboard Carnival Triumph. That incident left passengers stranded at sea for days in uncomfortable conditions as the ship limped into an alternate port.

The cruise bill of rights offers an additional layer of protections to the already stringent SOLAS safety requirements. The Bill of Rights ensures that passengers sailing with CLIA-member cruise lines are informed of mechanical difficulties that affect the cruise, will be issued appropriate refunds for canceled or shortened cruises due to mechanical failures, and are provided alternate lodging and transportation under certain circumstances.

The list of passenger rights also contains the right to an emergency power source if the ship's main generator fails, as well as a crew that is properly trained to handle emergencies. Member ships are also required to have full-time medical personnel onboard able to manage medical emergencies until onshore help can be provided.

Related: Disabled Passengers' Rights (EU) on a Cruise: What to Expect

The Cruise Passenger Bill of Rights

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5.  The right to a ship crew that is properly trained in emergency and evacuation procedures.

6. The right to an emergency power source in the case of a main generator failure.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. The right to have this Cruise Line Passenger Bill of Rights published on each line's website.

**Related: If Cruise Ships Have Engine Failure: What to Expect**

Publish date January 08, 2020
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