Cruise Line Association Unveils “Passenger Bill of Rights”
As another cruise ship accident makes headlines this week, the organization representing major cruise lines announced that its members will adopt a passenger bill of rights that guarantees the “safety, comfort, and care” of cruise goers.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)—formed just six months ago following the merger of several international industry associations—took a major step in its commitment to provide vacationers a sense of safety and security by establishing a “Passenger Bill of Rights.”
Cruise lines will be required to adopt and abide by the bill of rights as a condition of membership in the association.
Among other things, the statement promises full refunds for trips cancelled due to mechanical failures and partial refunds for voyages that are cut short, and it guarantees transportation and lodging if a mechanical failure forces an unscheduled dock.
It’s been a rocky start for CLIA, which emerged just as the cruise industry was beset by a series of high-profile mishaps. The group has had to answer questions about the January 2012 grounding of the Costa Concordia off the coast of Italy, juggled reaction to several incidents involving Carnival cruise ships, and will likely face more questions after a fire aboard Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas ended a cruise this week.
CLIA, which represents 25 major cruise lines including Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian, said its North American member companies adopted the bill of rights immediately. The group will also submit the measure to the International Maritime Organization, requesting the rights be honored throughout the international maritime industry.
“The Cruise Industry Passenger Bill of Rights codifies many longstanding practices of CLIA members and goes beyond those to further inform cruise guests of the industry’s commitment to their comfort and care,” CLIA President and CEO Christine Duffy said in a statement. “The cruise industry is committed to continuing to deliver against the high standards we set for ourselves in all areas of shipboard operations.”
Duffy told the Associated Press that the idea for the bill of rights came in response to demands from Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) that the industry set certain minimum standards and protections for passengers aboard cruise ships.
Schumer, in an email to the AP, said that while the bill of rights is a good step forward, he still has “many remaining questions, both on the content and how the bill of rights will be enforced.”