WRAL television in North Carolina published a story today which reveals how cruise lines protect themselves from passenger claims by severely limiting the passenger’s rights in the cruise tickets.

Entitled "Cruise Passengers Have Few Rights," the article addresses the plight of a family in North Carolina who purchased a family cruise to Grand Cayman and Jamaica on Carnival’s Destiny cruise ship, but never saw those ports because of a propulsion issue.

The cruise ship was delayed leaving Miami and then ended up porting only at Nassau in the Bahamas which is less than 200 miles from Miami. The other four days, the family and the other passengers were stuck on the cruise ship.

For "compensation," Carnival gave each passenger only a $75 credit to use on board, even though the family spent close to $1,400 for the cruise.

This was not the first time this cruise ship had propulsion problems.

WRAL indicates that it found a propulsion problem dating to 2000.  Additional complaints began again in September and continued even after the cruise in question. 


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WRAL asked the question: "What rights do customers have when their cruise doesn’t go as planned?

"Based on the fine print on tickets, cruise ship passengers don’t have any right to compensation if the ship’s itinerary is changed.

Passengers can file a complaint with the Federal Maritime Commission, but that agency can only pass along the complaint to the cruise line. The agency cannot make a cruise line do anything.

The Federal Trade Commission also accepts complaints about cruise lines. The agency, however, does not get involved in resolving individual complaints  .  .  ."

As we have explained in prior articles, the cruise lines have spent years drafting their passenger tickets to take away passenger’s rights.  The cruise industry knows that cruise passengers upset at one cruise line, will just go to another cruise line – and visa-versa.  So these aggrieved passengers on the Carnival cruise will book their next cruise with Royal Caribbean.  Carnival doesn’t care because the passengers upset with Royal Caribbean for a similar problem will jump ship from Royal and begin cruising with Carnival.  

Cruise passengers need a bill of rights, similar to airline passengers. 


Credits:    WRAL.com North Carolina