A national dialogue on passengers’ rights came to a head in 2010 after a series of incidents in which commercial air carrier travelers were stranded on planes on tarmacs for hours, without access to sufficient food, water, fresh air or toilet facilities. The result was a passenger bill of rights and a wake-up call for the airline industry.
However, cruise ships are not only the means of travel, but the resort as well, and the issues are more complex, including injury, assault, theft and being stranded hundreds of miles out at sea.
Cruise lines are obliged to provide reasonable care. In the days and weeks ahead we can expect consumer advocates, lawyers, legislators and regulators to try to define “reasonable care” to a greater degree.
At the moment, consumers’ best source of information about their rights may be found in the terms and conditions of travel tickets.
This also underscores the importance of carefully reviewing travel insurance policies, not only to see what they cover, but also their exclusions.