Cruise Ship Passenger Bill of Rights Assures Commitment to Guest Safety

In what some are calling a proactive public relations maneuver,  Cruise Lines International Association’s (CLIA) board of directors last week approved the adoption of  a “Cruise Industry Passenger Bill of Rights,” outlining the members’ ongoing commitment to “the safety, comfort and care of guests.”

The CEOs of CLIA North American member cruise lines immediately verified their adoption of the Bill, a condition of membership in the Association. Once submitted to and globally recognized by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the Bill will be effective immediately for all U.S. passengers who book a cruise on any of CLIA’s North American member cruise lines, regardless of destination or itinerary.

“The cruise industry is committed to continuing to deliver against the high standards we set for ourselves in all areas of shipboard operations,” Christine Duffy, president and CEO of CLIA, said in a press release.

In addition to posting the Passenger Bill of Rights on CLIA members’ respective websites, the Association has also provided materials to almost 14,000 travel agent members with the hope of relaying the message to booked and potential passengers that their safety and comfort is still the industry’s top priority.

“The Cruise Industry Passenger Bill of Rights codifies many longstanding practices of CLIA members,” Duffy said, “and goes beyond those to further inform cruise guests of the industry’s commitment to their comfort and care.”

The timing of the adoption of the Passenger Bill of Rights, three days after more than 2,000 passengers had to be flown to back to Baltimore after their Royal Caribbean liner caught fire en route to the Bahamas, has some experts calling the Bill a public relations move in response to numerous highly publicized malfunctions and potentially fatal mishaps.

Although no one was injured in the industry’s latest incident at sea, it comes a little more than a year after 32 people died when their ship, The Costa Concordia, ran aground and partially sank off the coast of Italy. Earlier this year, an engine fire killed the power on board the Carnival Triumph, leaving its passengers adrift in the Gulf of Mexico for days.

The International Cruise Line Passenger Bill of Rights affords passengers the right to:

  1. Disembark a docked ship if essential provisions (food, water, restroom facilities, access to medical care) cannot adequately be provided onboard
  2. A full refund for a trip canceled due to mechanical failures, or a partial refund for trips terminated early because of those failures
  3. Professional emergency medical attention available on board ships operating beyond rivers or coastal waters full-time, as needed until shore-side medical care is available
  4. Timely updates and status reports as to any itinerary adjustments of the ship in the event of a mechanical failure or emergency, as well as updates on the status of repair efforts
  5. A ship crew properly trained in emergency and evacuation procedures
  6. An emergency power source in case of a main generator malfunction or failure
  7. Transportation to the ship’s scheduled port of disembarkation or the passenger’s home city in the event a cruise is terminated early because of mechanical failures
  8. Lodging if disembarkation and an overnight stay in an unscheduled port are required when a cruise must end early for mechanical reasons
  9. 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 the shipboard operations
  10. Have this Cruise Line Passenger Bill of rights published on each line’s website