The next time you take a cruise, pay special attention to the agreement you accept before boarding the ship. This is called the “cruise contract,” and can usually be found posted on your respective cruise line’s website. These cruise contracts govern much of what happens when you have a dispute with the cruise company, so they are very important. Here are some areas of particular interest:
1. Cruise Lines Can Change Arrival and Departure Times Due To Weather – We have written about this one many times before because last summer hundreds of passengers sailing with Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Lines were left stranded in Puerto Rico. As a hurricane threatened, the cruise ships decided to sail early, without notifying the passengers. Those who were left behind had to fend for themselves, including finding hotel rooms and paying for flights to get home, or link back up with the cruise ship. Neither cruise line was responsible to reimburse the stranded passengers. Royal Caribbean actually refused to reimburse the passengers, until a huge commotion on the internet caused them to relent.
2. The Cruise Line May Change The Itinerary Without Notice – Say you have been saving for years, to take your dream cruise, and you finally book the right cruise, sailing to the right destinations, at the right time, for the right price. You would be shocked if you were to board the ship, and find that the cruise line has actually changed the ports of call. However, this does happen. According to the cruise contract the company may change the ports of call “for any reason, at any time, without prior notice.”
3. The Cruise Ship Doctor’s Poor Medical Care Is Not Our Fault - Many cruise ship contracts actually specify that, should a passenger receive poor medical care from the ship’s on-board doctor, the cruise line is not at fault. Put another way, the ship’s doctor works directly for the patient, i.e. the passenger who needs medical care, and not the cruise line. Any malpractice, according to the contract, is not the fault of the cruise line.
Hickey Law Firm, P.A. – Miami Cruise Ship Accident Attorneys