Anyone Read The Cruise Contract?
Written by: Kuki
Reading our message boards (http://www.cruisemates.com/forum/) , and those on any cruise related Internet message boards, you come across complaints from people about the manner with which cruise lines handle certain actions, in regard to things like itinerary changes.
In these cases the resulting responses are often less than supportive. Rather, those who respond state that the actions of the cruise lines are appropriate in accordance with the “cruise contract”.
Though, no one remembers ever signing a “contract”, correct? The “contract” is included with the cruise documents you receive prior to sailing, whether you print them at home, or have them delivered to you.
Your acceptance of the contract is implied by your booking, and again by you receiving those documents. And if you read the contract at that time, and disagree with certain clauses, it’s too late to say you don’t agree.
Below is a link to a randomly chosen cruise contract (this one happens to be that of Princess Cruise Line). Those of the other cruise lines are all very similar.
This is much too lengthy to post in its entirety here (and you wouldn’t read it).
But, if you don’t read it, at the very least, open the link, and read
14. LIMITATIONS ON CARRIER’S LIABILITY; INDEMNIFICATION.
That section describes all the thing the cruise line is NOT responsible for.
It’s pretty amazing to realize what actions the cruise contract allows the cruise lines to take (with your implied agreement), and what happenings they are not responsible for.
I think it’s also important to note any actions by the cruise lines beyond what is stated in the cruise contract are at the discretion of the cruise line.
When people post responses as I described in the first paragraph of the Blog, I’m betting most have never read the entire cruise contract. And if they did, like me, did not likely understand it all (unless they are attorneys).
The respondents in those situations are however generally correct, because in most cases, other than gross negligence (which is very difficult to prove) the cruise lines do basically have the right to do what they want; what they determine to be in the best interests of their passengers and their vessels.
Recently, through CLIA the cruise lines have agreed to a passenger “bill or rights”
Reading through this, to tell the truth, if you’re like me, you’d have believed you had most of these basic rights before this.
Though in this article I have perhaps made the “cruise contract” sound rather ominous, I do honestly believe the cruise lines do indeed take the their responsibilities to their passengers and their ships very seriously. They do try and do the right thing! They do have a keen interest in keeping their customers happy.
But, I want to point out how important it is for passengers to accept their responsibility, and that includes the responsibility to read the cruise contract!!
There are some occurrences that arise that are unforeseen, challenges new even to the cruise lines. However, if every passenger reads the cruise contract, they are at least prepared for the cruise lines reactions to the more mundane incidents.
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Posted: July 2nd, 2013 under Kuki.