Let me put on my admiralty lawyer hat here (check me out: www.yachtlaw.com
). The cruise contract is not infallible and is not, in actual terms, the only governing item. Certain aspects of contracts are routinely found to be contrary to law and, therefore, unenforceable. Other terms are found to be material under the law, so they are implicitly added to the contract.
One area of the law where there is a wealth of examples, are limitation of liability clauses. In many respects they simply do not...forgive me...hold water. Further, under European laws there are many instances where travel contracts are held void because the seller (in this case it might be a cruise line) did not fulfill the material terms of the contract so the passenger is entitled to a full refund. (How about you purchase a hotel room and the room is great except for the bed bugs and broken window. Are you obligated to pay even if there is a no cancellation clause or liability clause when they say, "Sign here"?)
There are many times when it is not about doing what is legally required, but simply doing what is right. It is an old and many times forgotten concept that only those looking to impinge on someone's rights takes the contract out of the drawer where it has been kept.