The cruise line passenger ticket can be liken to an onerous, one sided contract. In the lawyer world it is known as a "contract of adhesion", better described as a "take it or leave contract." The passenger may not be in such a position for the tickets are usually provided after the start of the cruise line penalty period. The passenger has little or no opportunity to negotiate the contract and of he or she cancels, could sustain a monetary penalty.
The passenger tickets used today is archaic, containing provisions that have been around for 50 to 100 years or more.. The tickets' provisions and requirements benefit solely the ship owners or operators, not the seafaring public. In the event the passenger refuses the tickets they have little chance of a remedy. To file suit in a Federal District Court, which has the primary jurisdiction over maritime matters, requires a suit for $75,000 or more. This may require filing suit in a state court that must rely on maritime law, not common or state legislated law. Studying court cases filed against cruise lines, I estimate that 50% or more of the cases are dismissed at the request of the defendant cruise lines for failure to adhere to the terms and conditions in the passenger ticket. Most cases are dismissed due to failure to file suit within one year of the injury or filing suit in the wrong forum.
According to Murphy's Law: "If anything can go wrong, it will." So be prepared, "READ THE PASSENGER TICKETS." Just because you read a ticket four or five years ago, these people keep insert clauses. For example, except in the case of rape you no longer can sue for emotional distress. Some cruise lines are inserting reference to the liability limit in the Athens Convention which is 46,000 Special Drawing Rights(SDR) equivalent to about $64,000 U.S. Dollars. Since I am not an attorney, this information should not be considered to be legal advice; for that you should rely on an experienced lawyer who should also read the ticket.