Some elements of the cruise ship industry caveat their offerings to lessen (almost eliminate completely) their responsibility. Iíve listed two caveats below, which seem particularly troubling if used with a broad brush.
Advanced or Delayed Sailings/Itinerary Changes
(Cruiseline name) has the right to cancel, advance, postpone or substitute any scheduled sailings, itinerary or port-of-call without notice. (Cruiseline Name) may, but is not obligated to, substitute another vessel for sailing and cannot be liable for loss to passengers by reason of such cancellation, advancement, postponement or substitution. The Captainís judgement on any action or inaction is considered final. Reservations are subject to change in the event of a full ship charter.
Responsibility. (Cruiseline Name) acts as the general sales agent for the ship owners and does not own, operate and/or control the ships or enter into the contracts of carriage or act as the principal on the passage contracts or passage tickets. Actions of independent contractors such as airlines, tour operators and ground transporters are not the responsibility of(Cruiseline Name). (Cruiseline Name) also denies any responsibility or liability for late arrivals or for any illness, injury, damage, loss of cruise time or other irregularities resulting there from. (Cruiseline Name's) responsibilities do not extend beyond the vessels. Passengers will be required to complete statements of indemnification and proficiency levels covering dive and watersport activities and carry all necessary health certificates, dive logbook and diver certification. (Cruiseline Name) reserves the right to refuse passage to anyone when in (Cruiseline Nameís) judgement, it would constitute a risk to his or her well being or that of other passengers.
These are direct lifts. From an operational standpoint, cruise lines need a certain degree of flexibility to conduct business at sea. Cancellation of ports calls for weather, other acts of God, civil insurrection, and other unavoidable factors seem reasonable. But should we consider reasonable, no-notice, major itinerary modifications when conducted principally to further the business interests (e.g., profit/loss) of the service provider? I think not, but would most appreciate the thoughts of others on this matter.
To seek protection, the cruise line in this case states, on its web-site an in its brochure. that it acts only as the sales agent. The statement (caveat) belies the truth. Nonetheless, it could have some weight when adjudicating complaints within a forum or as a matter of litigation. While I think this a case for lawyers, should the traveling public sit back and allow cruise lines to use "incorporations of convenience" to avoid responsibility?
For those, who might have interest, I will supply the name of the cruise line.