Monday, February 25, 2013

Thinking about a cruise? Caveat emptor...

What does a cruise line owe you when your dream vacation turns into a nightmare? As passengers who were trapped aboard the ill-fated Carnival Triumph for five days earlier this month are going to learn – it’s not very much.

The cruise line has very limited liability even when things go terribly wrong. This is all spelled out in the ticket contract.

“The Carnival passenger contract is standard,” said Steve Danishek, a travel industry analyst based in Seattle. “They protect the cruise lines from all sorts of liability and make it incredibly difficult for a passenger to take any legal action against them.”

Carnival’s ticket contract specifically bans class action lawsuits.

“All disputes other than personal injury, illness or death must go through arbitration and they get to choose the arbitration company,” said Professor Martin Davies, director of the Tulane Maritime Law Center. “That means if your claim is simply, ‘you ruined my vacation,’ then this has to go to arbitration.”
Read the rest here.

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