US cruise lines must reimburse passengers for canceled or delayed departures

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Customers are now entitled to a refund of all money, including fees

Have you seen a recent cruise itinerary get cancelled? This has been a trend since the pandemic and many passengers have doubts and fears when it comes to planning a cruise vacation, but now they can book with confidence.

The US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) – the agency responsible for regulating sea travel – recently announced new rules and customers will now have the right to get a refund if a cruise line cancels or delays an itinerary.

The Passenger Ship Act has been updated to protect travelers regardless of the cruise line. Louis Sola, Commissioner of the FMC, told NBC 5 that this new update to the Passenger Ship Act represents a historic event: “This is the first time the law has been changed since 1881, since the California Gold Rush. Sola also added, “People can be confident going forward.”

According to information shared by the commissioner, the FMC has received hundreds of complaints from passengers who have not been granted refunds or redress from cruise operations. One of the outrageous cases that triggered a large number of complaints this year was the unexpected closure of Crystal Cruises.

Fortunately, travelers can start booking and planning future cruise trips from the new rules already started to apply on April 182022 and now all cruise lines must comply.

New cruise refund rules

The new amendment to the regulations has made the authorities proud. The FMC shared Commissioner Sola’s words on its official website:

“Hundreds of thousands of Americans enjoy pleasure cruising each year. For some, these are trips of a lifetime where people have worked hard to save the cost of a ticket. Amending Commission regulations to give passengers more rights and options when a cruise line has been underperforming is good for consumers. I am grateful for the trust my fellow Commissioners have placed in me to lead Fact-Finding 30 and for their support in extending consumer protection.

In order to protect customers, these are the main considerations of the new FMC rules include:

  • Establishment of a process for obtaining reimbursements.
  • Define “non-performance” as a cruise canceling or delaying a voyage by three calendar days or more.
  • Now cruise lines are required to post clear instructions – posted on their websites – for obtaining refunds.
  • In a situation of “non-execution” of a cruise line, passengers are entitled to a refund of all money, including fees.

Commissioner Sola also explained that these new rules will help organize policies as each cruise company has different approaches and it is more difficult to deal with complaints: “When it comes to consumer protection, we have found that almost every cruise line had a different approach. refund policy.” Sola is hopeful for travelers: “You are going to be treated the same in all areas, you will be entitled to a refund.”

Travelers interested in learning more about the new rules can visit FMC’s website and read the documentation. In the Passenger Vessel Financial Accountability Update, they will find more details on the process for obtaining refunds and liability requirements.

The new cruise travel experience

The new rules will allow passengers to book with confidence and embark on new opportunities. The cruise industry has also made changes and optimized its services to provide travelers with unique experiences across seas, oceans and fascinating destinations.

Now that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has changed travel advisories for cruises and removed travel advisories, more adventurers can enjoy this travel experience. From onboard food, like Royal Caribbean’s self-service buffet, to sailing aboard the world’s largest cruise.

CDC sign

Cruise lines like Oceania Cruises have included eco-friendly tours for their destinations and even solo travel opportunities for those who want different onboard travel experiences.

Cruise lines should ensure they have travel health insurance that not only covers medical care aboard a cruise ship, but also covers them before their trip if they catch covid and can no longer travel.

Read more:

US State Department releases 30 new travel advisory updates

Travel insurance that covers Covid-19 in 2022

New Celebrity Beyond cruise ship launching this month

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