By Jim Donovan

By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – As the story of Carnival Triumph unfolded each day on television, some have wondered how the passengers will be compensated, but just because you’ve had a bad cruise, doesn’t mean you just cruise into court.

When was the last time you booked a vacation and actually read the small print on your tickets? As Carnival Triumph passengers will soon learn, the terms and conditions aren’t on their side.

It was a vacation that passengers on the Carnival Triumph won’t soon forget.

“Yes we had to poop in bags, but we’re not in life boats,” said one passenger.

“It went downhill from the first day,” said another said.

“I know it was very difficult, and I want to apologize again for subjecting our guests to that,” said Carnival’s CEO Gerry Cahill.

Early on, Carnival announced it was refunding the passengers for their voyage, the cost of their transportation to get to the ship, and would reimburse them for many of their on-board purchases.

Carnival is also offering a future cruise credit equal to the amount each passenger paid for this trip and on Wednesday offered additional compensation of $500 per person. But getting any more than that may be difficult.

“There may be some claims made for emotional distress, some physical damage but the real challenge for the passengers in this case is to prove those damages,” said CBS Travel Editor Peter Greenberg.

It will be a challenge because tickets issued by Carnival, and other cruise lines, contain specific language limiting how much passengers can recover and often requires that a physical injury must have happened too.

While travel insurance policies often compensate you if you miss the cruise, or lose luggage and you’re out money, it’s highly unlikely that travel insurance would play a role since Carnival is refunding most costs associated with this trip and throwing in additional compensation.

For a link to Carnival’s Ticket Contract visit:

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