By Jim Donovan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – You’ve heard the stories: overflowing toilets, spoiled food, no power, scorching temperatures. Coverage of recent problems aboard cruise ships may have you hesitant to book a trip on the high seas this summer.
But there’s a new bill designed to protect you if the unexpected happens during your trip.
Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas is the latest cruise ship to limp back into port. Fire broke out aboard the cruise liner, bringing an abrupt end to vacation for the more than 2,000 passengers aboard.
They got full refunds, vouchers for another cruise and plane tickets back to Baltimore, but what should you expect if your cruise suddenly takes an unexpected turn?
Cruise Lines International Association recently agreed to a new passenger bill of rights.
Now passengers who book a cruise with one of the group’s more than 2-dozen member companies — including Royal Caribbean and the Carnival Lines — can expect uniform responses in the event of an onboard emergency.
Effective immediately, companies are pledging to properly train crews in emergency procedures and have an emergency power source available in the event that the main generator fails.
Passengers will be allowed to disembark from a docked ship if there are not adequate supplies of food and water or access to bathrooms on board.
The policy mandates the right to emergency medical attention and timely updates on any changes to the ship’s itinerary or mechanical status.
The companies assume responsibility for passengers’ transportation and lodging when a mechanical problem cuts the trip short or cancels it altogether, and passengers have the right to a full or partial refund.
For more information visit: www.cruising.org.