Cruise industry group adopts Passengers' Bill of Rights

May 25, 2013 at 4:29 PM

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., May 25 (UPI) -- The head of the Cruise Lines International Association says its new "Cruise Passenger Bill of Rights" adopts many practices U.S.-based lines already use.

The CLIA, the largest trade group in the industry, plans to ask the International Maritime Organization to recognize the bill of rights, ABC News reported Saturday.

The document says passengers must be allowed to disembark if the ship cannot provide adequate food, water, bathroom facilities and similar necessities -- but only if that can be done safely. It guarantees full refunds if trips are canceled or partial ones for those that must end early.

While the bill of rights was inspired by a disastrous cruise in March -- when the Carnival Triumph suffered a power failure in the Caribbean, trapping 3,000 passengers on the vessel for five days -- ABC said it would have done little to help them.

Because the vessel was not docked, passengers could not be taken off the ship safely, and Carnival refunded passengers' travel expenses as well as the fares they had paid for the cruise and gave them vouchers for a free cruise in the future.

"The Cruise Industry Passenger Bill of Rights codifies many longstanding practices of CLIA members and goes beyond those to further inform cruise guests of the industry's commitment to their comfort and care," said Christine Duffy, CLIA president and chief executive officer.

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