Bona fide Passenger Bill of Rights Is Awesome!

Cruise Passenger Bill of Rights

Did you know there’s a cruise Passenger Bill of Rights?

The Cruise Industry Passenger Bill of Rights is something every cruiser should know about. The bill was passed through the Cruise Line Industry Association (CLIA). Members of CLIA adopted the Passenger Bill of Rights in 2013 after an engine room fire left passengers stranded at sea for days on ship operating in unfavorable conditions.

Following the sinking of the Titanic in 1914 an international treaty that creates standards of safe construction and operation of both passenger and merchant ships was adopted. The official name of the treaty is the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, and it has been updated many times since it was created.

The cruise bill of rights is meant to offer protections above and beyond SOLAS safety requirements. The Passenger Bill of Rights outlines items clearly instituted to address the issues faced in the engine fire incident. For example, passengers sailing with CLIA-member cruise lines have the right to be informed of mechanical difficulties that affect the cruise, and will be issued refunds for canceled or shortened cruises due to mechanical failures.

Currently the list contains 10 passenger rights, including the right to an emergency power source if the ship’s main generator fails, and the right to a ship crew that is properly trained in emergency and evacuation procedures.

CLIA explanation of the Passenger Bill of Rights

Below is press release from CLIA’s website outlining the Passenger Bill of Rights, and the full list of passenger rights.

CLIA member lines have voluntarily adopted the Cruise Industry Passenger Bill of Rights, an explicitly stated, publicly available set of policies that provides transparency, consistency and accountability for cruise passengers detailing CLIA members’ commitment to the safety, comfort and care of guests in the rare event of a mechanical failure or shipboard emergency.

The Passenger Bill of Rights is effective for all passengers who book an oceangoing cruise on a CLIA member cruise line worldwide.

Following is the full text of the Cruise Industry Passenger Bill of Rights.


The Members of the Cruise Lines International Association are dedicated to the comfort and care of all passengers on oceangoing cruises worldwide. To fulfill this commitment, our Members have agreed to adopt the following set of passenger rights:

  1. The right to disembark a docked ship if essential provisions such as food, water, restroom facilities, and access to medical care cannot adequately be provided onboard, subject only to the Master’s concern for passenger safety and security and customs and immigration requirements of the port.
  2. The right to a full refund for a trip that is canceled due to mechanical failures or a partial refund for voyages that are terminated early due to those failures.
  3. The right to have available on board ships operating beyond rivers or coastal waters full-time, professional emergency medical attention, as needed until shore side medical care becomes available.
  4. The right to timely information updates as to any adjustments in the itinerary of the ship in the event of a mechanical failure or emergency, as well as timely updates of the status of efforts to address mechanical failures.
  5. The right to a ship crew that is properly trained in emergency and evacuation procedures.
  6. The right to an emergency power source in the case of a main generator failure.
  7. The right to transportation to the ship’s scheduled port of disembarkation or the passenger’s home city in the event a cruise is terminated early due to mechanical failures.
  8. The right to lodging if disembarkation and an overnight stay in an unscheduled port are required when a cruise is terminated early due to mechanical failures.
  9. The right to have included on each cruise line’s website a toll-free phone line that can be used for questions or information concerning any aspect of shipboard operations.
  10. The right to have this Cruise Line Passenger Bill of Rights published on each line’s website.

As you can see with number 10 on this list, you should be able to find your rights on all CLIA cruise line member sites. So, be safe and check your rights on your cruise line’s site. If you’re new to cruising and not sure what cruise line is a good fit for you, then check out our Cruise Line Personality Quiz.

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