3/18/2013 12:00:00 PM

Should Cruise Passengers Get a Bill of Rights?

Carnival Cruise ships in port; photo by Rennett Stowe via Flickr
Lets say your cruise ship has a malfunction leaving you adrift at sea with little food and few working toilets. What would you be entitled to? In the case of the Carnival Triumph last month, not much. The only thing the line was contractually obligated to do was drop the passengers off in a port with their baggage, according to the terms and conditions of the cruise. The line wisely decided to offer more (a full refund, free future cruise, a $500 check, reimbursed on-board expenses and a flight home). In the wake of the incident and a string of others, Sen. Charles Schumer has proposed a passenger bill of rights that would require lines to install backup power generators, increase onboard medical staffing and offer full refunds if a cruise ends due to mechanical favor. However, because most cruise lines are registered in foreign countries and can therefore avoid US safety regulations, the bill of rights would be voluntary. What do you think? Does this bill of rights go far enough? Would you feel comfortable booking a cruise in light of the recent string of mishaps?

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