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New passenger rights for ferry and cruise travellers

Consumer protection for delays and cancellations


Consumers who suffer delays and cancellations on ferry journeys or cruises will now have rights to assistance, refunds and compensation, thanks to new laws coming into force today.

For the first time, people across the European Union will be able to claim compensation of 25% or 50% of the ticket price for delays, depending on the length of delay and the duration of the scheduled journey. 

Passengers will be entitled to compensation if the delay is at least an hour for a journey of four hours or less.

Ferry delays assistance

The new directive applies if the ferry departs from an EU country or if you arrive in an EU country on a ferry operated by a company established in an EU member state. It covers inland waterways as well as international seas.

Under these EU , if the ship is delayed by more than 90 minutes, or cancelled, the company must also provide free food and refreshments appropriate to the waiting time. 

You also have the right to be re-routed at the earliest opportunity at no extra cost or get a refund. If the delay involves one or more nights, it should also give you adequate free accommodation onboard or ashore.

Better consumer rights

Until today’s legislation, ferry passengers were reliant on the company’s terms and conditions, as well as the 1974 Athens Convention. This gave limited compensation for personal injury damage to their vehicle or baggage, but didn’t provide compensation for delays.

This legislation (no 1177/2010) brings maritime services in line with the rights given to airline passengers in the EU’s

All passengers now also have the right to be informed of any cancellation or delay no later than 30 minutes before the scheduled departure, and to be given the estimated departure and arrival time as soon as the information is available.

Although cruise passengers are also covered by the new rules, most cruise-goers will already be protected by the .

Rights for disabled passengers

Disabled travellers and people with reduced mobility also receive a series of rights. Ferry or cruise companies won’t be able to refuse to accept a reservation from a disabled customer and must charge the same price as they would to other passengers.

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