The cruise has been canceled: What are the rights of passengers?

An Irish shipping company had to cancel flights because the ferry ordered was not available on time. What compensation are the passengers entitled to in such a case? The European Court of Justice has now clarified this question.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has strengthened the rights of ship passengers. If a cruise is canceled, passengers will have to choose whether they want to reach the destination by other means or whether the fare should be refunded, as evidenced by the judge’s ruling, which has now been made public. In addition, there must be compensation, the amount of which depends on the duration of the delay. This also applies if the reason for the restriction is the delayed delivery of the vessel. This is not the so-called unusual circumstance, so the judges (case C-570/19).

Ferry delivered late

The background to this dispute is between the Irish Shipping Company and the National Transport Authority of Ireland (NTA). The Irish shipping company is reported to be serving ports in France, Ireland and the United Kingdom. In order to be able to operate between Dublin and Cherbourg, Irish Ferries ordered an additional ferry a few years ago, which was supposed to be delivered between May and June 2018, but was only available in December. First, Irish Ferries had to cancel individual flights – later in the season.

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In addition to reimbursing ticket prices for canceled ship voyages, the shipping company has offered various compensation options. Of the 20,000 affected passengers, 82 percent chose alternative flights, 15 percent for reimbursement and three percent for an alternative road trip. According to the court spokesperson, there was no compensation for the delay in alternative routes.

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According to the NTA, the company failed to meet its obligations in the event of cancellation. Ireland’s High Court of Justice turned to European judges.

With material from dpa

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