New York senator proposes cruise passenger bill of rights

By Jerry Limone
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has proposed a cruise passenger bill of rights in response to what he described as “a string of horrifying and dangerous incidents aboard international cruise ships.”

He said the proposal is modeled after the air passenger bill of rights implemented by the Department of Transportation. Schumer’s proposed guarantees for cruise passengers are:

• The right to disembark a docked ship if basic provisions cannot adequately be provided onboard.

• The right to a full refund for a trip that is abruptly canceled due to mechanical failures.

• The right to full-time, onboard professional medical attention in the event of a major health crisis.

• The right to real-time information updates as to any adjustments in the travel plan of the ship in the event of a mechanical failure or emergency.

• The right to a ship crew that is properly trained in emergency and evacuation procedures.

• The right to backup power in the case of a generator failure.

Schumer wrote a letter to CLIA and the International Maritime Organization, calling on those groups to adopt an international bill of rights for cruise passengers.

Schumer urges the cruise industry to adopt his proposed passenger bill of rights voluntarily, while calling on the Secretary of State and the International Maritime Organization to begin an investigation into the “problems with the ‘flagged’ countries of cruise ships that serve United States passengers.”

“Because these ships are flagged in other counties,” Schumer said, “they are primarily regulated by countries other than the U.S., and existing international standards are clearly not working.”
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