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Senator proposes 'bill of rights' for cruise ship passengers

A push for a "bill of rights" for cruise ship passengers has caught the attention of the industry's main trade group.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., has proposed that the industry voluntarily adopt a set of guarantees based on the airline passenger bill of rights, which has already gone into effect. He called for the action last weekend "in response to a string of horrifying and dangerous incidents aboard international cruise ships," according to a statement.

Schumer's statement invokes the February fire and loss of power aboard the Carnival Triumph, as well as a similar incident aboard Carnival Splendor in 2010. It also mentions mechanical or technical issues that struck the Carnival Dream, Legend and Elation this month.

The proposal includes giving customers the right to disembark a docked ship if basic provisions cannot be provided; a full refund if a trip is abruptly canceled because of mechanical problems; onboard professional medical attention in case of a health emergency; current information about changes to travel plans because of a mechanical issue or emergency; a crew that is trained in emergency and evacuation procedures; and backup power in case a generator fails.

"The safety and comfort of passengers are the cruise industry's top priorities and are fundamental to our business," the Cruise Lines International Association responded in a statement.

Senator proposes 'bill of rights' for cruise ship passengers 03/21/13 [Last modified: Thursday, March 21, 2013 10:23pm]

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