Cruise Ship Compensation Claims

Ill, sick or had an accident onboard a cruise ship?

If you have suffered an illness or accident onboard a cruise ship you need to know that the Law regarding holiday compensation claims is different to when you make a claim regarding a hotel or resort.

Tour operators and Cruise line operators include terms in their holiday contracts which allow them to rely on the Athens Convention if a passenger suffers an accident or an illness during a cruising holiday.

Cruise Ship docking

Our Cruise Compensation Specialists regularly take on claims involving holiday makers and passengers who suffer accidents or illnesses onboard cruise ships.

Illness OnBoard

We also often take on group action claims involving many people who have contracted an illness during their cruise. Illness often occurs onboard cruise liners due to that fact that they share certain facilities eg meal services and swimming pools. Outbreaks of illness on cruise ships caused by a "norovirus" or salmonella food poisoning are now commonly reported.

The Law

The Athens Convention applies to international carriage by sea eg:

  • This is when the port of departure and the place of destination are different, or
  • Where the port of departure and destination are the same, but there is also a port of call in a different country

For Example: The Athens Convention would apply to a cruise that’s departed from Spain and disembarked in England or where the cruise departed from Spain with a port of call in Italy and disembarked back in Spain.

This area of law is complex and there are other rules that apply. For example by virtue of the Carriage of Passengers and their Luggage by Sea (Domestic Carriage) Order 1987 the provisions of the Athens Convention apply to voyages from ports in the UK that do not have any other intermediary ports of call.

What if my cruise departed from a foreign destination without any intermediary ports of call?

If your cruise departed from a foreign destination without any intermediary ports of call then you can rely on the Package Travel Regulations 1992 instead assuming the tour operator is a UK company.

In what country do I make my claim?

The Athens Convention provides that compensation claims for personal injury and death can usually be brought in the country most favourable to you.

For example, if a contract for a cruise is made in England by someone living in England then even if the cruise departs from Spain that person can pursue a claim for compensation in the English Courts.

Is there a time limit for making a claim?

There are strict time limits for bringing holiday cruise compensation claims eg:

  • Under the Athens Convention you have 2 years from the date of your injury or illness
  • Under the Package Travel Regulations you have 3 years in which to make a personal injury claim

Athens Convention and the Package Travel Regulations - How they differ

Athens Convention:

  • Operates in favour of the consumer as it imposes a presumption on the carrier meaning they must prove it wasn't their fault you were injured or became ill
  • Imposes limits on the amount of compensation that can be claimed for personal injury or death
  • Claims have to commence in the Admiralty Division of the High Court

For information purposes only we have listed below some tour operators and cruise lines to whom the Athens Convention applies:

  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Costa Cruises
  • Cunard Cruises
  • Fred Olsen Cruises
  • Island Cruises
  • Ocean Village Cruises
  • MSC Cruise
  • NCL Cruises
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • P&O Cruises
  • Princess Cruises
  • Thomson Cruises

Package Travel Regulations 1992:

  • Claims under the Package Travel Regulations 1992 mean that it is up to you to prove the carrier was at fault
  • Claims can proceed in the Country Courts

Cruise Ship Holiday Compensation Claims

If you have been injured or suffered from an illness onboard a cruise ship give our cruise compensation Specialists a call now to see how we can help you on Freephone: 0808 145 1353 or complete our simple online enquiry form.

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Nick Harris - Head of International Travel Law - Manchester

Nick Harris
Head of Holiday Travel Claims (Consumer)

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