Passenger Bill of Rights for cruises. Also, smaller carry-ons on EasyJet.

By David Tykol
This is subscriber only post.
Get one year of online-only access — only $15!
Below is a sample of the article.
Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

Dear Globetrotter:

Welcome to the 449th issue of your monthly foreign-travel magazine. In ITN, in addition to a selection of hard news items and other travel-related information, we print our subscribers’ travel accounts and discoveries. Our subscribers are people who fly and cruise abroad frequently, and they write not for profit but for the benefit of other travelers.

While it’s a diverse group of people, what they all have in common is a love of travel, and they share their notes here. Assuming that you are or will become a subscriber, you are encouraged to add your voice to the discussion. What’s something you learned on a trip outside of the US that you would like to tell others about? Write in!

In the February issue, I outlined the rights that ALL passengers have — by law — on cruises in and around European Union nations as of Dec. 31, 2012. Well, in April, a Passenger Bill of Rights became effective for US passengers whose cruises, regardless of itineraries, were purchased in North America with any of the 26 cruise lines that are members of the Cruise Lines International Association, or CLIA.

Eilean Donan Castle, Loch Duich, Scotland. Photo by Richard Semik/123RF

This is a list of customer-service policies endorsed by CLIA and now adopted by its member lines as a condition of membership. Among CLIA’s member cruise lines, all serving North America, are Carnival, Disney, Holland America, Princess, Regent Seven Seas, Royal Caribbean and smaller lines as well. 

The new guidelines were written up after the cruise industry’s reputation for safety was damaged by accounts of the sinking of the Costa Concordia off the coast of Italy in January 2012 (March ’12, pg. 67) plus a series of highly publicized mechanical failures on other ships (April ’13, pg. 68). Several specific problems that came to light during those incidents are addressed in this new “bill of rights.”

Critics point out that several of these policies are already “standard practice” for cruise lines, but advocates counter that not all cruise lines specifically list these provisions in their written contracts, or “conditions of carriage.”

For US passengers in North America purchasing any cruise from a CLIA member, the new Passenger Bill of Rights reads as follows:

1. The right to disembark a docked ship if essential provisions such as food, water, restroom facilities and access to medical care cannot adequately be provided on board, subject only to the Master’s concern for passenger safety and security and Customs and Immigration requirements of the port.

2. The right to a full refund for a trip that is canceled due to mechanical failures, or a partial refund for voyages that are terminated early due to those failures.

3. The right to have available on board ships operating beyond rivers or coastal waters full-time, professional emergency medical attention, as needed until shore side medical care becomes available.

4. The right to timely information updates as to any adjustments in the itinerary of the ship in the event of a mechanical failure or emergency, as well as timely updates of the status of efforts to address mechanical failures.

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

6. The right to an emergency power source in the case of a main generator failure.

7. The right to transportation to the ship’s scheduled port of disembarkation or the passenger’s home city in the event a cruise is terminated early due to mechanical failures.

8. The right to lodging if disembarkation and an overnight stay in an unscheduled port are required when a cruise is terminated early due to mechanical failures.

9. The right to have included on each cruise line’s website a toll-free phone line that can be used for questions concerning any aspect of shipboard operations.

10. The right to have this Cruise Line Passenger Bill of Rights published on each line’s website.

The Bill of Rights has also been submitted to the more global organization overseeing cruise lines, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), but any new regulation has not yet been voted on.

As of July 2, the British low-cost airline easyJet has a new policy regarding the size of the one “cabin bag” (carry-on) that each passenger is allowed. To help alleviate the overstuffing of the overhead bins, the airline is encouraging the use of slightly smaller bags.

If your carry-on bag measures no larger than 50x40x20cm (20x16x8 inches), including the handle, wheels and pockets, EasyJet guarantees that you will be able to take it with you into the cabin. (There is no weight limit.)

However, when the overhead bins are too full, if your cabin bag measures in at the former maximum size (56x45x25cm, or 22"x17"x10"), it may be refused at the boarding gate and you will be required to check it into the hold and pay a fee. How much?

The fee for a bag checked at the boarding gate is £40 (near $60), while the fee for a bag checked back at the airport counter is £25.

By the way, handbags, briefcases, laptops and laptop bags carried separately are each considered one piece.

In comparison, the Irish low-cost airline Ryanair restricts carry-on bags to a maximum size of 55x40x20cm (21"x16"x8"). Its fee for an oversized bag or for a second bag that must be checked into the hold is £60.

Singapore Airlines allows one carry-on bag up to 55x40x20cm.

Air France allows one carry-on bag, 55x35x25cm, and one handbag, laptop, camera bag, etc.

United Airlines allows one carry-on, 56x35x23cm (22"x14"x9"), and one personal item.

Lawrence W. Schonbrun of Berkeley, California, wanted to share what he learned about the limitations of travel insurance. 

He wrote, “I booked a week-long Peruvian Amazon river cruise for May 5-11, 2012. My secretary called a travel insurance company and told them that I had previously booked an Amazon River trip and it was canceled at the last minute. She told the company that I wanted to purchase travel insurance in case this happened again. I was given a few packages to choose from, and I purchased trip-cancellation insurance for around $500.

“Unfortunately, several weeks before the cruise, the tour operator informed me that the cruise boat’s main generator had burned out and they were unable to replace it in time for my cruise. 

“When my trip was canceled, the tour operator at first said that there might be a problem getting me a refund for the international airfare. It was suggested that I make a claim on my insurance. 

“I called the insurance company to make the claim. They told me that trip cancellation by the tour operator was excluded from the policy and that all that was covered was my canceling the trip due to illness or some other emergency. I was shocked. Why hadn’t we been advised verbally about this significant exclusion in my coverage?

“Initially, the tour operator refunded to me the land portion of the journey, but they were reluctant to refund the cost of my flights between San Francisco and Lima, Peru, which they had booked for me. When I explained that the insurance company was refusing to pay my claim, they agreed to refund the cost of the air tickets, as well. 

“That still left open my issue with the insurance company. I wrote them a letter recounting my secretary’s conversation with their customer service agent. They ended up giving me a refund of what I had paid for the travel insurance. 

“Candidly, I hadn’t read the policy when it arrived. I just assumed that trip-cancellation insurance covers trip cancellations regardless of who does the canceling — but it doesn’t necessarily cover trips canceled by the tour operator. I believe that a lot of people are not aware of this distinction.”

I sent a copy of Mr. Schonbrun’s letter to the writer of ITN’sEye on Travel Insurance” column, Wayne Wirtanen, who responded, “Travel insurance policies will pay trip-cancellation/interruption claims only for any of a clearly indicated set of reasons, primarily unexpected accident or illness of the policyholder or a close relative. These reasons have nothing to do with problems related to the tour operator.

“The only option that would have helped someone in Mr. Schonbrun’s situation would be a ‘cancel for any reason’ travel insurance policy. However, I do not think that this is a cost-effective choice because (1) these policies are significantly more expensive, (2) the likelihood of this type of problem occurring is extremely remote and (3) these policies typically will pay only about 80% of the loss.

“In my opinion, in a situation such as the one Mr. Schonbrun found himself in, the tour company or other responsible party should do some reimbursing. 

“Nevertheless, he was very fortunate to have his costs reimbursed.

“A refund of the cost of travel insurance is permitted only for a short period after the policy is received. It is to let the buyer thoroughly read and approve of the terms of the policy and then cancel it if he chooses. This is usually clearly spelled out in the sales brochures.

“Mr. Schonbrun also is lucky that the problem didn’t occur while he was on the trip. I think that he would have been at the mercy of the tour operator’s ability and willingness to pay for the unexpected extra costs of his returning home before completion of the itinerary.”

Related to this subject and worth revisiting are three very informative articles printed in the April 2011 issue of ITN. See “Unsatisfactory Trip-itinerary Changes." Also see the letter “Tour’s Cruise Itinerary Switched” by Barbara Porter, followed by editor’s notes and company replies. Also, in my “Boarding Pass” column in the same issue, see what I wrote on the subject of river levels negatively affecting a river cruise.

Know before you go.

ITN founder and publisher Armond Noble loved to give away prizes to our subscribers, and one vehicle he used was having everyone write in to tell us the countries they visited during the previous year (which helps us not only in promoting the magazine but in knowing your interests) and then holding a drawing to award prizes to a number of the participants.

For the last few months we’ve been gathering emails and postcards from subscribers who answered the question “Where Were You in 2012?” And now, after sharing some of the results of our poll, I get to announce the prize winners.

First, of the ITN readers who reported in, they collectively visited all but 21 of the world’s 196 nations in 2012, skipping mostly war zones (but not all) and really out-of-the-way countries in Africa and Oceania.

The most popular destination, once again, was the United Kingdom, which was visited by 23% of the participants.

In descending order, the 24 next-most-visited places among the ITN subscribers were France, Germany, Mexico, Italy (was third place in 2011), Spain, Croatia (in a big leap forward), China, Russia, India, Thailand, Canada, Australia, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Vietnam, Argentina, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Estonia, Hungary, Chile and Sweden.

We thank all of you who helped out by writing in, and all of you had equal chances to win prizes in our random drawing. Here are the results.

The grand prize, a 50-dollar gift certificate to Magellan’s Travel Supplies (800/962-4943), goes to Edward Sylvester of Nevada City, CA. We’re giving two subscribers a 2-year ITN subscription extension: Laura London of Lexington, MA, and Ramona Reid of Newburgh, IN. (If they wish, each can transfer her prize to a friend as a gift subscription (as usual, a gift card gets sent.)

Rounding out the top 10 winners, the following seven people or couples each will receive a one-year extension to their ITN subscriptions: Jim & Karen Weede, Quincy, IL; Richard Sherrick, Greensboro, NC; Therese Havel, Tavernier, FL; Kathy Shafarik, Madison, WI; Toni & Bruce Stafford, Manhattan Beach, CA; Donna Shaver, Charleston, WV, and Valerie Howell, Miami, FL.

We’re not done yet. An ITN mug will be sent to each of these 10 subscriber households: Linda & Peter Beuret, Santa Barbara, CA; James & Martha Patterson, Sikestson, MO; Don & Lili Tremblay, Santa Monica, CA; Thom & Margo Wilson, Scottsdale, AZ; Helen Seid, Culver City, CA; Linda Wolf, Santa Fe, NM; Isabel Draper, Carmel, CA; Kay Hartzell, Olney, MD; John Haseman, Grand Junction, CO, and Joel & Ann Reed, Rancho Santa Fe, CA.

Finally, each of the following 20 people/couples will have their ITN subscriptions extended by two months: Victoria Chuck, San Rafael, CA; Amelia Stovall, Manteca, CA; Jean Woltjer, Holland, MI; Skip & Bonnie Carpenter, Coronado, CA; Jim Hendrickson, Lynden, WA; Sylvia & Dennis Evans, Farmington, CT; Catherine Donahue, Anchorage, AK; Thomas Zook, Grand Rapids, MI; Kenneth Levine, Greenbelt, MD; Phyllis & David Stolls, Riverside, CA; Robert Secrist, N. Fort Myers, FL; Amy McNaughton, Edmonds, WA; Ed Deaton, San Diego, CA; Martha Calta, Fairfax, VA; Donald Gillies, Santa Barbara, CA; Ken Sherman, Jackson, NJ; Sascha Lin, Fairfield, CA; Marilyn Armel, New York, NY; Marilyn Bird, Waterville, MN, and Bonny Brady, Tucson, AZ.

In 2014, we’ll be asking where you went THIS year, so keep track.

After a long absence following the death of his wife, Flory, ITN Contributing Editor Philip Wagenaar has written another of his travel-tip-packed articles for his column, “The Discerning Traveler.” He titled it “Independent Disability Travel in France,” but it provides a lot of information of interest to any travelers considering visiting that country.

Philip just returned from a 64-day Mediterranean cruise and we are pleased to welcome him back.     — DT

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

Dear Globetrotter:

Welcome to the 449th issue of your monthly foreign-travel magazine. In ITN, in addition to a selection of hard news items and other travel-related information, we print our subscribers’ travel accounts and discoveries. Our subscribers are people who fly and cruise abroad frequently, and they write not for profit but for the benefit of other travelers.

While it’s a diverse group of people, what they all have in common is a love of travel, and they share their notes here. Assuming that you are or will become a subscriber, you are encouraged to add your voice to the discussion. What’s something you learned on a trip outside of the US that you would like to tell others about? Write in!

In the February issue, I outlined the rights that ALL passengers have — by law — on cruises in and around European Union nations as of Dec. 31, 2012. Well, in April, a Passenger Bill of Rights became effective for US passengers whose cruises, regardless of itineraries, were purchased in North America with any of the 26 cruise lines that are members of the Cruise Lines International Association, or CLIA.

Eilean Donan Castle, Loch Duich, Scotland. Photo by Richard Semik/123RF

This is a list of customer-service policies endorsed by CLIA and now adopted by its member lines as a condition of membership. Among CLIA’s member cruise lines, all serving North America, are Carnival, Disney, Holland America, Princess, Regent Seven Seas, Royal Caribbean and smaller lines as well. 

The new guidelines were written up after the cruise industry’s reputation for safety was damaged by accounts of the sinking of the Costa Concordia off the coast of Italy in January 2012 (March ’12, pg. 67) plus a series of highly publicized mechanical failures on other ships (April ’13, pg. 68). Several specific problems that came to light during those incidents are addressed in this new “bill of rights.”

Critics point out that several of these policies are already “standard practice” for cruise lines, but advocates counter that not all cruise lines specifically list these provisions in their written contracts, or “conditions of carriage.”

For US passengers in North America purchasing any cruise from a CLIA member, the new Passenger Bill of Rights reads as follows:

1. The right to disembark a docked ship if essential provisions such as food, water, restroom facilities and access to medical care cannot adequately be provided on board, subject only to the Master’s concern for passenger safety and security and Customs and Immigration requirements of the port.

2. The right to a full refund for a trip that is canceled due to mechanical failures, or a partial refund for voyages that are terminated early due to those failures.

3. The right to have available on board ships operating beyond rivers or coastal waters full-time, professional emergency medical attention, as needed until shore side medical care becomes available.

4. The right to timely information updates as to any adjustments in the itinerary of the ship in the event of a mechanical failure or emergency, as well as timely updates of the status of efforts to address mechanical failures.

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

6. The right to an emergency power source in the case of a main generator failure.

7. The right to transportation to the ship’s scheduled port of disembarkation or the passenger’s home city in the event a cruise is terminated early due to mechanical failures.

8. The right to lodging if disembarkation and an overnight stay in an unscheduled port are required when a cruise is terminated early due to mechanical failures.

9. The right to have included on each cruise line’s website a toll-free phone line that can be used for questions concerning any aspect of shipboard operations.

10. The right to have this Cruise Line Passenger Bill of Rights published on each line’s website.

The Bill of Rights has also been submitted to the more global organization overseeing cruise lines, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), but any new regulation has not yet been voted on.

As of July 2, the British low-cost airline easyJet has a new policy regarding the size of the one “cabin bag” (carry-on) that each passenger is allowed. To help alleviate the overstuffing of the overhead bins, the airline is encouraging the use of slightly smaller bags.

If your carry-on bag measures no larger than 50x40x20cm (20x16x8 inches), including the handle, wheels and pockets, EasyJet guarantees that you will be able to take it with you into the cabin. (There is no weight limit.)

However, when the overhead bins are too full, if your cabin bag measures in at the former maximum size (56x45x25cm, or 22"x17"x10"), it may be refused at the boarding gate and you will be required to check it into the hold and pay a fee. How much?

The fee for a bag checked at the boarding gate is £40 (near $60), while the fee for a bag checked back at the airport counter is £25.

By the way, handbags, briefcases, laptops and laptop bags carried separately are each considered one piece.

In comparison, the Irish low-cost airline Ryanair restricts carry-on bags to a maximum size of 55x40x20cm (21"x16"x8"). Its fee for an oversized bag or for a second bag that must be checked into the hold is £60.

Singapore Airlines allows one carry-on bag up to 55x40x20cm.

Air France allows one carry-on bag, 55x35x25cm, and one handbag, laptop, camera bag, etc.

United Airlines allows one carry-on, 56x35x23cm (22"x14"x9"), and one personal item.

Lawrence W. Schonbrun of Berkeley, California, wanted to share what he learned about the limitations of travel insurance. 

He wrote, “I booked a week-long Peruvian Amazon river cruise for May 5-11, 2012. My secretary called a travel insurance company and told them that I had previously booked an Amazon River trip and it was canceled at the last minute. She told the company that I wanted to purchase travel insurance in case this happened again. I was given a few packages to choose from, and I purchased trip-cancellation insurance for around $500.

“Unfortunately, several weeks before the cruise, the tour operator informed me that the cruise boat’s main generator had burned out and they were unable to replace it in time for my cruise. 

“When my trip was canceled, the tour operator at first said that there might be a problem getting me a refund for the international airfare. It was suggested that I make a claim on my insurance. 

“I called the insurance company to make the claim. They told me that trip cancellation by the tour operator was excluded from the policy and that all that was covered was my canceling the trip due to illness or some other emergency. I was shocked. Why hadn’t we been advised verbally about this significant exclusion in my coverage?

“Initially, the tour operator refunded to me the land portion of the journey, but they were reluctant to refund the cost of my flights between San Francisco and Lima, Peru, which they had booked for me. When I explained that the insurance company was refusing to pay my claim, they agreed to refund the cost of the air tickets, as well. 

“That still left open my issue with the insurance company. I wrote them a letter recounting my secretary’s conversation with their customer service agent. They ended up giving me a refund of what I had paid for the travel insurance. 

“Candidly, I hadn’t read the policy when it arrived. I just assumed that trip-cancellation insurance covers trip cancellations regardless of who does the canceling — but it doesn’t necessarily cover trips canceled by the tour operator. I believe that a lot of people are not aware of this distinction.”

I sent a copy of Mr. Schonbrun’s letter to the writer of ITN’sEye on Travel Insurance” column, Wayne Wirtanen, who responded, “Travel insurance policies will pay trip-cancellation/interruption claims only for any of a clearly indicated set of reasons, primarily unexpected accident or illness of the policyholder or a close relative. These reasons have nothing to do with problems related to the tour operator.

“The only option that would have helped someone in Mr. Schonbrun’s situation would be a ‘cancel for any reason’ travel insurance policy. However, I do not think that this is a cost-effective choice because (1) these policies are significantly more expensive, (2) the likelihood of this type of problem occurring is extremely remote and (3) these policies typically will pay only about 80% of the loss.

“In my opinion, in a situation such as the one Mr. Schonbrun found himself in, the tour company or other responsible party should do some reimbursing. 

“Nevertheless, he was very fortunate to have his costs reimbursed.

“A refund of the cost of travel insurance is permitted only for a short period after the policy is received. It is to let the buyer thoroughly read and approve of the terms of the policy and then cancel it if he chooses. This is usually clearly spelled out in the sales brochures.

“Mr. Schonbrun also is lucky that the problem didn’t occur while he was on the trip. I think that he would have been at the mercy of the tour operator’s ability and willingness to pay for the unexpected extra costs of his returning home before completion of the itinerary.”

Related to this subject and worth revisiting are three very informative articles printed in the April 2011 issue of ITN. See “Unsatisfactory Trip-itinerary Changes." Also see the letter “Tour’s Cruise Itinerary Switched” by Barbara Porter, followed by editor’s notes and company replies. Also, in my “Boarding Pass” column in the same issue, see what I wrote on the subject of river levels negatively affecting a river cruise.

Know before you go.

ITN founder and publisher Armond Noble loved to give away prizes to our subscribers, and one vehicle he used was having everyone write in to tell us the countries they visited during the previous year (which helps us not only in promoting the magazine but in knowing your interests) and then holding a drawing to award prizes to a number of the participants.

For the last few months we’ve been gathering emails and postcards from subscribers who answered the question “Where Were You in 2012?” And now, after sharing some of the results of our poll, I get to announce the prize winners.

First, of the ITN readers who reported in, they collectively visited all but 21 of the world’s 196 nations in 2012, skipping mostly war zones (but not all) and really out-of-the-way countries in Africa and Oceania.

The most popular destination, once again, was the United Kingdom, which was visited by 23% of the participants.

In descending order, the 24 next-most-visited places among the ITN subscribers were France, Germany, Mexico, Italy (was third place in 2011), Spain, Croatia (in a big leap forward), China, Russia, India, Thailand, Canada, Australia, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Vietnam, Argentina, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Estonia, Hungary, Chile and Sweden.

We thank all of you who helped out by writing in, and all of you had equal chances to win prizes in our random drawing. Here are the results.

The grand prize, a 50-dollar gift certificate to Magellan’s Travel Supplies (800/962-4943), goes to Edward Sylvester of Nevada City, CA. We’re giving two subscribers a 2-year ITN subscription extension: Laura London of Lexington, MA, and Ramona Reid of Newburgh, IN. (If they wish, each can transfer her prize to a friend as a gift subscription (as usual, a gift card gets sent.)

Rounding out the top 10 winners, the following seven people or couples each will receive a one-year extension to their ITN subscriptions: Jim & Karen Weede, Quincy, IL; Richard Sherrick, Greensboro, NC; Therese Havel, Tavernier, FL; Kathy Shafarik, Madison, WI; Toni & Bruce Stafford, Manhattan Beach, CA; Donna Shaver, Charleston, WV, and Valerie Howell, Miami, FL.

We’re not done yet. An ITN mug will be sent to each of these 10 subscriber households: Linda & Peter Beuret, Santa Barbara, CA; James & Martha Patterson, Sikestson, MO; Don & Lili Tremblay, Santa Monica, CA; Thom & Margo Wilson, Scottsdale, AZ; Helen Seid, Culver City, CA; Linda Wolf, Santa Fe, NM; Isabel Draper, Carmel, CA; Kay Hartzell, Olney, MD; John Haseman, Grand Junction, CO, and Joel & Ann Reed, Rancho Santa Fe, CA.

Finally, each of the following 20 people/couples will have their ITN subscriptions extended by two months: Victoria Chuck, San Rafael, CA; Amelia Stovall, Manteca, CA; Jean Woltjer, Holland, MI; Skip & Bonnie Carpenter, Coronado, CA; Jim Hendrickson, Lynden, WA; Sylvia & Dennis Evans, Farmington, CT; Catherine Donahue, Anchorage, AK; Thomas Zook, Grand Rapids, MI; Kenneth Levine, Greenbelt, MD; Phyllis & David Stolls, Riverside, CA; Robert Secrist, N. Fort Myers, FL; Amy McNaughton, Edmonds, WA; Ed Deaton, San Diego, CA; Martha Calta, Fairfax, VA; Donald Gillies, Santa Barbara, CA; Ken Sherman, Jackson, NJ; Sascha Lin, Fairfield, CA; Marilyn Armel, New York, NY; Marilyn Bird, Waterville, MN, and Bonny Brady, Tucson, AZ.

In 2014, we’ll be asking where you went THIS year, so keep track.

After a long absence following the death of his wife, Flory, ITN Contributing Editor Philip Wagenaar has written another of his travel-tip-packed articles for his column, “The Discerning Traveler.” He titled it “Independent Disability Travel in France,” but it provides a lot of information of interest to any travelers considering visiting that country.

Philip just returned from a 64-day Mediterranean cruise and we are pleased to welcome him back.     — DT