Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Bill of rights for cruise passengers

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NEW YORK -- The cruise industry said Wednesday it's adopting a passenger bill of rights that guarantees the "safety, comfort and care" of guests.

The bill of rights promises, among other things, full refunds for trips that are cancelled due to mechanical failure, and a backup power source on every ship to keep emergency systems running in the event of a main generator failure.

The announcement by the Cruise Lines International Association, which represents 25 major companies including Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Holland America and Cunard, comes in the aftermath of the Carnival Triumph debacle. The ship drifted for several days earlier this year without power as passengers endured filthy conditions.

Christine Duffy, president and CEO of CLIA, said the idea for the bill of rights came about in response to demands from U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., the industry guarantee passengers minimum standards and protections while on a ship, including sanitary conditions, backup power, medical care and refunds in the event of a power failure.

Schumer called the passenger bill of rights "a step in the right direction towards increased accountability for the cruise industry and ensuring the safety and well-being of its passengers."

But he added, in an emailed response, he still has "many remaining questions."

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 23, 2013 B5

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