Cruise Ship mechanical failure problems and missed ports
Travel Tips by Burleson
Note: This web page is an internet literature review and
opinion editorial written by a non-lawyer and it should not be construed as
legal advice. Consult a qualified attorney for any legal questions, not my
There are many complains on the web about
cruise ships that miss ports due to wholly preventable mechanical problems.
When you skip a port because of a foreseeable ship problem, the cruise ship
personnel may attempt to force a settlement offer on you by placing money in
your shipboard account Be warned, accepting this payment could ruining
your chances for negotiating a better payout at the guest relations desk.
Negotiating compensation for missed ports
If you are on a cruise where you miss a port
because of a mechanical failure, you may not want to accept the cruise lines
payout offer (which could be as small as a free rum punch!).
Some ships are plagued with ongoing mechanical
problems and some cruisers report that the ships sometimes have a bad engine
when they are boarded by the passengers.
When you miss a port, everyone's damages are
different, and your compensation might be far higher than other passengers,
depending on your personal circumstances. According to publications on the
web, if you miss a port because of preventable mechanical failures or other
problems, the cruise lines will usually offer a written gratuity offer, and they
vary from a free run punch to a full free cruise, depending on the degree of
For example, the Celebrity Infinity ship
appears to have had
ongoing mechanical problems due to their “mermaid pod propulsion”
system, for which they filed a $300m lawsuit against the ship maker. On my
cruise, one engine had a failure and we were forced to skip a port, but we did
get hundreds of dollars in ship credit as a “Goodwill gesture” for our trouble.
Be firm, and document your damages
Some people suggest that complaining directly
to your customer relations desk can often result in better compensation for your
loss when you miss a cruise stop.
The "squeaky wheel gets the grease", and
you need to complain loudly and firmly to get a just and fair compensation for
ruining a vacation of a lifetime. The cruise ship representatives have the
authority to offer you additional cash, free airfare, future cruises at a
greatly reduced rate.
You should be polite and professional, but
quite insistent, refusing to leave until you receive just compensation.
The cruise ship personnel are trained to make it difficult, and being timid will
get you nowhere.
When justify your request for additional
compensation, it pays to be very specific about your losses and the amount that
it would take to make things right. For example, some passengers might be
entitled to more compensation than other passengers, depending on special
- You have friends or family at the port.
- You will never have another chance to
visit the port again. (elderly, sick, or poor)
- The missed port has ruined a special
occasion (honeymoon, anniversary, birthday).
Be prepared to "camp-out" at the desk, and
don't accept promises that you will be able to speak to someone later. The
guest relations personnel often have the ability to compensate you directly,
despite their claims otherwise.
Compensation and contracts
While you would have recourse within US law,
you are on the high-seas and the cruise ship lines protect themselves very
carefully in the cruise contracts.
Please note that maritime law (dating from the
19th century) offers little protection, and you cruise contract clearly notes
that your cruise has the right to miss any or all ports, and drop you off
anywhere they like.
Please support the effort to bring cruise lines
which server US passengers under the domain is USA laws so that cruise
passengers can enjoy the same freedoms and protections at-sea that we have
NOTE: The opinions on this page are the sole opinion of Donald
K. Burleson and does not reflect the opinions of Burleson Enterprises Inc.
or any of its subsidiary companies.
See other related notes here: