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Disgruntled passengers from cut-short Norwegian Escape sailing question Cruise Industry Bill of Rights

MIAMI — Norwegian Escape passengers upset with how NCL handled things after Norwegian Escape ran aground in the D.R. say NCL violated the Cruise Industry Bill of Rights.

Norwegian Escape hit the seabed off the coast of the D.R. two weeks ago. The ship was departing Puerto Plata in high winds on March 14 when it ran aground. 

Crew and local tugboat operators worked into the night and the ship pulled free in the early hours of March 15. However the incident left the ship with minor damage to its hull and the decision was made to end the cruise in the D.R. and fly passengers back to Florida.

Consumer media articles in the days after the unexpected disembarkation, fuelled by social media posts charging that the process of getting flights home to the U.S. was disorganized and lacked NCL representation, carried headlines like “It was a freaking madhouse” and “A freaking nightmare”.

According to The Washington Post, at least two passengers on that sailing are now questioning the cruise industry’s bill of rights. One passenger, in a letter to NCL, said “there were clear violations of the Passengers Bill of Rights, and this must be addressed.” Another noted that there’s no clear indication of next steps or a route to recourse in situations where passenger rights may have been breached.

The Cruise Industry Bill of Rights, as outlined by CLIA and picked up on cruise line sites, including NCL’s, is a 10-point list that includes this:

Point #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.

Point #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.

Point #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.

Some passengers have said they paid out of pocket for hotel nights in the D.R. while waiting for flights back to Florida.

According to a letter sent to passengers, NCL is offering a full cruise fare refund for the impacted sailing, plus a 100% future cruise credit good through March 25, 2023.

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