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Cruise Passenger Assistance

Compensation for Cruise Line Cancellation; Death or Injury during Voyage

FMC requires cruise lines to have a bond or other financial surety available to refund passenger deposits in the event of nonperformance or for death or injury on a voyage. This requirement applies to cruise lines that embark from a U.S. port and have at least 50 berth accommodations.

The company that issues the bond or other financial surety processes claims made for cruise nonperformance or death or injury. For more information on the FMC’s financial responsibility requirements or to obtain information on filing a claim please contact the Bureau of Licensing and Certification.

Cruise Service Issues

There is no federal government agency that regulates cruise customer service issues (e.g. itinerary changes, passenger cancellations, cabin concerns, etc.). Moreover, the Commission has limited jurisdiction over cruise lines (pursuant to 46 U.S.C. §§ 44102 – 44103) that embark passengers at locations in the U.S.:

  • The Commission cannot order a cruise line to cancel a voyage or to stop operating due to the outbreak of a disease, such as coronavirus
  • The Commission cannot order a cruise line to make a refund to a passenger when a passenger decides not to travel
  • Passengers should always carefully read their ticket contract, which states the cruise line’s obligations with respect to cancelled cruises and changes in itinerary.

The Commission’s Office of Consumer Affairs & Dispute Resolution Services (CADRS) assists passengers that boarded a passenger vessel at a U.S. port and purchased their ticket directly from the cruise line. CADRS assistance in these matters is a voluntary process. The Commission does not have statutory authority to compel cruise lines to take any particular action to address complaints.

Individuals seeking the assistance of CADRS should provide the following information: a brief description of the complaint; the booking confirmation; copy of the ticket contract and insurance policy; any correspondence the complainant has had with the cruise line; and your contact information. To file a request for assistance please send an e-mail to: complaints@fmc.gov.

For those seeking assistance for passengers embarking a cruise at an international location, please see the “International Travel” section of the Department of State’s website:

https://travel.state.gov

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/emergencies.html

Information published by the federal government in response to Coronavirus-19 can be found at:

www.usa.gov/coronavirus

Additional Resources

Cruise Vacations: Know Before You Go Brochure

There are multiple government agencies that have jurisdiction over cruise safety and security concerns:

Guidance for Cruise Passengers (Department of Transportation)

Cruise Line Incident Reporting Statistics (Department of Transportation)

Travel Documentation (Department of Homeland Security)

Cruise Ship Passengers (Department of State)

Obtaining a Passport (Department of State)

 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) regulates health and sanitary conditions onboard cruise vessels:

Sanitary Conditions and Preventing Illness Onboard Cruise Vessels

Outbreak Updates for International Cruise Ships

Cruise Vessel Inspection Scores

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) maintains information on safety regulations.

Cruise Ship National Center of Expertise

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