The law is different from making a holiday injury claim, for an accident which occurred at a hotel or resort.
The Terms and Conditions contained in your holiday contract, which are supplied by both Tour operators and Cruise lines are bound by regulations set out in the Athens Convention.
The Athens Convention – what you need to know
The Athens Convention applies to EU member states and has been in force in the UK since 1996.
Seagoing vessels owe a “duty of care” in the carriage of passengers and luggage by sea, and to passengers who are either getting on or off the boat.
The Convention operates in favour of the consumer. The fault is automatically presumed on the part of the carrier unless they can prove otherwise, and is different from claims under the Package Travel Regulations 1992, which require you to prove the carrier was at fault.
A cruise ship accident claim will almost always be in accordance with the Athens Convention and not under Package Holiday Regulations 1992.
You can still make a complaint about a ‘spoilt holiday’, according to Package Holiday Regulations 1992 but this will be a completely separate action.
It is also important to be aware that under the Athens Convention, the Terms and Conditions:
- Only apply to cruises that start and finish in a UK port
- Do not apply to domestic cruises around the British Isles and the coast of Scotland.
If your cruise departed from a foreign destination...
You may be able to proceed with a claim under the Package Travel Regulations 1992 but only if:
- There were no ‘stop-off’ ports of call in between
- Your tour operator is a UK company
A further important difference is the time you have to make a claim from when the accident occurred:
- 2 years- Athens Convention
- 3 years- Package Travel Regulations
A limit is imposed on the amount of compensation that can be claimed for personal injury or death.