What to do if you have booked a cruise: Q&A

 

On 13 January 2012, Costa Concordia was sailing north-west from Civitavecchia to Savona on the Italian Riviera. She struck a rock close to the Tuscan island of Giglio and capsized. At least 11 people are known to have died in the shipwreck, and more passengers and crew are still unaccounted for.

Costa Cruises is the biggest cruise company in Europe, and is part of Carnival – the largest cruise firm in the world. Even so, the company’s engagement with customers with future bookings has been minimal. Indeed, 48 hours after the disaster, it was still possible to book cruises on the stricken ship.

Despite repeated requests to the cruise line about matters concerning future customers, as of 20 January all my questions about passengers’ rights remained unanswered. In the absence of any responses to my requests for information from Costa Cruises, this is my best estimate of your rights and prospects.

Q I have a forward booking on Costa Concordia. What are my options?

A All Costa Concordia sailings up to 21 May 2012 have been cancelled. Passengers booked for voyages up to 24 March are being given full refunds plus a voucher for a 30 per cent discount on a future trip. Passenger booked between 24 March and 21 May 2012 have been transferred to what is described as the “brand new Costa neoRomantica”. In fact, she is the refurbished Costa Romantica, a ship launched 20 years ago and currently in dry dock in Genoa. The company says of the ship: “Designed to surprise, it will become a source of constant fun and excitement”.

Q That doesn’t appeal – can I have my money back?

 A Yes, but only if you cancel by 7 February. You must supply your bank account details, even if you paid by credit card.

Q What steps are being taken on Costa Concordia's sister ships following the events of Friday night and Saturday morning in terms of improving safety procedures?

A Costa Concordia has four sister ships within Costa Cruises, with a fifth due to enter service in May. A sixth ship is in service with the firm’s US parent, as the Carnival Splendor.

The company says: “Costa is committed to ensuring that no such incident ever occurs again”. Pier Luigi Foschi, chairman and managing director of Costa Cruises, told an Italian newspaper “Our training courses are the best there are”.

In practice, it is likely that urgent communications are being sent out by the company to ensure that every member of crew is fully aware of standard operating procedures to try to avoid any repeat of the chaotic scenes experienced by the passengers as they tried to escape Costa Concordia.

In the longer term, Signor Foschi said he would be seeking “To replicate on land the system of sounds and signals when a ship deviates from its route: we have to know this earlier. And to work with the government so that captains no longer have absolute power. A more collegiate form of management on the bridge would be better.”

Q Until we know what went wrong I don’t want to sail on a sister ship. Can I get all my money back?

A No. You will lose at least some, and possibly all, your cash. The company says all its ships “have been built to the highest standards and technologies”, and there appears no intention to alter planned voyages by Concordia’s sister ships.

Therefore, unless Costa Cruises decides differently, normal terms apply: broadly, for cancellations three months in advance, the cancellation fee is £100. Cancel with four days or less before departure, or simply become a “no-show”, and all your money will be lost. Travel insurance will not help, since you will be deemed to be “disinclined to travel”, for which there is no compensation.

Q I understand P&O Cruises and Cunard are sister companies within the Carnival group. Can I switch my reservation from Costa to one of their ships?

A Not under current booking conditions. The only way to do it is to cancel, take the financial hit and buy a new cruise.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tvReview: It's gripping edge-of-the-seat drama, so a curveball can be forgiven at such a late stage
News
Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
News
i100(More than you think)
News
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
News
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    h2 Recruit Ltd: Sales Manager - Holiday Homes - £100,000 OTE

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + £100,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: Birmingham, Derby, L...

    Investigo: Finance Manager - Global Leisure Business

    £55000 - £65000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in their fiel...

    Investigo: Senior Finance Analyst - Global Leisure Business

    £45000 - £52000 per annum + bonus+bens : Investigo: My client, a global leader...

    Investigo: Financial reporting Accountant

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits : Investigo: One of the fastest growing g...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

    Christmas Appeal

    Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
    Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

    Is it always right to try to prolong life?

    Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

    What does it take for women to get to the top?

    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
    Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

    Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

    Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
    French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

    French chefs campaign against bullying

    A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

    Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
    Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

    Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

    Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
    Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

    Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

    Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
    There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

    In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

    The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

    It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit