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Originally published Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 3:17 PM

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Cruise lines announce passenger bill of rights

After the Carnival Triumph debacle, the Cruise Lines International Association puts some guarantees in writing on refunds in case of ships’ mechanical failure.

Associated Press

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NEW YORK — The cruise industry said Wednesday that it’s adopting a passenger bill of rights that guarantees the “safety, comfort and care” of guests.

The bill of rights promises, among other things, full refunds for trips that are canceled due to mechanical failure, and a backup power source on every ship to keep systems running in the event of a main generator failure.

The announcement by the Cruise Lines International Association, which represents 25 major companies including Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Holland America and Cunard, comes in the aftermath of the Carnival Triumph debacle. The ship drifted for several days in the Gulf of Mexico earlier this year without power as passengers endured filthy conditions.

CLIA said in a news release that its board of directors adopted the bill of rights and that it would be effective immediately for U.S. passengers who purchase their cruise in North America on CLIA’s North American member cruise lines.

The association also said that it had submitted the bill of rights to the International Maritime Organization, “requesting formal global recognition and applicability.”

“The cruise industry passenger bill of rights codifies many longstanding practices of CLIA members and goes beyond those to further inform cruise guests of the industry’s commitment to their comfort and care,” said Christine Duffy, president and CEO of CLIA, in a statement.

The bill also gives passengers the right to disembark a docked ship if “essential provisions such as food, water, restroom facilities and access to medical care cannot adequately be provided onboard,” subject to safety, security and local customs and immigration laws.

In addition to a full refund for trips canceled due to mechanical failure, the bill guarantees partial refunds for voyages that are terminated early due to those failures.

The bill also guarantees “the right to transportation” to the ship’s scheduled final port or the passenger’s home city in the event the trip is terminated early due to mechanical failures.

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