In December 2012, the EU regulation concerning the rights of passengers when travelling by seaand inland waterways came into effect, ensuring the same level of protection for passengers comparable with that of air transport. Above all it guarantees improved protection in case of cancellation or delay in passenger service. The carrier may however refuse to pay compensation to passengers in case of delay in arrival, if they prove that the delay resulted from weather conditions endangering the safe operation of the ship or from extra ordinary circumstances hindering the performance of a passenger service which could not have been reasonably avoided, such as strong wind, stormy sea, strong current, heavy ice conditions, exceptionally high or low water level. In the event of cancellation or delay in departure, passengers have the right to be informed of the delay or cancellation by the carrier or terminal operator as soon as possible, no later than 30 minutes after the scheduled time of departure.
The carrier will inform of the estimated new departure and arrival time as soon as that information becomes available. In case of a delay of more than 90 minutes or cancellation of a passenger service, passengers have a right to choose between rerouting to the final destination at no additional cost at the earliest opportunity under comparable conditions and reimbursement of the ticket price combined, where relevant, with a free of charge return service at the earliest opportunity to the first point of departure set out in the transport contract.
The carrier has 7 days to reimburse the price of the ticket. In case of a delay of more than 90 minutes or cancellation of a passenger service, and where reasonably possible, the carrier shall provide the passengers with adequate assistance, e.g. free of charge snacks, meals or refreshments in reasonable relation to the waiting time. Where the delay or cancellation of a departure necessitates nights of stay for the passengers, they shall be offered adequate accommodation free of charge up to 3 nights. This includes transport to and from the port terminal to the place of accommodation, if necessary. In case of a delay of more than 90 minutes or cancellation of a passenger service, passengers have a right to request partial compensation of 25 to 50% of the ticket price from the carrier, depending on the amount of time the arrival exceeds the scheduled journey.
The carrier must pay the compensation within 1 month of receiving an adequate written request. Passengers with reduced mobility due to e.g. disability or injury have the right to free of charge assistance in ports and on board ships, including with embarkation and disembarkation. If their mobility equipment is lost or receives damage during the voyage the passengers have a right to request financial compensation. Passengers may submit complaints to the carrier within 2 months from the date on which the service was performed or when it should have been performed. If the passenger is unable to reachan agreement in the matter this way, they have a right to take the matter up with the national consumer authority. Cross-border passenger complaints are handled by the European Consumer Centre working in connection with the national authority.