Posted May 3rd, 2018, 09:10 PM
Last edited by RDC1; May 3rd, 2018 at 09:39 PM
You need to take that paragraph in full, though:
38. After departure, Princess does not guarantee that the ship will call at every port on the itinerary or follow every part of the advertised route or schedule or that every part of the Package will be provided. Princess reserves the absolute right to decide whether or not to omit any such port(s) and/or to call at additional ports and/or to change the advertised route, schedule or Package. If Princess is unable to provide a significant proportion of the Package, it will make suitable alternative arrangements, at no extra cost to the Passenger, for the continuation of the Package. If the Passenger does not accept them, for good reasons, or, if it is impossible to make suitable alternative arrangements Princess will, where appropriate, provide the Passenger with transport back to the place of departure or to another place to which Princess and the Passenger have agreed. In both cases Princess will, where appropriate, compensate the Passenger. Please note that compensation will not be payable if an alteration is minor or if Princess is not able to provide a significant proportion of the Package due to force majeure.
Since weather is considered a force majeure, Princess didn't have a legal obligation to compensate. Whether they had a MORAL obligation is a whole other question....
Yes and no. Force Majeure is open to interpretation. While PTR 1992 does provide some protection to the provider in case of the claim of a Force Majeure, the end point of the trip is considered to be an essential term under 1992. Also the protection of Force Majeure is only for the duration of the event. It would be rather interesting if someone was to make a claim under PTR1992 if the cruise line claim of Force Majeure for a relatively short term wind event, that did not restrict all shipping would hold up.
One could make the argument that the event did not really rise to the level of force Majeure and that sufficient alternatives did exist for the passengers to be able to be delivered to their end point.
It really comes down to Maritime law and how the courts have ruled in the past if a Captain's decision that a condition is unsafe can be considered to be Force Majeure or if it must also meet other conditions.
It is probably an academic issue, because I doubt anyone that purchased under UK terms planned to end the cruise in La Havre instead of Southampton. The EU is moving to similar protections someone might make a claim under another EU countries terms.
Now one good thing is that it is fairly standard for travel insurance to pay for weather related situations based upon the individual policy and coverage limits. If it had been mechanical then such policies general consider the provider to be responsible and the insurance would not cover.
Take the example of Force Majeure with the air line industry. It provides protection to them from having to pay compensation for claims when weather conditions delay or cancels a flight so they do not have to pay for hotels, meals etc. They are still required to honor delivery to the travelers destination as soon as possible after the weather conditions return to normal. The airline cannot just claim force majeure and say that the passenger is stuck where ever they were when the weather occured and lose any right to future travel. So it really raises the question if getting a cruise line passenger to their final destination is really compensation or if it is a requirement after the conditions resolve. Again this is strictly within the confines the the UK regulations. Under US law the cruise line can pretty much do what it wants.