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Cunard Booking Cancellations Legal Background / Response


drschibi
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Have a trip booked on an SF Alaska Vancouver on Cunard through a third party travel agency.  Like others we received a notice of BOOKING cancellation from Cunard via curt summary email below.  Nothing from the third party travel agency.  I had initially thought the entire cruise was cancelled.  That is not the case.  Cunard is still accepting bookings on some or all of her originally booked trip. 

As many have noted, the damages to those affected go well beyond the price of the cruise itself to lost airline tickets, hotel bookings, etc. 

I do not do a lot of work in this area, but am trying to bring myself up to speed.  Based on my initial research, it is becoming clear to me that Cunard is not going to be stepping up to the plate on their own.  Unfortunately, they may require some nudging.  

Starting this as a place to consolidate potentially useful information which might be helpful to others.  

First, the link to the General Counsel of Carnival UK which is the parent of Cunard who is based in the UK is below.  If anyone has contact info such as email that would be helpful.  See below.  

  https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnsnyder4/?originalSubdomain=uk

Second, if anyone had any contact information for anyone else in the legal department at Carnival UK that would also be helpful, especially if it was US based counsel. 

Third, just for reference, especially for anyone based in California, Carnival UK is registered to do business in California, so they are easily within legal reach including via California Small Claims.  See below CA SOS REGISTRATION INFORMATION.  

Fourth, does anyone have familiarity with what rights if any the Carnival / Cunard legal terms / contract of carriage might provide to customers?  Helpful to share here.

Fifth, does anyone have familiarity with what rights if any, that federal or state laws might provide to customers?  Helpful to share here.  For example, for those resident in CA, there may be good argument that the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing would apply to bookings especially if it was CA residents booking a cruise while in CA that is departing from CA.  

Sixth, if anyone happens to know of a class action attorney in the travel / cruise space, this might be an interesting opportunity for them.  I encourage sharing the situation with them or sharing their contact information here. 

I always think a business / customer service approach is best, but it seems clear here that Cunard has elected to reject that path which is of course very disappointing.   

 

https://california-business-lawyer-corporate-lawyer.com/breach-of-contract-law-definition-elements-defense-lawyer/breach-of-implied-covenant-of-good-faith-and-fair-dealing-law-elements-defense-lawyer/

https://www.justia.com/trials-litigation/docs/caci/300/325/

https://trellis.law/ca/issue-type/breach-of-covenant-of-good-faith-fair-dealing-247/185?

 

CA SOS REGISTRATION INFORMATION

CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES (2055913)

 

Request Certificate

Initial Filing Date 09/16/1997
Status Active
Standing - SOS Good
Standing - FTB Good
Standing - Agent Good
Standing - VCFCF Good
Formed In Panama
Foreign Name CARNIVAL CORPORATION
Entity Type Stock Corporation - Out of State - Stock
Principal Address 3655 N.W. 87TH AVENUE MIAMI, FL 33178
Mailing Address 3655 N.W. 87TH AVENUE MIAMI, FL 33178
Statement of Info Due Date 09/30/2022
Agent 1505 Corporation 112 C T CORPORATION SYSTEM 330 N BRAND BLVD STE 700 GLENDALE, CA 91203

 

EMAIL RECEIVED. 

Important information about your voyage.
Dear xxx, as you may have seen in the news, the wider impact of Covid-19 is affecting hospitality and disrupting airlines and as such this is impacting the number of crew members we are able to get to our ships.

We naturally want to ensure that all guests across the fleet experience the high standards of service on board that they would expect from Cunard and which we are committed to delivering. We are therefore limiting the number of guests sailing as we build crew numbers back up.

Regretfully, this means that we need to cancel a number of existing bookings, including yours on board Queen Elizabeth, departing on 06/01/2022. We understand you would have been looking forward to your voyage with us and are truly sorry for the disappointment this may cause.

We will of course be automatically processing a full refund for you on all monies paid to date and in addition we would like to add a Future Cruise Credit (FCC) to your account worth 25% of the fare paid on your voyage Q214D, for you to redeem on any future booking with Cunard. This FCC will be available for you to use on any future Cunard voyage booked by December 31, 2024.

Please find details below of the refund and the offer and we do hope that we can welcome you on board very soon.

 

 

VERY IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER:

The information provided here does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.  Information on this website / topic may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information. 

Readers of this website should contact their attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter.  No reader, user, or browser of this site should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information on this site without first seeking legal advice from counsel in the relevant jurisdiction.  Only your individual attorney can provide assurances that the information contained herein – and your interpretation of it – is applicable or appropriate to your particular situation.  Use of, and access to, this website or any of the links or resources contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader, user, or browser and website authors, contributors, contributing law firms, or committee members and their respective employers.  The content on this posting is provided "as is;" no representations are made that the content is error-free.

 

 

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As others have reported airlines have been flexible and hotels- so this seems a complete overreaction to me. This is why people have travel insurance 

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17 minutes ago, lissie said:

As others have reported airlines have been flexible and hotels- so this seems a complete overreaction to me. This is why people have travel insurance 

And this is why travel insurance will be going through the roof premium wise as more and more people are shorted their vacations and file claims. Cunard is not looking good right now. Sad for such a long term company to come up aganst poor planning and poorer customer relations.

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Yes, sometimes the cruise lines contact their passengers before they send notice to the agent.  That happened to me just this year when one of my cruises was cancelled (also by short email) because the entire ship was chartered by a single group. Lucky for me I had not yet booked my air, so I just had to move the cruise and dates. I actually called the agent and notified them so they could move my travel insurance.

 

I have been a traveler my whole life and even worked in the industry when I was much, much younger.  We are still in the covid and post-covid stages and travel is NOT back to normal.  Traveling now means anticipating change and having patience and flexibility. Travel insurance is a MUST if one cannot afford the loss of funds or the inconvenience of rescheduling.  

 

Thinking about trying to create some kind of legal action for a situation in which nobody is really responsible, and nobody is really suffering any significant loss, is almost a waste of time and effort.  Of course with cruises, ports and itineraries are ALWAYS subject to change, and sometimes ships as well!

 

Being upset is understandable, but don't burn yourself out on issues that have no real solution. 

 

The cruise industry is struggling--Carnival has been sending me offers for FREE cruises almost monthly (they just want bodies on the ship who will buy SOMETHING!). Cunard does not want to lose passengers, but obviously there are significant issues so they had to take this serious step.

 

Also, travel insurance filing requires careful paperwork and accurate representation of real financial loss--if everything can just be rebooked (and you receive a full refund AND FCC) the only real loss is the disappointment of not going on the originally planned trip.

 

Best wishes for future travel adventures.

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7 hours ago, lissie said:

As others have reported airlines have been flexible and hotels- so this seems a complete overreaction to me. This is why people have travel insurance 


This.

 

No court would find Cunard liable for a passenger’s consequential losses which would be covered by any half-decent travel insurance policy. Cunard’s only responsibility is to refund the cancelled voyage. 
 

@drschibi I know it’s horribly frustrating, but I fear you’re wasting your time. 

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7 hours ago, Lakesregion said:

And this is why travel insurance will be going through the roof premium wise as more and more people are shorted their vacations and file claims. Cunard is not looking good right now. Sad for such a long term company to come up aganst poor planning and poorer customer relations.

Poor planning or scuppered planning? I have no idea.

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I think the OP will find that their conract with Cunard will include Cunard's right to alter or cancel the voyage at their discretion.

 

As to the information they require, looking at their home country's Cunard site will provide legal T&Cs and their own State government's website could assist them regarding local laws (assuming it's USA).

 

The pandemic has resulted in many disappointments and tragedies and it's far from over.

 

 

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All QE cruises have now disappeared from the Cunard website - not taking any bookings on her until 9th Aug.

 

So presume those on QE up to 9th Aug are still at risk of being 'cancelled off'.

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17 minutes ago, mumoftwo said:

All QE cruises have now disappeared from the Cunard website - not taking any bookings on her until 9th Aug.

 

So presume those on QE up to 9th Aug are still at risk of being 'cancelled off'.                                                     Alaska cruises are showing as sold out on Cunard website

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1 hour ago, mumoftwo said:

All QE cruises have now disappeared from the Cunard website - not taking any bookings on her until 9th Aug.

 

So presume those on QE up to 9th Aug are still at risk of being 'cancelled off'.

That was first reported last week, I wouldn't assume there will be more cancellations just because they are showing as sold out.

 

 

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28 minutes ago, Windsurfboy said:

The 2024  QV , April  Capetown to Southampton showing sold out in all cabins. Strange!

Cabins often initially have sold out on some W.C sectors for some categories. It's a blanket way of ensuring the worldies or long cruisers get the choices first and it's just easier to show sold out [when we know they're not as there's availability on other sectors] rather than the computers having to cherry pick cabins in various categories. 

I've never seen the whole ship blanked out, but then I've never sailed under present conditions.

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5 hours ago, LittleFish1976 said:

 

I think the OP will find that their conract with Cunard will include Cunard's right to alter or cancel the voyage at their discretion.

 

As to the information they require, looking at their home country's Cunard site will provide legal T&Cs and their own State government's website could assist them regarding local laws (assuming it's USA).

 

The pandemic has resulted in many disappointments and tragedies and it's far from over.

 

 

 

The "fine print" in the contract pretty much gives the cruise line the right to change anything at pretty much any time. 

 

I'm sure Cunard isn't happy about having to make these cancellations, but I hope the fact that sales are locked down for a few month's worth of cruises means they can avoid further cancellations and disappointments. If staffing improves more than expected, they can do a last-minute sale to fill a few more cabins. 

 

It isn't just cruises. Airlines are cancelling and rescheduling flights because they don't have enough crew.  Amtrak is a mess, with unexpected cancellations on long-haul trains. They can't get the train from Seattle to Vancouver BC (used by lots of Alaska cruise passengers) running because of staff problems. 

 

The best we can do is make sure our plans are flexible (and refundable) and that our travel insurance is good. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Victoria2 said:

Cabins often initially have sold out on some W.C sectors for some categories. It's a blanket way of ensuring the worldies or long cruisers get the choices first and it's just easier to show sold out [when we know they're not as there's availability on other sectors] rather than the computers having to cherry pick cabins in various categories. 

I've never seen the whole ship blanked out, but then I've never sailed under present conditions.

 

This is the only leg of world cruise with any grade of cabins completely out. Must be popular. In 2023 was 2hrs late in looking and only PG available.  Think for 2025 will set TA on job. But this looks to be nothing to do with current  cancellations

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13 minutes ago, Windsurfboy said:

 

This is the only leg of world cruise with any grade of cabins completely out. Must be popular. In 2023 was 2hrs late in looking and only PG available.  Think for 2025 will set TA on job. But this looks to be nothing to do with current  cancellations

 

I have just looked and can't see a CT to S'ton segment, but CT to H'burg is showing availability in all but PG and QG which will come available later on if not previously booked by longer segmenteers. This happened every year for us on the WC. We had to wait until Cunard released the cabins for our particular segments. Until then, they were shown as sold out on the website, even though we knew they weren't as they were showing available for W.C booking.

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Posted (edited)

Sounds like there was some confusion from readers on the original post.

Cunard did not cancel the voyage or even segment - they are picking and choosing individual bookings to cancel.

No information provided on what basis, or what priority.  Maybe Cunard decided to remove everyone over 65?  Or maybe Cunard decided to remove females?  Or maybe they chose to remove bookings by what was paid and kept the higher paying bookings?  No guidance at all.  

I would be surprised if Cunard had the unfettered right to indiscriminately pick and choose which passengers to take and which to throw overboard on whatever basis they please, but maybe that is the case.  But if anyone had any familiarity with the Cunard terms or any passenger protections  (vs broad generalizations) that would be incredibly helpful.  

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by drschibi
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27 minutes ago, drschibi said:

Sounds like there was some confusion from readers on the original post.

Cunard did not cancel the voyage or even segment - they are picking and choosing individual bookings to cancel.

No information provided on what basis, or what priority.  Maybe Cunard decided to remove everyone over 65?  Or maybe Cunard decided to remove females?  Or maybe they chose to remove bookings by what was paid and kept the higher paying bookings?  No guidance at all.  

I would be surprised if Cunard had the unfettered right to indiscriminately pick and choose which passengers to take and which to throw overboard on whatever basis they please, but maybe that is the case.  But if anyone had any familiarity with the Cunard terms or any passenger protections  (vs broad generalizations) that would be incredibly helpful.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you contacted Cunard to ask why your reservation was cancelled while others weren't? I'm not sue what you mean by "some or all of her originally booked trip." All voyages for the next 6 months show up as sold out. So they aren't still taking bookings for Alaska--they aren't reselling your cabin.

 

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There are five other threads about this topic on this Cunard board.  Most likely the issue is cabin location or cabin type. (Another passenger who was cancelled stated they only book accessible rooms.)   If a traveler is not flexible about being moved, or must have a certain type of cabin, they are more susceptible to change in this day and age. Some of the cruise ship areas are being designated as quarantine cabin floors, and additionally for the staffing challenges, Cunard probably looked at numbers and distance, and tried to calculate how many cabins staff could reasonably be responsible for based on location.

 

Should they have contacted you and asked if you were willing to move?  Yes.  They probably should have done it by seniority--whoever booked first, rather than loyalty or cabin cost--that would be the most fair.

 

But if it was a blanket decision like all balcony cabins on the third floor, they were just doing it in a computer mandated way and probably did not look at individual travelers. They were also probably too overwhelmed with the concept of trying to potentially rebook or move hundreds of travelers.

 

Don't bring in so much emotion to this issue, because it will only upset you more.  You want a response based on a human approach, but the decisions were made much more like a computer logic system (yes/no).

 

My recommendation is to take the full refund, use it to go somewhere else equally as enjoyable, and also start planning a future Cunard cruise with the FCC.  

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6 hours ago, drschibi said:

Sounds like there was some confusion from readers on the original post.

Cunard did not cancel the voyage or even segment - they are picking and choosing individual bookings to cancel.

No information provided on what basis, or what priority.  Maybe Cunard decided to remove everyone over 65?  Or maybe Cunard decided to remove females?  Or maybe they chose to remove bookings by what was paid and kept the higher paying bookings?  No guidance at all.  

I would be surprised if Cunard had the unfettered right to indiscriminately pick and choose which passengers to take and which to throw overboard on whatever basis they please, but maybe that is the case.  But if anyone had any familiarity with the Cunard terms or any passenger protections  (vs broad generalizations) that would be incredibly helpful.  

 

 

 

 

 

Threads meander sometimes and I don't think there's any confusion at all. As has been said, there are enough threads and comments on these cancellations so we are aware of them. 

 

There are quite a few should haves and why nots regarding disrupted travel plans, and not just with Cunard. Yes ''they'' should have done this, no ''they'' shouldn't have done that but Force Majeure and all that?

 

Do keep us updated on your quest but you might find for many travellers, it's not worth the angst.

 

 

 

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8 hours ago, drschibi said:

Sounds like there was some confusion from readers on the original post.

Cunard did not cancel the voyage or even segment - they are picking and choosing individual bookings to cancel.

No information provided on what basis, or what priority.  Maybe Cunard decided to remove everyone over 65?  Or maybe Cunard decided to remove females?  Or maybe they chose to remove bookings by what was paid and kept the higher paying bookings?  No guidance at all.  

I would be surprised if Cunard had the unfettered right to indiscriminately pick and choose which passengers to take and which to throw overboard on whatever basis they please, but maybe that is the case.  But if anyone had any familiarity with the Cunard terms or any passenger protections  (vs broad generalizations) that would be incredibly helpful.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go to the Cunard website in the US (presuming that is where you made your booking) and open the 'Legal Information' link (look at the bottom of the home page for the link - NB it may be in a different place on the US site).

 

From there you will find 'Booking Conditions'. Read that in conjuction with the consumer law in your State (or country if consumer law is under Federal/National jurisdiction).

 

If you have booked through a travel agent you should contact them also as their booking conditions would form part of your sales contract (not with Cunard obviously but for the purposes of any recourse you may have).

 

It's my belief that Cunard are well within their rights to cancel the booking of any passenger for operational reasons. Best not to take this personally if you can help it; language like 'throwing overboard' won't help your case if you do take this further.

 

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12 hours ago, drschibi said:

Sounds like there was some confusion from readers on the original post.

Cunard did not cancel the voyage or even segment - they are picking and choosing individual bookings to cancel.

No information provided on what basis, or what priority.  Maybe Cunard decided to remove everyone over 65?  Or maybe Cunard decided to remove females?  Or maybe they chose to remove bookings by what was paid and kept the higher paying bookings?  No guidance at all.  

I would be surprised if Cunard had the unfettered right to indiscriminately pick and choose which passengers to take and which to throw overboard on whatever basis they please, but maybe that is the case.  But if anyone had any familiarity with the Cunard terms or any passenger protections  (vs broad generalizations) that would be incredibly helpful.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

If Cunard doesn't have the right to decide whose booking to cancel, so long, obviously,  as it doesn't fall foul of anti-discrimination legislation, which some of your suggestions might, who would you think was in a better place to decide? 

And distressing as having a booking cancelled is, being given 125% credit is hardly comparable to being thrown overboard, which seems a particularly unfortunate metaphor in this milieu. I would take your money and book another holiday and move on. Really, life is too short.

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Posted (edited)

So far it does appear that the protections of cruise passengers / ship travelers is limited.  Was anyone successful in getting their booking moved or any compensation other than the meager 25 pct coupn 

 

Edited by drschibi
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I think all they legally owe you is the money you paid for the cruise. The FCC is a gesture of goodwill, and 25% has been Cunard's standard amount through all the covid cancellations. In some cases, people got their entire refund as FCCs, so if you got the cost of the cruise back as cash, you're doing better than some other people did last year or the year before. 

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1 hour ago, drschibi said:

So far it does appear that the protections of cruise passengers / ship travelers is limited.  Was anyone successful in getting their booking moved or any compensation other than the meager 25 pct coupn 

 

We've had numerous cruises cancelled and had no trouble moving bookings to other dates. I don't see why that should be any different for you. 

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