Rights of ship passengers
Since 2012, an EU regulation [(EU) No 1177/2010] clarifies the rights of passengers travelling by sea and inland waterway. The regulation is applicable when
- you travel with ships operating as public transportation services (with a published timeline) and the port of departure is in an EU Member State.
- the port of departure is outside the EU, but the port of arrival is within the EU and the provider (the shipping company) is located in a Member State.
- you embark on a cruise and the port of departure is outside the EU. Please note: Some provisions of the Regulation don't apply to cruises (see below)!
The regulation is not applicable to ships
- oder with a maximum of twelve passengers or
- a crew of max. three people or
- with a maximum distance of 500 metres (single trip)
- without machine operation.
What does it regulate?
The regulation covers your rights, besides several information duties, in the following occasions:
- Cancellations and delays
- Transportation of disabled people or persons with reduced mobility
Cancelled or delayed departures
Special case cruises
Please note: The following regulations regarding cancellations and delays don't apply to cruises, as those are considered to be package travels. The only exceptions are the information duties and the right to free accommodation in case of an overnight stay.
Possible further entitlements due to a delay or cancellations are regulated by the respective Austrian laws (KSchG) and have to be met by the tour operator (read more).
The carrier has to inform you about the situation and the estimated departure and arrival time as soon as possible, 30 minutes after the planned departure the latest.
Assistance, alternative transportation and ticket refund
Muss der Beförderer davon ausgehen, dass es zu
If the carrier estimates that it will come to
- a cancellation
- or a delay of more than 90 minutes,
he has to provide you with free snacks and drinks.
This does not apply to cruises or if you already knew about the expected cancellation or delay before buying the tickets.
Furthermore, you can choose between
- alternative transportation to your final destination without extra costs and
- refund of the ticket price within seven days. If the interruption occurs during your journey and you choose a refund, you are also entitled to a free transport back to your initial point of departure.
You have to explicitly agree to a refund in the form of vouchers. It is your right to request cash.
Accommodation over night: If you have to stay over night, the carrier is obliged to provide you with adequate and free accommodation. This applies to cruises, too. The carrier can limit the overall costs of the accommodation to € 80,- per night for each passenger and to a maximum of three nights.
The obligation to provide accommodation does not apply if the cancellation or delay was evidently caused by bad weather.
Delayed arrival at the final destination - ticket price reduction
Bei verspäteter Ankunft am vereinbarten Endziel, haben Sie Anspruch auf Entschädigung in Höhe von 25% des entrichteten Fahrpreises bei einer Verspätung von mindestens
If you arrive late at your final destination, you are entitled to a compensation of 25 % of the paid ticket price, given a minimum delay of:
- one hour at a planned travel time of up to four hours
- two hours at a planned travel time of more than four and up to eight hours
- three hours at a planned travel time of more than eight and up to 24 hours
- six hours at a planned travel time of more than 24 hours
If the delay is more than double than the above listed, you are entitled to a compensation of 50% of the ticket price.
In case of a round trip (to and from), the compensation is calculated based on half of the ticket price.
Those regulation don't apply if the carrier can prove that the delay was caused by bad weather or unavoidable exceptional circumstances. Furthermore, the regulations don't apply to open tickets as long as the time of departure is not specified, except for passengers holding a travel pass or a season ticket.
The compensation has to be paid within one month after the submission of the request. It may be paid in the form of vouchers, if you don't demand another way of payment.
If you have a travel pass or season ticket, you are entitled to a reimbursement in case of repeating delays according to the terms & conditions of the carrier.
Further entitlements due to cancellations and delays are regulated by Austrian law.
Special rights of disabled persons or persons with reduced mobility
Disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility are entitled to transportation without any further costs. Carriers can only refuse to issue a ticket or to transport such passengers in two scenarios:
- in order to comply with security requirements.
- if the specific design of the ship or infrastructure of the harbor does not allow for safe boarding or transportation.
If one of those two scenarios occur, carriers, travel agents and tour operators may demand that the disabled person is accompanied by an assistant who has to be transported for free.
If you have already booked your journey and the transportation is refused due to one of the above mentioned scenarios, the carrier has to provide you with two options: either the refund of the ticket price or alternative transportation, if securely possible.
Important deadlines: If you need special assistance in harbours or on board of ships, make sure to inform the carrier at least 48 hours beforehand. If the carrier doesn't tell you a specific time for your boarding, you have to be there 60 minutes before departure.
Tell the carrier about any other specific needs, e.g. regarding accommodation or seating, already at the booking. You have to declare your need to bring medical equipment or companion dogs.
If your mobility aids or any other specific equipment is lost or damaged at the carriers or terminal operators fault, you're entitled to compensation according to replacement value or repair costs. Furthermore they have to provide you with temporary equipment which is a suitable replacement.
Filing a claim
You have to submit your claim within two months after the actual or planned transportation. The carriers or terminal operators often provide forms at the ticket booths or on their website.
If you can't find a solution with the carrier, you can turn to the arbitration body for ship passenger rights of the respective Member State. In Austria, the agency for passenger rights (apf) is competent.