Coronavirus and cruises or crossings: this is what you need to know!

The rights you have if you cancel your cruise or crossing depend on what you have booked. If you booked a package tour, for example a cruise holiday, different rules apply than if you booked a separate ticket for a ferry crossing. On this page, you can read everything you need to know about crossings or cruises in times of corona.  

How we can help you

The European Consumer Centre informs you about your consumer rights in the EU, provides free legal advice in cross-border disputes, and mediates if you and the ferry line or cruise cannot work it out together. Our website offers information, tips and sample letters that will help you take the right steps.

Coronavirus and cruises or crossings: this is what you need to know! ECC Netherlands

Good to know

Can I cancel my ferry or cruise ticket free of charge for fear of the coronavirus?

You can always cancel your cruise or crossing, but as long as the cruise or crossing can be carried out by the cruise or ferry line as agreed at the time of booking, you can in principle not cancel the cruise or crossing free of charge. You are subject to the booking conditions and willingness of the shipping company to rebook or cancel the crossing or cruise free of charge. 

#cancellation-ferry-or-cruise-trip

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Can I cancel my boat trip or crossing free of charge in the event of an entry ban?

An entry ban means that a country or an area is locked and not accessible to a certain group of people, such as travellers from other countries. Is there an entry ban for your holiday destination? In that case, the cruise or ferry line will probably not be able to carry out your package holiday. You will be entitled to a modified trip, rebooking or a refund of your money in the event of cancellation.  

#entry-ban

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Will I get my money back if the cruise or crossing is cancelled by the ferry or cruise line?

If a cruise or crossing is cancelled by the ferry or cruise line, you are entitled to a rebooking or refund of the fare or ticket price. Be aware that in times of corona, it may take a little longer to get the money back. The ferry or cruise line may offer you a voucher as an alternative. You do not have to accept this.

Your right to refuse a voucher
When cancelling your cruise or ferry ticket, the ferry or cruise line may offer you a corona voucher as an alternative to the refund. This voucher should not be imposed on you. Are you refusing the voucher? Then you are still entitled to a refund of your money. 
 

#crossing-cruise-cancellation-refund?

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Should I be quarantined if a fellow passenger is infected with the coronavirus?

If a fellow passenger on your cruise or crossing has tested positive for the coronavirus, you may have to go into quarantine and not be allowed to leave the ship. Can you disembark? Then you will have to spend 14 days in home quarantine on your return. Do not leave your home or place of residence and avoid contact with others as much as possible. If you develop any symptoms, contact your doctor or the Municipal Health Service GGD. 

#quarantine-coronavirus

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What should I pay attention to when accepting a voucher?

If your cruise or crossing is cancelled because of the coronavirus, the cruise or ferry line may offer you a voucher. Before you choose to accept a voucher, check if the voucher complies with the basic principles of the voucher scheme of the Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets ACM.

  • Accepting a voucher is a choice, it should not be imposed on you. The starting point remains that you are entitled to a refund when you cancel your booking. 
  • The voucher must be a full replacement. This means that the voucher value is equal to the original travel sum including booking fees and administrative costs, etc. 
  • Vouchers must have a reasonable validity period, e.g. 12 months. 
  • The remaining voucher amount (the part you have not spent) must be paid out afterwards by the cruise or ferry line within a reasonable period of time. 
  • Have you made a down payment? Then you do not have to pay the remaining amount if you know that the holiday cannot go ahead or if the cruise or ferry line will be unable to perform the agreement.

Also check if the voucher is covered by a guarantee fund or if another guarantee scheme applies, so you will not be left empty-handed in the event of bankruptcy. 
 

#voucher-conditions

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I do not get a voucher despite the commitment of the cruise or ferry line, what now?

If the cruise or ferry line refuses to send you a voucher when it was promised, you do not have to leave it at that. Let us explain what you can do!

Complaint with our template letter
Make your complaint known to the cruise or ferry line in writing, via the website or by email. For this purpose, you can use the ECC sample letter ‘Not received your corona voucher? Request your voucher!’ This letter can be downloaded in Dutch and English. Free of charge! Give the cruise or ferry line 4 weeks to respond.

Report it to the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) 
Does the cruise or ferry line fail to respond within the time limit you set, or is your request for a refund rejected? Report it to the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate. This regulator can take strict action against cruise or ferry lines that do not comply with the rules and are taking unfair advantage of the corona crisis. 

Complaint about a foreign cruise or ferry line? Ask ECC for assistance!
Do you live in the Netherlands and do you have a conflict with a foreign cruise or ferry line established in another EU Member State, Norway, Iceland or the United Kingdom, which you cannot resolve together? Ask our legal specialists for assistance. We mediate between you and the cruise or ferry line. Free of charge! 

Complaint about a Dutch cruise or ferry line? 
If you have a question or complaint about a Dutch cruise or ferry line, please contact ACM ConsuWijzer or the Legal Helpdesk for legal assistance. 

Disputes Committee
Check whether the cruise or ferry line is a member of a travel guarantee fund, such as the Travel Compensation Fund (Stichting Garantiefonds Reisgelden SGR), Guarantee Fund for Specialised Tour Operators (Garantiefonds voor Gespecialiseerde Touroperators GGTO), STO Garant or VZR Garant guarantee schemes. You can then often submit your complaint to a disputes committee. This only applies to package holidays, such as a cruise holiday. Not for a separate ferry crossing ticket.

Take it to court
If ECC’s mediation is unsuccessful or you are unable to submit your complaint to a disputes committee, you can submit your complaint to the court. For cross-border disputes, you can start a small claims procedure. Our legal specialists can inform you about the legal options and costs for starting this procedure. 
 

#request-corona-voucher

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What can I do if the cruise or ferry line refuses to refund my money?

If a cruise or ferry line refuses to refund your money in the event of cancellation of the cruise or crossing, you do not need to leave it at that. Let us explain what you can do!

Download sample letter
Make your complaint known to the cruise or ferry line in writing, via the website or by email. Please use the ECC sample letter 'cruise or crossing cancelled due to the coronavirus? Get your money back!’ This letter can be downloaded in Dutch and English. Free of charge! Give the cruise or ferry line 4 weeks to respond to your complaint. 

Report it to the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) 
Does the cruise or ferry line fail to respond within the time limit you set, or is your request for a refund rejected? Report it to the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate. This regulator can take strict action against cruise or ferry lines that do not comply with the rules and are taking unfair advantage of the corona crisis. 

Complaint about a foreign cruise or ferry line? Ask ECC for assistance!
Do you live in the Netherlands and do you have a conflict with a foreign cruise or ferry line established in another EU Member State, Norway, Iceland or the United Kingdom, which you cannot resolve together? Ask our legal specialists for assistance. We mediate between you and the cruise or ferry line. Free of charge! 

Complaint about a Dutch cruise or ferry line? 
If you have a question or complaint about a Dutch cruise or ferry line, please contact ACM ConsuWijzer or the Legal Helpdesk for legal assistance. 

Disputes Committee
Check whether the cruise or ferry line is a member of a travel guarantee fund, such as the Travel Compensation Fund (Stichting Garantiefonds Reisgelden SGR), Guarantee Fund for Specialised Tour Operators (Garantiefonds voor Gespecialiseerde Touroperators GGTO), STO Garant or VZR Garant guarantee schemes. You can then often submit your complaint to a disputes committee. This only applies to package holidays, such as a cruise holiday. Not for a separate ferry crossing.

Take it to court
If ECC’s mediation is unsuccessful or you are unable to submit your complaint to a disputes committee, you can submit your complaint to the court. For cross-border disputes, you can start a small claims procedure. Our legal specialists can inform you about the legal options and costs for starting this procedure. 

#rederij-weigert-terugbetaling

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To whom can I complain about the cruise or ferry line?

Do you live in the Netherlands and do you have a conflict with a foreign cruise or ferry line established in another EU Member State, Norway, Iceland or the United Kingdom, which you cannot resolve together? You can our legal specialists for assistance. We mediate between you and the cruise or ferry line. Free of charge! 

Complaint about a Dutch cruise or ferry line? 
If you have a question or complaint about a Dutch cruise or ferry line, please contact ACM ConsuWijzer or the Legal Helpdesk for legal assistance. 

Report it to the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) 
Does the cruise or ferry line fail to respond within the time limit you set, or is your request for a refund rejected? Report it to the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate. This regulator can take strict action against cruise or ferry lines that do not comply with the rules and are taking unfair advantage of the corona crisis. 

Disputes Committee
Check whether the cruise or ferry line is a member of a travel guarantee fund, such as the Travel Compensation Fund (Stichting Garantiefonds Reisgelden SGR), Guarantee Fund for Specialised Tour Operators (Garantiefonds voor Gespecialiseerde Touroperators GGTO), STO Garant or VZR Garant guarantee schemes. You can then often submit your complaint to a  disputes committee. This only applies to package holidays, for example a cruise holiday.

Take it to court
If ECC’s mediation is unsuccessful, you can start a small claims procedure and submit your complaint to the court. Our legal specialists can inform you about the legal options and costs for starting this procedure. 

#complaint-about-ferry-line-or-cruise

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About the ECC

How can the European Consumer Centre help me?

The European Consumer Centre will help find a solution for your complaint if you and a foreign ferry line or cruise cannot work it out together. You live in the Netherlands and the ferry line or cruise must be established in another EU country, Norway, Iceland or the United Kingdom. Contact our legal specialists via the online form. Our legal aid is free. 

Question/complaint about a Dutch ferry line or cruise
If you have a question or complaint about a Dutch ferry line or cruise, please contact the Legal Services CounterACM Consuwijzer or the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate for legal assistance. 

#European-Consumer-Centre

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