In Wake Of Poop Cruises, Senator Calls For Passenger Bill Of Rights

This logo haunts our dreams.

This logo haunts our dreams.

After last month’s “poop cruise” disaster on the stranded Carnival Triumph, one lawmaker is asking for the travel industry to police itself and create a standard passenger bill of rights so consumers know what is expected — and what forms of redress are available — when things go wrong.

“It can be scary to watch the shore drift away as you’re hundreds of miles out to sea. But to be out at sea without access to a doctor, electricity, toilet facilities, that’s unconscionable,” Sen. Chuck “Charles” Schumer of New York told CBS 880. “If we can get this passenger bill of rights done, passengers can breathe a sigh of relief that they know that the trip will be safe and if, God forbid, there’s emergencies, that they will be taken care of in the right way.”

While passengers on those ships that make headlines usually get full refunds, travelers on ships with less apocalyptic conditions may not, or may only get partial refunds. Then there are always considerations about whether passengers should be reimbursed for travel to and from the port. The notion is that a passenger bill of rights would provide answers to these questions.

“If failures – mechanical, plumbing or otherwise – occur on these ships, passengers should get a full refund,” said Schumer, who pointed to the FAA regulations on the airline industry as an example.

Of course, those are actual rules put in place by a federal agency with full oversight authority, and not merely voluntary self-imposed guidelines. The biggest roadblock to imposing such guidelines on the cruise industry is that so many of the ships involved are registered internationally and spend their time bouncing from port to port. Thus, Sen. Schumer is urging the State Department to work with countries that American tourists frequently visit on cruise ships.

Speaking of poop cruises and the like, Carnival’s horrible year has resulted in the cruise company’s first-ever appearance in the Worst Company In America tournament. Check out the rest of the bracket here.