Your rights when travelling by ferry

The following is a guest blog by the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland. The information applies to the whole of the UK.

Many of us may be spring cleaning the caravan and planning for our forthcoming summer holidays, but it also important to brush up on your passenger rights if planning on travelling by ferry this summer. Scott Kennerley from the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland explains what your entitlements are in instances of ferry delays or cancellations.

Delays and Cancellations
If a service is expected to be cancelled or delayed for more than 90 minutes beyond its scheduled departure time, the ferry operator must provide free snacks, meals and refreshments where available or can reasonably be supplied. You should also be offered a choice between an alternative sailing at the earliest opportunity or a full refund.

If you are delayed overnight the ferry company must provide accommodation free of charge where it is possible for up to a maximum of three nights. Accommodation does not have to be provided if the cause of the cancellation or delay is caused by severe weather conditions.
Provided a delay was not caused by weather conditions or other extraordinary circumstances you are entitled to compensation depending on the duration of the delay, the length of your scheduled journey and the type of ticket you are travelling on.

Passengers with a Disability or Reduced Mobility
Ferry companies and terminal operators must provide assistance to passengers with a disability or reduced mobility at all stages of the journey, from your arrival at the terminal until you leave your destination port. You may have reduced mobility due to a disability or other factors such as a recent operation, age related condition or temporary injury like a broken leg.
If you require assistance you should inform the ferry company or terminal operator at least 48 hours in advance. This is to ensure any equipment or staff can be ready for your arrival. If you do not provide the notice the companies are required to make all reasonable efforts to assist.

Complaints should be made to the ferry operator within two months from the date of the disruption. The company must respond within one month from receiving the complaint, explaining whether it has been accepted, rejected or is still being considered. You should receive a final reply no later than two months after receipt of the complaint.

Contact details
If you are unsatisfied with the response you can contact the relevant complaint-handling body who can investigate the complaint on your behalf:

Northern Ireland
Consumer Council for Northern Ireland
Telephone: 0800 121 6022, Text phone: 028 9067 2488

England and Wales ferry passengers (excluding services covered by Transport for London)
Telephone: 0203 117 0599

For services covered by Transport for London
London Travel Watch

Transport for Scotland (Scottish Government)

For England and Wales cruise passengers (excluding services covered by Transport for London)
CLIA UK and Ireland
Telephone: 020 7323 7466 and Fax: 0207 636 9206


Guest Blog This is a guest blog entry. All views are that of the author and not necessarily shared by the Club. Mention of any product or service on the blog does not constitute endorsement by the Club. All blog posts are moderated before going live. Read other posts by this author