LAWLINK – What are my rights if a family holiday is cancelled due to bad weather?

cruise ship
Stock photo: Peter Hansen/Unsplash.

Q: We have spent the last few months planning a family trip over the holiday period. We are bringing our family, and various in-laws, away on a cruise. We have our own flights booked to catch the boat and are looking forward to the two weeks at sea. One of our family members has been checking the weather and it looks like there will be a weather warning for the locality. He is being very vocal about the trip being cancelled, so could you set out what our rights might be if there is a problem? I do not want to start a family feud!

Dear Reader,

Foregoing big fights at this time of year would be vitally important, agreed!

The first thing to consider is whether the cruise would be covered by EU regulations. If your cruise leaves from an EU port, or sails to an EU port, and the company is based in the EU, there are various rights that cover you.

If the departure is delayed by more than 90 minutes, you must be told and are entitled to a refund or rerouting to your destination. This is probably not of much comfort. You may also be entitled to food and refreshments, and potentially a stay in a hotel if delayed overnight – although the sum would be limited, and not available if the delay was caused by weather.

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If the trip is cancelled, you are entitled to a refund of the ticket cost and the company must refund you the cost of the return to your initial departure point (that is, it must refund you for the cost of the flight back to Ireland). Again, you may also be entitled to meals and refreshments, and potentially overnight accommodation.

You may also be entitled to compensation if your arrival was delayed over a certain period of time. This may be as much as 50 per cent of the cost of the ticket. You have no entitlement to claim for compensation if the delay was caused by weather or other natural event.

It is important to note that if you are not travelling to or from an EU country, your rights will be set by the country of your departure.

The above sets out your minimum rights only, and your cruise operator might well go above and beyond the minimum.

As you booked the flights directly, EU package holiday rules do not cover you.

I do sincerely hope that your holiday passes off well, and that you are able to get to sea without too much more naysaying!