Celebrity Cruises has made several changes to its terms and conditions, including a new policy for guests that test positive for COVID-19. There are also changes to what terms apply to which guests based on their country of residence and where a cruise sails from and to.
The cruise line communicated the changes about the upgraded terms and conditions to guests through email.
Celebrity Cruises Updates Terms and Conditions
Celebrity has updated its legal terms for guests who have booked a cruise departing on or after April 12, 2023. The changes include updates to the Cruise Ticket Contract or Booking Conditions based on the guest’s Primary Country of Residence.
The new terms and conditions determining where and how legal disputes between the cruise line and its guests will be resolved have also been modified.
In the email sent to guests, the cruise line states, “We’ve made some important changes to our legal terms applicable to your cruise purchase and other activities, services, and products related to your cruise. Since you are currently booked on a voyage that departs on or after April 12, 2023, the new legal terms will apply to your cruise.”
Sister cruise line Royal Caribbean International has implemented similar changes, which Cruise Hive covered on April 12.
Changes to COVID Policy
One of the most significant changes involves the COVID-19 policy that parent company Royal Caribbean Group implemented post-pandemic.
Celebrity may deny boarding if a guest tests positive for COVID-19, has symptoms, or has been in close contact with someone positive within five days before their cruise. This has been brought down from 14 days on the previous policy.
If the cruise line denies a guest boarding for these reasons and they’ve complied with the cruise line’s policies and procedures and contract, they’ll still be entitled to either a refund or a future cruise credit. This would be equal to the amount they’ve paid for the cruise.
Those who see this as an easy way to cancel their cruise and still receive a refund. They’re out of luck as Celebrity will require guests to provide verification of a positive test result, especially if they were tested by a provider other than those retained by the cruise line.
Also, any changes to a cruise itinerary due to COVID-19, such as an outbreak, will only warrant a refund if the cruise has been delayed by three or more days or if the cruise has been canceled altogether.
Country of Residence While Booking
Another change Celebrity Cruises implemented is that the Cruise Ticket Contracts and Booking Conditions are now governed by the guest’s country of residence when the booking was made.
This is important as they are related to any claims for personal injuries, illness, loss of life, loss of baggage, personal property loss or damage, and more.
The letter says, “The Cruise Ticket Contract or Booking Conditions applicable to your cruise purchase are now determined by your Primary Country of Residence.”
Celebrity Cruises welcomes guests from nearly all countries. With the change, the contracts are now different for guests from countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and countries in Europe.
For example, European passengers’ contracts now include key rights under the EU travel regulations. Notably, U.S. residents sailing on cruises outside of the United States will be subject to courts in England and Wales, while guests sailing on cruises from the United States stay under U.S. jurisdiction.
The terms and conditions now state: “All disputes, claims or other matter of any description arising out of, in connection with or in any way related or incident to this agreement, the cruise, cruisetour, land tour or transport (including a claim for personal injury, illness or death of a passenger) shall be litigated, if at all, in and before the courts of England and Wales, to the exclusion of all other courts or tribunals.”
Why Celebrity has implemented this remains to be seen, it could be to ensure legal consistency or to benefit from expertise in maritime and international law in the UK. Also, handling legal matters in the UK will likely be more cost-effective than handling them in the US.
Please note: Guests should seek legal advice regarding any terms and conditions.