A couple has learnt the hard way about a cruise ship loop hole after they were left stranded in a foreign country with barely any money to make it home.
American man Kevin Rohrer and his girlfriend were enjoying a luxurious holiday on board the Norwegian Sky when it suddenly came to a halt in Cuba’s capital Havana.
The pair had spent the day lapping up the sunshine in the gorgeous city and returned to the dock to board the ship to continue their journey.
However, when they arrived at around 3.30pm, the time they believed they had to be there, the ship was nowhere to be seen, news.com.au reports.
It turned out the cruise had changed its itinerary and left at 2pm instead of 5pm. The couple were outraged and confused by the situation, claiming they hadn’t been notified of the change.
To their surprise Norwegian Sky had included the updated itinerary in the ship's daily newsletter saying passengers needed to be all aboard by 1.30pm. According to news.com.au, the company had also made multiple announcements throughout the day and plastered signage around the area passengers disembark stating the changes.
Upon further investigation, it was revealed the cruise ship had every right to change the itinerary as it’s included in the terms and conditions.
“In all ports of call, it is also the guest’s responsibility to be back on-board the ship no later than one hour prior to the ship’s scheduled departure time,” the Norwegian Cruise Line terms and conditions read.
“Please be aware that shipboard time may differ from the port of call and it is the guest’s responsibility to follow the shipboard time. In the event a guest misses the ship; it will be the guest’s responsibility to pay all expenses incurred to re-join the ship.”
As they were informed of the time change, even though they didn’t realise, the couple were unable to receive any of their money back and had to fork out extra cash to make it home.
Norwegian Cruise Line isn’t the only cruise company to include this clause in its terms and conditions. Royal Caribbean states in its documents that it has every right to change the itinerary and guests are responsible for failing to meet at the scheduled departure time.
“We and the master of the ship have the right to omit any port(s), call at any additional port(s), deviate from the advertised itinerary in any way or substitute another ship or port,” the terms and conditions read.
“We will not be responsible for any failure to meet the arrival or departure times shown in our brochures/on our website for any port(s) of call.
“Whilst we always endeavour to avoid changes and cancellations, we reserve the right to do so. If we have to make a significant change or cancel, we will tell you as soon as possible.”
It goes to show that no matter how small the fine print, it always pays to read it!