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  • How to File Cruise Complaints with the Federal Maritime Commission

    How to File Cruise Complaints with the Federal Maritime Commission

A cruise can be a fun-filled vacation with family or friends, but too many hazards can lead to accidents and injuries. Cruise passengers who suffer injuries often face legal challenges when pursuing formal complaints against behemoth cruise lines, usually about filing and identifying the relevant department.

Ehline Law and our cruise ship accident attorneys have more than 15 years of experience handling cruise ship injury claims and working with injured passengers to get them the justice and compensation they deserve. We understand how confusing navigating cruise complaints can be and have put together a guide on how to file cruise complaints with the federal maritime commission.

Who Should You Reach Out for Cruise Complaints?

In 2020 when the Federal Maritime Commission enforced the “No Sail Order” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cruise lines had to create exceptions to their ticket contract to allow for refunds to cruise passengers. However, this was a rare exception at the time.

Whether you’ve got a beef with the cruise company for changing the itinerary or are facing serious customer service issues, you should consider reaching out to the Federal Maritime Commission’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Dispute Resolution Services (CADRS).

Trying to get compensation from cruise lines is like getting your money out of a Ponzi scheme that’s about to go bust. Although CADRS cannot offer you the compensation you’re looking for, they can point you in the right direction and assist with resolving your formal complaint by acting as a mediator between yourself and the cruise line through their alternative dispute resolution program.

If the cruise line is avoiding your e-mails, phone calls, or letters, CADRS can take up your complaint with the cruise line, requiring them to reach out to you as soon as possible.

What Services Do the Federal Maritime Commission’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Dispute Resolution Services Provide?

For any complaints that fall within the jurisdiction of the Federal Maritime Commission, CADRS will play a role in resolving them as a mediator or an ombudsman. If your complaints don’t fall under their jurisdiction, CADRS will guide you to the relevant agency to reach out for help.

Some of the services provided by CADRS do not include issues pertaining to safety, documentation, gambling, and problems relating to travel agents.

It is important to note that CADRS helps resolve complaints pertaining to cruises departing from any port in the United States. Still, it does not have jurisdiction over complaints involving foreign cruises. 

CADRS also does not provide assistance for cruise passengers who allege violations of the Shipping Act.

How to Reach out to CADRS?

The best way to connect with CADRS if you have complaints regarding your last cruise trip is to:

Whichever mode of communication you choose, you must explain the nature of your complaint, what type of compensation you’re looking for, information about the parties involved, and details about the cruise. It will help if you send in some documents or evidence, such as the cruise booking, ticket contract, and screenshots of any correspondence between the cruise line and yourself, that would help support your complaint.

If you’re unsure what type of documentation you must send with your complaint or want further information, contact CADRS at 866-448-9586. For more details about the application, check the Commission’s Rules of Practice and Procedure.

How Long Does the Complaint Resolution Process Take?

There is no specific timeframe for the complaint resolution process as it depends on the complexity of the complaint and the time it takes for the cruise line to respond (which varies from one cruise line to another). However, you can expect CADRS staff to respond to your e-mail or fax within 24 to 48 hours of filing the complaint with them.

It is important to note that CADRS cannot force cruise lines to offer you the compensation you may be looking for except ensure that the cruise line responds to you while acting as a mediator.

There are federal agencies such as the US Coast Guard that ensure cruise ships comply with relevant laws. However, even with such agencies, cruise lines continue to violate laws, putting the safety of cruise passengers at risk.

You should contact an experienced personal injury attorney if you’ve suffered injuries while on a cruise. A reputable attorney at Ehline Law has the skills and expertise required to pursue a personal injury claim against the cruise line and get you the compensation you deserve.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Ehline Law

If you’ve suffered injuries on a cruise trip, contact us at (833) LETS-SUE for a free consultation, as you may be able to seek compensation.

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Michael Ehline

Michael Ehline is an inactive U.S. Marine and world-famous legal historian. Michael helped draft the Cruise Ship Safety Act and has won some of U.S. history’s largest motorcycle accident settlements. Together with his legal team, Michael and the Ehline Law Firm collect damages on behalf of clients. We pride ourselves on being available to answer your most pressing and difficult questions 24/7. We are proud sponsors of the Paul Ehline Memorial Motorcycle Ride and a Service Disabled Veteran Operated Business. (SDVOB.) We are ready to fight.