Luxury river cruise line Scenic has released a new guarantee over sailings in Europe.
The move came in its newsletter at the end of a week in which passengers took the line to court claiming they lost out over weather-hit sailings in Europe.
No-one at Scenic could say whether the announcement was connected.
Over a thousand passengers have filed the lawsuit against Scenic and Evergreen Tours after they booked cruise between May 10, 2013 and June 14, 2013.
Heavy rainfall in France and Germany caused major flooding and water levels on the Rhine Saone, Rhone and Danube rivers rose so much that the boats were unable to operate for around six weeks.
In a newsletter sent out today by the company, Scenic’s river cruise guarantee says, “Staying true to our commitment of being all-inclusive, Scenic has partnered with a well-known global insurance company to offer, for the first time, river cruising travel insurance.
“On every Scenic river cruise you’ll be automatically covered once you commence your cruise for any delays or cancellations that occur due to weather, natural disasters, mechanical breakdowns or strikes. There’s nothing extra to pay, we automatically cover you in the price you pay for your cruise.
We appreciate that you’ve invested a lot in your holiday with us and we want to ensure that we provide you with peace of mind when travelling with Scenic.
Our river cruising guarantee is designed to give you comfort and assurance for certain events which prevent you from cruising, and are not considered typical or usual to river cruising. Our river cruising guarantee is designed to insure for unforeseen events rather than minor delays or deviations.
In the event that a claim is required, instead of the industry standard of future cruise credits you will be refunded in cash
At the court case, the plaintiffs barrister Alistair Abadee told Justice Peter Garling this week that instead of visiting cities and sites via the river and spending the night onboard Scenic’s five-star boats, the passengers were on very long bus rides and in some cases, stayed over night at “low-budget hotels”.
Solicitor Tim Somerville was a passenger onboard a cruise in southern France. He said the company used the vessels as ‘floating hotels’ where passengers were bused on coaches designated landmarks.
In a statement of claim, the group said Scenic Tours breached the Australian Consumer Law by failing to cancel or delay the cruises, offer alternative tours or warn of expected disruptions.
Scenic is defending the case by stating in its terms and conditions of contract that the company is allowed to make changes to itineraries include due to road, river and weather conditions.
All witnesses have given evidence and have been cross-examined. The case was adjourned and will resume on May 11.
When Cruise Passenger asked Scenic for a comment, a spokesperson said that they would need to speak to the appropriate person and couldn’t comment on the court case.
To see the full list of Scenic’s river cruise guarantee, click here.
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