Travelling by ship or ferry in the EU: What are your rights?

If you travel by ship or ferry to another country in the European Union or if you return to an EU country by ship or ferry with a European transporter, Europe gives you rights in the event of a cancellation or a delay (regulation 1177/2020).

You have rights if you are traveling…

  • On a mechanically propelled ship
  • With a minimum capacity of 12 passengers
  • Requiring more than 3 crew members
  • Traveling more than 500 m

Non-mechanical ships (sail boats, for example) or ships with a historical range are not included.

Sight-seeing tours outside of cruises are also not included under the regulation.

Reserving a trip by ship or ferry: Helpful tips

  • If you are traveling on the ship with your car, check the size limits including roof boxes
  • Arrive in advance for check-in and customs formalities
  • If you are traveling outside of German borders, bring your passport or a valid identity card
  • Minors are also required to travel with a valid identity document and an authorisation to leave the country if they are traveling without their parents. Inform yourself before the departure.

Delay: How much compensation?

In the event of cancellation or a delay of 90 minutes after the expected departure, you have the choice between:

  • A rerouting towards your final destination without additional costs, within comparable conditions, in the shortest time possible
  • Or a reimbursement of your ticket (and if necessary, a free return to your place of departure).

In the event of a delayed arrival, you have the right to compensation according to the chart below.

Compensation in the event of delay is not due if…

  • The cancellation or delay was known before the purchase of the ticket
  • The cancellation or delay is the fault of the passenger
  • The carrier proves that the cancellation or delay is due to weather conditions compromising the trip’s safety or extraordinary circumstances (such as a staff strike, closing of a port, etc.)

Delay or cancellation: Ask for free assistance!

In the event of a cancelled trip or a delay of more than 90 minutes, you have the right to:

  • Meals and beverages in in proportionate amounts, given the waiting time,
  • Lodging on board or on land if necessary (with a limit of 3 nights and 80€ per night) and to transportation to get you there.

Lodging accommodations are not due if the cancellation or delay is due to weather conditions compromising the trip’s safety or to extraordinary circumstances.

Assistance is not due if:

  • The cancellation or delay is known before the purchase of the ticket
  • The cancellation or delay is the fault of the passenger. 

 Other rights:

  • Compensation in the event of an accident at sea according to the regulation 392/2009.
  • Access, information, and care for reduced mobility passengers
  • To be informed before and during the trip on its proceedings as well as the rights of the passengers.

How to get reimbursement or compensation?

Send your written claim to your carrier within 2 months following the departure date of your trip. Summarize the incident and demand reimbursement and/or compensation. Attach copies of all documents justifying your claim.

The carrier has 1 month to express receipt of your claim and 2 months after the date of receipt to respond to you.

Who to contact in case of an issue?

ECC-Net: Travel App

The mobile travel companion for Europe. In 25 languages, the application offers assistance in situations such as lost baggage, delayed flights, unavailable hotel room, return of damaged goods or car rental problems.

This free app is available