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Travelling by ferry in the EU?

If you are travelling by ferry or boat as a passenger, you have several important rights, including the right to information, assistance and compensation if your journey is delayed or cancelled. Read on to find out how these rights can help you if something goes wrong.

Good to know

If a ferry is delayed or cancelled, you should be notified of the situation as soon as possible and the expected times of departure and arrival. This notification should be made no more than 30 minutes after the scheduled time of departure.

You have a right to a refund if the service is cancelled or you are delayed by more than 90 minutes. You can use our template letter to make a claim for a cancelled boat trip.

If your boat journey was cancelled or delayed by more than 90 minutes, you have a right to the following assistance:

  • Free snacks, meals and refreshments
  • Accommodation, if needed

This does not apply if the ferry company can prove the delay is beyond their control, for example, it is delayed because of poor weather conditions.

You have a right to financial compensation if you are late by a specified period of time arriving at your final destination. The compensation is at least 25% of the cost of your ticket. This rule applies if you have experienced a:

  • One-hour delay for a planned travel time of four hours.
  • Two-hour delay for a planned travel time of four to eight hours.
  • Three-hour delay for a planned travel time of eight to 24 hours.
  • Six-hour delay for a planned travel time of more than 24 hours.

If your delay is twice as much as the minimum delay periods listed above, you have a right to compensation of 50% of the cost of your ticket.

You must make your complaint within two months after the service was provided or should have been provided.

The ferry company must send a receipt confirmation within one month of receiving your complaint. In this response, they must inform you whether your complaint has been confirmed, rejected or if it is still being processed. Within two months of the ferry company receiving your complaint, they must give you their final answer.

If you do not receive an answer, or if you are not satisfied with the answer you received, you can file a complaint with the national enforcement authority of the country where the incident took place.