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How to claim for ferry cancellations or delays

Find out what compensation you’re entitled to, and how you can claim, if your ferry journey is delayed or cancelled.

Amanda Bathory-Griffiths
Amanda Bathory-Griffiths
Updated 14 October 2019  | 4 min read

Know your rights when faced with a ferry delay or cancellation

EU regulations mean you’re entitled to compensation if your ferry is either delayed or cancelled.

Key points

  • You’re entitled to compensation if your ferry is delayed or cancelled
  • How much compensation you can get depends on how long you were delayed for, and how long your ferry journey was
  • You’ll either be entitled to 25% or 50% of your ticket price as compensation, depending on the delay
  • You have two months from the delayed ferry departure to claim

Ferry delay compensation

If your journey’s delayed, you’re entitled to compensation worth 25% of the ticket price for the part of the journey that was affected. For example, if it’s a return trip, and only one part was delayed, that’s the part you can claim for.

What’s considered a delay depends on how long your journey is:

  • An hours’ delay for a journey scheduled to last four hours
  • Two hours’ delay for journeys scheduled to last between four and eight hours
  • Three hours’ delay for journeys scheduled to last between eight and 24 hours
  • Six hours’ delay for journeys scheduled to last over 24 hours

If the delay doubles, you’re entitled to 50% of your ticket price as compensation.

Ferry cancellation compensation

Alternative ferry

If your ferry is cancelled, or delayed by more than 90 minutes, you should be offered an alternative departure. If they can’t put you on another ferry, you should be refunded the full price of your ticket within seven days.

Refreshments while you wait

If the company knows your ferry is going to be cancelled or disrupted, you should be given free snacks, meals and refreshments.

Overnight accommodation

When a departure is cancelled and you need to stay overnight to wait for the next ferry, your ferry operator should give you somewhere to stay for free.

There’ll usually be a limit on the cost of your accommodation - about €80 per person per night, and they normally won’t pay for more than three nights.

Your ferry operator might let you make your own travel plans and reimburse your expenses instead.

How to make a claim

You need to claim from the ferry company.

You’ve got two months to make a claim from the date of delay or cancellation. The ferry operator has to compensate you within a month of you making a claim.

If you’re not happy with the way your ferry operator is handling your claim, you can involve ABTA (The Association of British Travel Agents). They’re there to handle complaints or unresolved compensation claims.

Exclusions

You won’t be entitled to compensation if:

  • Adverse weather conditions meant it wouldn’t have been safe for the ferry to depart
  • The circumstances were completely unavoidable and out of the ordinary, like strike action

Extra peace of mind from your travel insurance

Asides from compensation from the ferry company, taking out the right travel insurance can help too:

  1. Travel disruption cover

    Travel disruption cover can help you claim compensation for things like delays, missed departures, enforced stay and unused travel or accommodation

  2. Holiday curtailment cover

    If you need to return home unexpectedly from a trip, holiday curtailment cover can help cover the cost of the bit of your holiday you missed out on, and any travel costs from having to come home early

  3. Holiday cancellation cover

    Protects you if you can't make your trip and have to cancel

Save on your travel insurance

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