Passenger rights


Europe wants to improve the quality of passenger transport by sea and European inland waterways. To promote quality, Europe protects ship passengers with a number of rights.

Passenger rights

Regulation (EU) No 1177/2010 also provides for a number of rights for passengers travelling by sea or inland waterway:

  • Right to access to transport without discrimination
  • Right to information on their trip, travel disruptions and their rights as a passenger
  • Right to compensation for inconvenience from a delay or cancellation of a voyage (see further)
  • Right to prompt handling of their complaint
  • Right to proper enforcement of their rights

Regulation (EC) No 392/2009 covers the liability of carriers of passengers by sea in the event of accidents. These passenger rights include:

  • Financial compensation, possibly with an advance payment
  • Recourse against the insurer of the carrier
  • Correct information on rights in the event of an accident

More information can be found on the “Your Europe” website of the European Commission.

Passengers with reduced mobility

Persons with reduced mobility must have the same opportunities to travel as all other persons. They have the following additional passenger rights:

  • Right to access transport without discrimination on the grounds of disability or reduced mobility
  • Right to special assistance, free of charge, in ports and aboard ships
  • Right to compensation in the event of loss or damage to mobility equipment

More information can be found on the “Your Europe” website of the European Commission.

Compensation for damages (delay or cancellation of a voyage)

If the service is cancelled or delayed, you must be kept adequately informed of the incident in a timely manner while waiting.

If the voyage is cancelled or if departure is delayed for more than 90 minutes, you must be offered two options:

  • either to receive a refund for your ticket and if necessary a free trip back to your point of departure, such as if the delay makes the purpose of your trip no longer feasible;
  • or to receive transport to your destination, at no additional charge, under equivalent conditions, as soon as possible.

If departure is delayed by more than 90 minutes, in most cases you also have the right to:

  • a meal and refreshments (in proportion to the waiting time);
  • accommodation if you have to spend the night there.

If arrival is delayed by more than 1 hour, you are entitled to compensation. Depending on the delay, this compensation may be 25% or 50% of the ticket price. You are not entitled to any compensation if the delay is attributable to a natural disaster or exceptional weather conditions.


Info and complaints

If you believe your rights as a ship passenger have not been respected, you may submit a complaint. You must first submit it to the carrier or terminal operator. If you are not satisfied with their response, you may refer the matter to the national enforcement body at the Federal Public Service for Mobility and Transport at the email address below. This body oversees compliance with the European regulations on ship passenger rights.



Tel. +32 22773393

Mobile application

You can use a free smartphone app to download all of the information on passenger rights.

Download the app ‘Passenger rights’ (Google AndroidiPhoneiPadWindows Phone).


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