Cruise

Scenic breaks silence on class action over Europe droughts

Ali Coulton

Ali Coulton

Scenic has spoken out following reports that a number of passengers were preparing a class action against the cruise line.

According to a report published by the ABC, least 14 Scenic cruises were interrupted by low water levels in 2018, with many passengers complaining the cruise line offered a poor substitute to the luxury cruises advertised.

One passenger told the ABC he and his wife spent half of their $17,000 cruise on busses.

The NSW supreme court determined passengers could have a case against Scenic Tours and ordered the company to provide documents to help determine how many Australian passengers were affected.

A Scenic spokesperson told Travel Weekly that no guests have come forward in relation to a class action for the weather conditions in 2018, but confirmed it has been asked to provide documentation for some cruises affected by low water in 2018.

Scenic also confirmed it is reviewing its right to appeal the decision.

This isn’t the first time Scenic has had a class action taken out against it, after flooding in 2013 disrupted cruises for more than 1,200 travellers who were also forced to travel via bus.

“Extreme weather conditions in Europe in 2013 impacted on river cruise operations across the Rhine Main and Danube rivers and was the basis for the class action against Scenic which is currently before the High Court,” the Scenic spokesperson told Travel Weekly.

“Since 2013, Scenic has improved communication to ensure guests are more aware of extreme weather issues that may impact on river conditions and therefore more able to make an informed choice on their holiday. This includes the establishment of our bespoke compensation through River Cruise Cover.

“River Cruise Cover provides automatic cover once guests have commenced a cruise against certain delays or cancellations that occur due to adverse weather conditions, natural disasters, mechanical breakdowns or strikes.”

According to Scenic’s website, River Cruise Cover is included on all of the company’s river cruises to provide compensation in the case of adverse weather conditions, natural disasters, mechanical breakdowns or strikes.

Depending on the tour, passengers are entitled to a maximum of $1,000 for each full 24 hours from the start of the delay or cancellation up to a maximum of $7,000.

It is not clear whether the bus replacements were considered a delay or cancellation.

Lawyer Cameron Graham told ABC News passengers booked and paid for a luxury cruise and were provided with something entirely different.

“They had gone to Europe expecting to receive what was advertised by Scenic Tours in their brochure and what they instead got was a poor substitute,” Graham said.

Graham is urging anyone affected by the disrupted cruises to get in touch, and there could be anywhere from 400 to 1,200 passengers with similar experiences to the Lawrences and the Kellys.

“A class action is quite an expensive exercise and because our clients are just regular consumers pursuing a large well-heeled company, they need to make sure there are enough people affected by this before they go ahead and commence a class action,” Graham said.

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