My ferry has been delayed, what are my rights?

The following rights apply if you are travelling on a ferry departing from the UK, and on ferries which operate, to, from or within EU countries.

If your ferry operator expects your departure to be delayed, the operator should inform you as soon as possible. If this is on the day of travel, you should be informed no later than 30 minutes after your scheduled time of departure.

Meals and refreshments
If your ferry is expected to be delayed for more than 90 minutes beyond its scheduled departure time, you should be provided with free snacks, meals and refreshments in relation to the waiting time.

Refreshments should be provided even if the reason for the delay is bad weather. However, they need only be provided if they are available or can reasonably be supplied. This will be affected by a number of factors such as the facilities in the port terminal or on board the ferry, the time of day and the proximity of the terminal to local amenities.

ABTA tip
The Department for Transport suggests that reasonable refreshments for a delay of over four hours would be water or tea initially, with a snack or light meal.

If the delay goes over eight hours, a hot meal should be provided.

Re-routing or reimbursement
If you are at the ferry or port terminal and your ferry is delayed for more than 90 minutes, you should be offered the choice between: 

  • An alternative sailing at the earliest opportunity and at no additional cost
  • Reimbursement of the ticket price within seven days
  • Accommodation.

Where a sailing is delayed and an overnight stay becomes necessary, your ferry operator should offer you accommodation free of charge, if possible.

This can be on board the ferry, or ashore. The ferry operator is also free to look at other options, such asking you to go home, or to make your own arrangements and offering to reimburse your expenses. The ferry operator may limit accommodation costs to €80 (approximately £66) per night per passenger for a maximum of three nights.

However, no overnight accommodation has to be offered, or costs reimbursed, where the delay is caused by weather conditions endangering the safe operation of the ferry.

You are entitled to compensation of 25% of your ticket price, for that part of the affected journey, if your service is delayed in arrival by at least:

  • One hour for a journey of duration four hours
  • Two hours for a journey of duration between four and eight hours
  • Three hours for a journey of duration between eight and 24 hours
  • Six hours for a journey of duration of over 24 hours.

If the delay exceeds double the time set out, the compensation shall be 50% of the ticket price. The ferry operator must pay compensation within one month of the submission of a substantiated claim for compensation.

Important to note
This compensation isn’t payable where the delay was caused by weather conditions endangering the safe operation of the ferry or by extraordinary and unavoidable circumstances that hindered the sailing.

  • Cruise and ferry