Ferry Travel

The rights of ferry passengers are legally protected by Regulation (EU) No 1177/2010 in instances of delayed and cancelled services, and if you are travelling with a disability or reduced mobility.

Delayed and cancelled services

  • In the case of a cancellation or delay of more than 90 minutes’ passengers are entitled to free snacks, meals or refreshments.
  • If the ferry operator expects the service to be cancelled or delayed in departure more than 90 minutes, passengers are entitled to a choice between a full refund, which must be paid within seven days, or an alternative service at the earliest opportunity.
  • If a cancellation or delay results in passengers having to wait overnight, the ferry company must, where it is physically possible, offer passenger’s accommodation aboard the ship, or ashore, free of charge. The cost of accommodation may be limited by the ferry operator to €80 per passenger per night, for a maximum of three nights. Accommodation will not be provided if the service is disrupted by weather conditions endangering the safe operation of the ship.
  • You may be entitled to compensation equal to 25% of the ticket price if you are delayed for at least:
    • 1 hour for a journey scheduled to last up to four hours;
    • 2 hours for a journey scheduled to last between four and eight hours;
    • 3 hours for a journey scheduled to last between eight and 24 hours; or
    • 6 hours for a journey scheduled to last more than 24 hours.
  • If the delay exceeds double the times set out above, the compensation will be 50% of the ticket price. If you are travelling on a return ticket the compensation will be calculated based on the price of the disrupted leg.
  • Compensation will not be provided if the service is disrupted by weather conditions endangering the safe operation of the ship, or by extraordinary circumstances beyond the control of the ferry company.

For more information, please see The Consumer Council’s Plain Sailing leaflet or telephone for your free copy at 0800 121 6022.

Ferry travel for passengers with disabilities or reduced mobility

  • Passengers with a disability or reduced mobility are entitled to assistance at all stages of the journey. All types of disabilities are covered including hidden disabilities such as learning disabilities, autism and hearing loss. A passenger may have reduced mobility because of their age, an illness or a temporary injury, for example a broken arm or leg.
  • Carriage can only be refused where the design of the ship or port terminal makes it impossible to board the passenger or if carriage of the passenger contravenes safety requirements.
  • Passengers that require assistance because of a disability or reduced mobility should, if possible, inform their ferry company of the assistance they need at least 48 hours before their sailing.
  • Assistance should be provided, if requested, at all stages of the journey, from booking the ticket, arriving at the terminal, boarding the ship right through to disembarking the ship and leaving the arrival terminal.

For more information, please see The Consumer Council’s Access to Ferry Travel guide or telephone for your free copy at 0800 121 6022.

How to complain

  • If you are not satisfied with the service you receive, contact a member of the ferry company or terminal operator staff. They may be able to resolve the problem at the time of travel.
  • If the ferry company/terminal operator cannot resolve the problem at the time of travel put your complaint to them in a letter or an email detailing what went wrong. You must submit the complaint to the ferry company or terminal operator within two months of the date you travelled.
  • If you have made a complaint and you are not satisfied with the outcome, contact the Consumer Council on 0800 121 6022 or [email protected]. The Consumer Council has the power to investigate the complaint on your behalf.