Consumers' Association: Holland Norway Lines violates passenger rights
The Environment and Transport Inspectorate must intervene with Holland Norway Lines, which has run into financial difficulties, says the Consumers' Association. The ferry service to Norway did not offer stranded passengers an alternative when all trips on the cruise ferry MS Romantika were canceled. The travelers had a right to this, the consumer organization said.
"If a ferry service is canceled or severely delayed, stranded passengers are entitled to snacks, meals, refreshments and, if necessary, an overnight hotel stay," the consumer association writes. "And in the event of a cancellation, passengers are allowed to choose between a refund of their money or alternative transportation without having to pay extra."
Holland Norway Lines applied for a postponement of payment earlier this week and immediately suspended all crossings between Emden, just over the German border near Groningen, and Kristiansand in Norway. As a result, the Consumers' Association is upset that Holland Norway Lines says nothing about passengers' rights on its own website.
A request for deferred payment is often a precursor to bankruptcy. It is very questionable whether the defrauded Holland Norway Lines customers will get their ticket money back. Although the carrier appeared to be a member of Stichting Garantiefonds Reisgelden (SGR), which compensates customers' losses in the event of bankruptcy, Holland Norway Lines sold individual tickets through a separate subsidiary that was not a member of SGR, meaning the guarantee fund does not cover those tickets either. "This is unnecessarily confusing," the association argues.
Holland Norway Lines claims to have run into financial difficulties after the company had to leave Eemshaven in the province of Groningen. This resulted in more cancellations than bookings. Even though MS Romantika has been sailing since June, the company said it needs more time to recoup losses from early 2023, WNL reported.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times