CRUISEVOY is a standard cruise voyage charter party. The latest edition of this contract is CRUISEVOY, issued in 1998.
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In accordance with standard BIMCO practice the Charter Party is laid out in two parts. Part I is a box-layout and contains all the variable information, whilst Part II contains the standard terms and conditions. Part I together with 5 Annexes forms the actual Contract of Carriage and in the event of any conflict in conditions between the two parts the conditions of Part I and the Annexes will prevail.
The main idea behind this division is that it is made convenient for the users to do all the filling in, amendments and special provisions in Part I leaving the printed text of Part II unaltered. In this context it should be emphasised that a standard contract constitutes an integrated whole and that any changes to one or more of the clauses may upset the intended balance of the contract. This fact should never be lost sight of when attempting to introduce changes or amendments to the standard clauses in Part II which have been carefully drafted to take care of the contractual and legal aspects.
The following five Annexes are added to the Charter Party and, in order to leave the parties free to attach the information contained in these Annexes in their own format, it was decided not to prescribe the layout.
Annex 1 - sets out the Itinerary of the Cruise
Annex 2 - will be a layout of the Vessel showing public rooms and cabins with number of berths.
Annex 3 - deals with agreed catering arrangements
Annex 4 - will be a payment schedule and guarantee arrangements.
Annex 5 - a specimen of the Owners’ Passage Ticket is to be attached.
Although some of the boxes in Part I may call for special comments in these Notes, it has been considered more practical to make such comments when dealing with the relevant clauses in Part II.
With the increasing appeal of cruising, it is inevitable that people with handicaps or a medical condition will want to take part. Most cruise operators will try to accommodate such passengers but obviously this requires that they be informed beforehand of such cases. Based on the extent of the disability they can then either confirm or reject such bookings. Babies under 12 months old and women who are more than 7 months pregnant are usually not accepted.
The Charterers are responsible for all arrangements prior to boarding, including the timely arrival of passengers and their luggage at the port of embarkation. Although the time required for embarkation will of course vary according to local circumstances and the number of passengers it was felt that 6 hours represented a fair average and the clause states that the itinerary is based on this. In the event that passengers arrive late, it may be necessary to adjust the itinerary but in such case the Owners will be indemnified for any additional costs of such a change.
The clause also obliges Charterers to inform passengers that at embarkation they and their luggage may be subjected to security inspections which could involve a physical search.
This section also obligates Charterers to arrange for an agreed amount to cover gratuities for service employees such as stewards and restaurant staff. In many cases the passengers will be expected to pay gratuities directly, in which event this agreed amount would be nil. Finally there are terms for passenger related charges such as port taxes, government fees, etc. These so-called “other charges” are excluded from the calculation of broker commissions.
Clause 8 also requires Charterers to be covered for Charterers’ liability risks with underwriters approved by the Owners. This balances the provisions of Clause 17 in respect of Owners P&I cover.
This clause further provides that the Owners will supply tickets to the Charterers for the passengers booked but Owners are not obliged to do so until all hire and other payments due to Owners have been paid. It is the Charterers’ responsibility to deliver the tickets to the passengers. With a view to International Regulations such as the European Council Directive on Package Travel it is important that passengers be acquainted with the terms of the Passage Ticket latest at the time of booking their Cruise.
Charterers are free to determine the fares they will charge but provision is made to limit the geographical areas where they are entitled to market and sell tickets.
Dangerous goods, firearms and live animals, are not allowed except with the express prior permission of the Owners.
If something goes wrong the Owners will be liable to pay back only moneys which they have not yet passed on.
Not included in the hire, but which the Owners agree to provide against extra payment by the passengers are facilities such as on-board bars, beverages, hairdressing salons, shops, duty-free outlets, photographer and laundry service and perhaps a certain degree of medical attention.
In order to pay for such services as well as shore excursions, provision is made for passengers to open individual shipboard accounts, settlement of which must take place by the end of the cruise.
Finally the clause provides for a warranty by the Owners that they will be covered for P&I insurance with a member of the International Group of P&I Clubs.
Recognising that passenger cruises of one or two weeks’ duration are frequently booked many months in advance, in order to preserve Owners’ ability to sell the ship, Owners are given the right to cancel at any time by giving a certain period of notice. In such case all amounts previously paid will of course have to be refunded but, in addition, an agreed cancellation fee will have to be paid unless cancellation was due to circumstances beyond the Owners’ control. This amount is intended to pacify any Charterers who understandably will be uncomfortable about the possibility of an Owner cancelling the Charter. In practice of course it is very unlikely that an Owner would invoke this provision.
Charterers too can cancel the cruise before its commencement and unless this cancellation is due to circumstances beyond the Charterers’ control, the Owners may retain all sums they have received and are entitled to be paid whatever is then due.
If, after its commencement, the Cruise is prematurely terminated for any reason other than Charterers’ gross negligence, reckless conduct or wilful breach (in which case they will forfeit the hire for the entire Cruise), Charterers are entitled to a refund of at least the amounts of prepaid hire for that part of the cruise not executed. If premature termination is due to Owners gross negligence, reckless conduct or wilful breach, Charterers are entitled to additional liquidated damages in the full amount of prepaid hire and charges.
Finally the clause provides that in case of premature termination the Owners will land the passengers and use their best endeavours to forward the passengers and their luggage to the port of embarkation or disembarkation. This will be at the passengers’ own risk but at the Owners’ expense. However if termination is due to an event for which Charterers are responsible they will indemnify the Owners for such expense.
Copyright in CRUISEVOY is held by BIMCO.
(Printed in BIMCO Bulletin No. 2, 1998)
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