Jeff Gammons/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the world's largest cruise industry trade association, announced earlier this week the adoption of a "Cruise Passenger Bill of Rights."
CLIA also will submit the bill to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), requesting formal global recognition and applicability under the IMO's authority over the international maritime industry.
The passenger bill of rights will be effective immediately for U.S. passengers who purchase their cruises in North America on CLIA's North American member cruise lines, regardless of itinerary, CLIA said.
Cruise lines already employ many of these "rights" when problems occur on their ships. For example, it is customary for cruise lines to issue full and partial refunds for cancelled or interrupted voyages.
"The Cruise Industry Passenger Bill of Rights codifies many longstanding practices of CLIA members and goes beyond those to further inform cruise guests of the industry's commitment to their comfort and care," said Christine Duffy, president and CEO of CLIA.
But are there elements in this bill of rights that would have changed things for the passengers on the Carnival Triumph, the ship that stranded more than 3,000 passengers at sea for five days under reportedly deplorable conditions? There's no way the passengers could have disembarked the ship: It was not docked when it lost power, as outlined as a requirement in the first part of the bill.
And as for refunds, Carnival cruise line did more than what was outlined in the new bill of rights: It refunded passengers for the cruise and travel expenses, plus offered another free future cruise.
In March, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) called on the industry to voluntarily adopt a bill of rights. "Cruise ships, in large part operating outside the bounds of United States enforcement, have become the Wild West of the travel industry, and it's time to rein them in before anyone else gets hurt," said Schumer at the time.
The bill of rights includes the following:
The right to disembark a docked ship if essential provisions such as food, water, restroom facilities and access to medical care cannot adequately be provided onboard, subject only to the Master's concern for passenger safety and security and customs and immigration requirements of the port. The right to a full refund for a trip that is canceled due to mechanical failures, or a partial refund for voyages that are terminated early due to those failures.
The right to have available on board ships operating beyond rivers or coastal waters full-time, professional emergency medical attention, as needed until shore-side medical care becomes available.
The right to timely information updates as to any adjustments in the itinerary of the ship in the event of a mechanical failure or emergency, as well as timely updates of the status of efforts to address mechanical failures.
The right to a ship crew that is properly trained in emergency and evacuation procedures.
The right to an emergency power source in the case of a main generator failure.
The right to transportation to the ship's scheduled port of disembarkation or the passenger's home city in the event a cruise is terminated early due to mechanical failures.
The right to lodging if disembarkation and an overnight stay in an unscheduled port are required when a cruise is terminated early due to mechanical failures.
The right to have included on each cruise line's website a toll-free phone line that can be used for questions or information concerning any aspect of shipboard operations.
The right to have this Cruise Line Passenger Bill of Rights published on each line's website.
Stephen Brashear/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- An increase in durable goods orders suggests economic growth may be holding steady this spring. U.S. orders for long-lasting manufactured goods were up in April, led by demand for non-defense aircraft and parts, which increased by $1.9 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Following a 5.9 percent decrease in March, new orders were up two of the last three months. In April, orders increased 3.3 percent to $222.6 billion, a $7.2 billion jump.
Excluding transportation, new orders increased 1.3 percent. Overall shipments decreased 0.6 percent and capital goods shipments fell 3.3 percent. Unfilled orders increased 0.3 percent, and inventories rose 0.4 percent in April, according to the report.
Factories had been seeing fewer orders at the start of the year, in part because slower global growth had reduced demand for U.S. exports. Many economists believe U.S. growth is slowing to around two percent and could stay near that level for the rest of the year.
Mike Simons/Getty Images(CINCINNATI) -- Procter & Gamble says its former chief executive A.G. Lafley is returning to his old job, replacing CEO Bob McDonald, effective immediately.
The change comes after investor complaints about P&G, and calls for an overhaul on how it markets new products in the U.S. and overseas.
"A.G.’s track record and his depth of experience at P&G make him uniquely qualified to lead the Company forward at this important time,” said Jim McNerney, director of P&G’s board. “The Board expects A.G. to further improve results, implement the current productivity plan, and facilitate an ongoing succession process. The Board is confident that he will continue improving P&G’s performance.”
McDonald is leaving the company after 33 years.
“We thank Bob for his service and note the Company’s improving business performance,” McNerney said.
Jemal Countess/Getty Images(CANNES, Paris) -- At a Cannes Film Festival charity auction as star-studded as one of the Great Gatsby’s parties, a pitch rang out that sounded like a sci-fi sequel to Catch Me If You Can.
“How would you like to go to space with Leonardo DiCaprio?” said an auctioneer, the actress Nicole Kidman. “I can’t believe he offered this, by the way,” she added.
The lot? A ticket on the maiden voyage of Virgin Galactic sitting right next to Gatsby, himself, Leonardo DiCaprio.
After three days of astronaut training, the winner would join a flight set to take off from the California desert this fall, detach from the mothership and launch all the way into orbit.
Virgin Galactic is a commercial successor to the space shuttle and one of several new ventures offering tourism in space.
“We have one million euro,” said another auctioneer, actress Sharon Stone. “We’re looking for one million two to go with Leonardo DiCaprio for three days’ training and into outer space!”
“Million-two here going once. … Million-two going twice. … We’re selling!” Stone said.
$1.5 million. The winner was a Russian billionaire, who’ll soon be getting a close-up look at the stars in more ways than one.
Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The markets head into the long holiday weekend with little change for the Friday session.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 8.60 points to close the session at 15,303.10. The blue chips index earlier Friday had dropped 95 points. The Nasdaq Composite and the S&P 500 both gave up a fraction of a point to close at 3,459.14 and 1,649.60, respectively.
Friday marked the end of the first losing week for the Dow and the S&P since the week of April 19.
The markets will be closed Monday for Memorial Day.