A class action against Australian-owned Scenic has begun in the New South Wales Supreme Court with 1,265 plaintiffs claiming ‘expensive luxury river cruises’ turned into ‘cheap second-rate bus tours’ because of extensive flooding in Europe in 2013.
Heavy rain in France and Germany in April and May 2013 caused extensive flooding and water levels on the Rhine, Saone, Rhone and Danube rivers rose so high that river cruise ships were unable to operate as scheduled for about six weeks.
The 13 affected Scenic and Evergreen tours included Amsterdam to Budapest, Amsterdam to Basel and river cruises in southern France.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the plaintiffs’ barrister, Alister Abadee, told Justice Peter Garling that on two of the tours 11 out of 15 cruising days were lost. Other cruises lost between one and 10 cruising days.
Instead of visiting cities via the river and spending nights aboard the luxury river ships, the passengers endured long bus rides and in some cases stayed overnight at low-budget hotels, Abadee said.
In a statement of claims the group said Scenic had breached Australian Consumer Law by failing to cancel or delay the cruises, offer alternative tours or warn of expected disruptions.
Scenic is defending the case, saying the standard terms and conditions of the contract allowed it to make changes to itineraries, including due to road, river or weather conditions.
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