Carnival passenger denied boarding for being 26 weeks pregnant on cruise

Expectant mother Kaylee Farrington was looking forward to a three-day cruise around Australia, but she was turned away at the port for being 26 weeks pregnant.

carnival luminosa seattle washington
Carnival Luminosa. (Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line)

Surprised and disappointed, Farrington’s mother, who purchased the ticket for her daughter, said that Carnival Cruise Line’s decision felt discriminatory against pregnant women. 

How it played out

Gold Coast resident Kaylee Farrington was getting ready to board Carnival Luminosa when she was prevented from joining the cruise. After learning that she was 26 weeks pregnant, cruise line employees at the Brisbane dock informed her that allowing her onboard would be a violation of the company’s conditions of carriage. 

Carnival’s passenger contract reads: “…any Guest who will at any time during the cruise enter her 24th week of estimated gestational age, agrees not to book a cruise or board the ship.”

Farrington’s mother, Robyn Betts, booked the ticket as a birthday gift for her daughter. She felt the information should have been more visible, especially since the cruise operator refused to refund. She said the fare cost her $2,000 Australian dollars.

“They said, ‘oh no, there will be no refund’ and said this is our terms and conditions, and it’s our fault we didn’t dig deep enough to find them,” Betts recalled.  She told Business Insider, “We nearly feel it was discriminatory toward pregnant women.”

Why are cruise lines so strict about allowing pregnant women onboard?

A cruise ship docked at a dock with a sign that says denied boarding.
A spokesperson from Carnival explained, “Cruise ships are not equipped with facilities to deal with prenatal and early infant care. The policy is outlined both on the Carnival website and within the cruise contract.”

The cruise contract also states that Carnival can deny boarding and cancel reservations without refunding passengers if they are at least 24 weeks pregnant during the cruise.

Though it may seem harsh, the health and safety of the mother and child and the cruise line’s ability to offer adequate care should anything happen are the principles behind the policy.

This is enforced across the cruising industry. Even the Cruise Line International Association has the same stipulation: “Pregnant women who have entered the 24th week of estimated fetal gestational age at any time during the cruise should not be eligible to sail with the ship.”

The cruise operators can deny boarding as they please. It’s essential to read the cruise line passenger contract thoroughly before agreeing to the terms and conditions during the online check-in.

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