I. GENERAL PROVISIONS
§ 1. Scope of application
a) Subject to the restrictions set forth in Article 1 paras. b and c, the terms and conditions stipulated below apply to all passenger transport services provided by DDSG – Blue Danube Schifffahrt GmbH (hereinafter referred to as DDSG), including any and all ancillary services provided by DDSG.
b) DDSG reserves the right to preclude the application of part or all of these terms and conditions in cases where transport is provided free of charge.
c) Where transport services are provided on the basis of a charter agreement, such services are the sole responsibility of the transporting ship's owner or charterer and are subject to the terms and conditions of that party. In such cases, the terms and conditions set forth below only apply to the extent that they do not violate the terms of the charter agreement. Unless expressly stipulated otherwise, DDSG acts in the capacity of an agent whenever it issues vouchers, tickets, invoices, etc. for transport services on the ships of other owners/charterers, and DDSG assumes no responsibility for personal injuries or property damage incurred in the course of or as a result of such transport services. Any disclaimers or limitations of liability stipulated by the ship owner or charterer shall also be effective in favor of their agents, auxiliaries and authorized representatives.
§ 2. Validity period
1. The validity period of the ticket is visible on the ticket itself.
2. Where transport services are provided on the sole responsibility and on the terms and conditions of service of ship owners or charterers other than DDSG, the validity period of tickets shall be subject to the terms stipulated by the respective owner/charterer.
§ 3. Transport
a) DDSG shall provide transport services for persons or live animals on its passenger ships on the basis of the terms and conditions of service and other provisions stipulated in the currently valid schedule.
b) DDSG may refuse to transport or continue transporting persons or animals without giving rise to damage claims if:
1. the regular means of transport are insufficient, or force majeure or other unusual hindrances prevent such transport. In particular, circumstances for which DDSG is not responsible include inclement weather conditions, strikes or other labor disruptions among DDSG's own personnel or the personnel of other undertakings, war, confiscation, official coercive measures or orders, and lack of personnel, operating supplies or landing aids;
2. the transport constitutes a legal offence or a violation of public order;
3. the terms and conditions stipulated in the currently valid schedule or other general instructions issued by DDSG or the instructions of DDSG's ship or land personnel (in uniform or equipped with a badge or identification) are not observed.
§ 4. Price adjustments
DDSG reserves the right to adjust its prices where this is justified by causes beyond its control (e.g., new or increased taxes; changes in standards which lead to increased costs, in particular to increases in average fuel prices since a catalog's time of publication; price increases arising from changes or fluctuations in exchange rates, etc.). Such price adjustments are to be announced by DDSG at least 21 days prior to departure. Where price adjustments exceed 10% of the original fare, the passenger is entitled to cancel the booking free of charge.
§ 5. Cancellations
The conditions applicable to cancellations can be found in the relevant DDSG catalog (schedule). Cancellations must be submitted in writing (by fax or registered mail). The date on which the cancellation is received by DDSG shall be considered the date on which the travel agreement is rescinded.
§ 6. Complaints
1. The ship's commander shall decide on any differences of opinion or other disputes which arise between passengers and DDSG personnel.
2. Complaints regarding the decisions of the commanders can be directed to the head office of DDSG – Blue Danube Schifffahrt GmbH in Vienna.
§ 7. Liability
a) DDSG shall only be liable for damage or injuries caused to passengers or baggage in cases where intent or gross negligence is demonstrated on DDSG's part in the cause of the damage.
b) DDSG shall not be liable for accidents or damage caused by the parties involved – especially due to a failure to observe existing rules or a failure to comply with the instructions of DDSG personnel – by force majeure or by persons and auxiliaries external to DDSG. Where a party involved is at fault in causing damage or injury, Article 1304 of the Austrian General Civil Code (ABGB) is to be applied analogously.
§ 8. Limitations
Any and all passenger claims – regardless of their nature – shall be subject to a limitation period of six months. The limitation period shall begin on the date specified as the end of the journey according to the agreement. In cases where a passenger asserts claims, the limitation period shall be interrupted until DDSG refutes such claims in writing.
II. Transport of persons and live animals
§ 9. Schedules, journey times and delays
a) The transport of persons and live animals shall be provided in accordance with published schedules and announcements indicating the arrival and departure times of ships, ship categories and (where applicable) passenger classes.
b) Unless indicated in the schedules, the dates on which scheduled transport service begins and ends will be announced separately.
c) Cancellations and delays of journeys shall not justify claims against DDSG. In particular, DDSG provides no guarantee that passengers will be able to make timely connections to other forms of transport (e.g., ships, trains, buses, airplanes), nor does DDSG guarantee onward transport in cases where such connections are missed. Likewise, DDSG is not obliged to accommodate the delayed arrival of any other means of transport.
§ 10. Fares and means of payment
a) Fares, discounted fares and provisions governing tickets, transferability, validity periods, dates of validity, the interruption of journeys, cancellations, etc. are indicated in the currently valid schedule, which is available at all DDSG stations.
b) Special agreements can only be made in writing with the head office of DDSG – Blue Danube Schifffahrt GmbH in Vienna.
c) DDSG will publish fares in Austrian currency at ticket-issuing locations located within the territory of Austria.
d) Where tickets are ordered and paid for by travel agencies or private individuals situated outside of Austria, fares will be converted at the exchange rate applicable to payments between Austria and the country in question as published in the Wiener Zeitung newspaper on the respective date of payment.
§ 11. Tickets and ticket sales
a) All passengers must have a valid ticket which indicates the station of embarkment, destination, ship category, fare and (where applicable) passenger class. DDSG reserves the right to refuse transport to any person not in possession of a valid ticket. All passengers must retain their tickets throughout their entire journey.
b) The information indicated on the ticket shall be considered definitive with regard to the transport service rendered.
c) The tickets issued by DDSG are non-transferable. Where a ticket is used by a person other than the one to whom the ticket was issued (with or without the consent of the latter person), DDSG shall not be held liable for any damage incurred through or in connection with such unauthorized use.
d) Should a passenger lose or misplace his/her ticket, s/he shall have no right to transport for the leg of the journey covered by the ticket until s/he acquires a new ticket at the valid fare for the route in question.
e) DDSG may refuse to provide transport in cases where a passenger presents a ticket acquired in violation of legal or official provisions or at a fare which deviates from the agreement with DDSG.
f) Tickets shall be sold as follows:
1. in advance at the designated DDSG sales offices and external travel agencies;
2. at station sales counters; these ticket counters will open at least 30 minutes prior to scheduled departures. Any right to the issuance of a ticket at station sales offices shall expire five minutes prior to departure.
3. aboard the ship in cases where passengers board at a station (stop) where tickets are not issued or where passengers are unable to acquire a ticket for other reasons. In such cases, the passenger must acquire the ticket immediately upon boarding the ship without being requested to do so (see Article 13 para. B).
4. by way of online ticketing or Wien Ticket call centers.
g) Upon acquiring a ticket, the passenger is to check whether s/he has received the ticket as requested; claims and complaints after the fact will not be recognized.
h) Cashiers may require passengers to provide exact change when paying the fare.
§ 12. Checking of tickets
a) Passengers must present their tickets as well as any identification cards for fare discounts individually and without being requested to do so upon boarding and disembarking from the ship. During the journey, tickets and identification cards must be presented to the ship's crew upon request at any time.
b) Passengers who are checked in by means of vouchers and counting cards must board and disembark as a group. The travel guide must present and surrender the voucher to the bursar, and each individual passenger in the group must present and hand over a counting card.
c) Notwithstanding possible consequences under criminal law, any and all modifications made to the content of a ticket shall render that ticket invalid.
d) Additional and subsequent payments shall be subject to the provisions of Article 13 paras. A and B.
§ 13. Additional payments, subsequent payments, reimbursements
A. Additional payments
a) Should a passenger wish to continue his/her voyage beyond the destination indicated on his/her ticket, the passenger must purchase an additional ticket for passage to the new destination.
b) In cases where it is demonstrated that the price paid for a ticket was too low, the passenger must pay the difference immediately upon request.
B. Subsequent payments
a) Should a passenger be found without a valid ticket during or after the journey, s/he shall be required immediately to pay double the fare indicated in the schedule for the leg of the journey leading to the ship's next docking station or to the station where the passenger disembarks.
Where it is not immediately possible to verify the station at which the passenger boarded, then the passenger shall be required to pay double the fare indicated in the schedule for the entire route already covered by the ship.
b) Should the passenger refuse to make the subsequent payment in accordance with these provisions, DDSG personnel shall be entitled to ascertain the passenger's name and address on the basis of valid identification documents to be presented by the passenger, to refuse to transport the passenger further and to hand the passenger over to the competent authorities.
a) In cases where it is demonstrated that the price paid for a ticket was too high, the passenger must be refunded the difference immediately wherever possible.
b) Upon request, reimbursements will be paid in the following cases:
1. where passengers can not be transported due to lack of space;
2. where it becomes known only after the sale of tickets that a ship will be delayed for more than 120 minutes;
3. where a journey must be cancelled or discontinued for operational reasons or due to force majeure.
c) Reimbursements will be paid by DDSG in accordance with foreign-exchange law, and in cases pursuant to lit. c) exclusively by the DDSG head office. For the purpose of reimbursements, tickets purchased from external travel agencies must generally be submitted to the agency which issued the ticket.
d) The amount reimbursed will be the fare less a 15% administration fee as well as any fees for transferring or delivering the reimbursement amount, less the fare for partial journeys and travel agency commissions. In cases pursuant to lit. a) and lit. b), an administration fee will not be charged.
e) Reimbursements will not be provided for lost tickets.
f) Any and all reimbursement claims shall expire if they are not submitted to the head office of DDSG – Blue Danube Schifffahrt GmbH within six months after the end of the ticket's validity period.
g) In cases of doubt, all decisions regarding reimbursement claims will be made by the head office of DDSG – Blue Danube Schifffahrt GmbH.
§ 14. Boarding and disembarking, conduct aboard ships,
interruption of journeys, waiting rooms
A. Boarding and disembarking
a) All passengers must follow the instructions of the station personnel and ship's crew when boarding the ship, during their stay aboard the ship, and when disembarking from the ship.
b) Passengers are only permitted to step onto gangways, pontoons and ships once they have been instructed to do so. Likewise. passengers are not permitted to open, climb over or otherwise bypass gates, cordons or other boundaries on their own.
c) Once the signal for departure has been given, any and all attempts to board or leave the ship – as well as any attempts to aid others in doing so – are prohibited.
d) Passengers are only permitted to board ships with a valid ticket (exceptions: Article 11 lit. f) no. 3). After departure, any passengers found aboard the ship without a valid ticket shall be required to pay double the fare until the next station (cf. Article 13, para. B).
B. Conduct aboard ships
a) Passengers must observe any rules prohibiting smoking in certain rooms or areas.
b) Each passenger shall have the right to one seat only. Passengers holding a sundeck ticket are not entitled to a seat in the passenger saloon on the main deck or the Captain´s lounge on the sun deck.
C. Interrupting journeys
Subject to the provisions set forth in the schedule, passengers may be allowed to interrupt journeys. For this purpose, the passenger must have a record of the interruption entered on the ticket by the ship's bursar at least 10 minutes prior to arrival at the station where the passenger wishes to interrupt the journey, or by the ticket sales counter at that station immediately after disembarking from the ship. The interrupted journey may also be continued from another station which is closer to the ship's destination along the passenger's route.
Should the passenger fail to obtain a record of such an interruption, the ticket shall not be valid for further travel.
§ 15. Damage
In cases where passengers damage or soil the ships, stations or any of their facilities, a compensation or cleaning fee must be paid immediately. The amount of this fee shall be governed by the schedule or other provisions. A confirmation will be provided for the fee paid.
§ 16. Persons denied transport or conditionally admitted for transport
a) Persons who violate the prescribed rules and provisions or fail to comply with the instructions of personnel, as well as intoxicated persons and those who fail to demonstrate decency and propriety, may be denied transport. Such persons shall have no right to reimbursement of fares and baggage fees or to any other form of compensation.
b) Passengers shall not be permitted to consume alcoholic beverages brought on board where this poses a threat to order and safety aboard the ship. Passengers who violate this provision despite receiving a warning may be denied transport.
§ 17. Transport of dogs and other animals
a) Dogs and other live animals which can be transported without endangering or causing a nuisance or burden to other passengers may be transported on passenger ships along with their owners for an additional fare indicated in the schedule.
b) Animal owners may only transport their animals aboard ships if the relevant official regulations, especially those governing animal disease control, are fulfilled. Diseased or ill animals are not to be transported.
c) The passenger him/herself must attend to any animals brought along on the journey. Dogs must be kept on leashes and fitted with a muzzle which prevents them from biting.
d) Should a passenger fail to purchase a ticket for an animal brought along on a journey, the provisions of Article 13 para. B shall apply analogously.
e) DDSG assumes no liability for any animals transported. In contrast, the owner of an animal shall be liable for any and all damage caused by the animal.
III. Transport of baggage
§ 18. Prohibited items
a) Items which may endanger, disturb or otherwise harm fellow passengers as well as items which are by nature unsuitable for transport by passenger ship shall not be allowed aboard DDSG ships.
b) Passengers who bring such items aboard despite the foregoing provision may be prohibited from continuing their journey without any claim to reimbursement of fares or baggage fees or to any other form of compensation.
c) The passenger alone shall be liable for any and all forms of damage or injury caused by the transport of prohibited items; DDSG shall assume no liability in such cases.
§ 19. Baggage
As long as the provisions of Article 18 are not violated, each passenger may take items aboard the ship which are intended for travel use and, where necessary, are packed appropriately.
Due to the specific characteristics of the ships, the size of passenger bags is limited to the size of carry-on baggage generally permitted on airplane flights (8 kg; 55x40x23 cm).
a) Passengers may carry easily stowed baggage with them aboard the ship at their own risk (small carry-on bags) as long as no additional seats are occupied and the freedom of movement on the ship is not obstructed by such baggage.
b) DDSG shall only be held liable for damage to baggage carried on ships in cases where it can be demonstrated that such damage is due to intent or gross negligence on the part of DDSG. The passenger shall be responsible for loading, unloading and transferring baggage carried aboard the ship. Where DDSG personnel provide passengers with assistance in loading, unloading or transferring baggage, this is provided as a purely voluntary service. DDSG shall not be held liable for damage to baggage in such cases, regardless of whether or not such damage is the fault of DDSG personnel.
c) The passengers themselves are responsible for compliance with customs and administrative regulations.
§ 20. Bicycles
a) Where the required space is available and such transport is considered possible at the discretion of the ship's command, bicycles which are suitable for transport on passenger ships will be transported for a fee which is to be paid in advance and is indicated in the schedule.
b) Bicycles may be transported on scheduled journeys for the fee indicated in the schedule.
c) Bicycles are to be handed over aboard the ship; advance reservations are required, as the space available on board is limited to 12 bicycles.
d) Each passenger may take no more than one bicycle aboard the ship. In stowing bicycles, passengers must follow the instructions of the ship's crew.
e) Passengers are to collect bicycles immediately after arriving at their destination. Bicycles which are not collected will be unloaded at the ship's final destination at the end of the day.
f) Motor vehicles will not be accepted for transport on passenger ships.
g) The provisions of Article 19 apply analogously.
§ 21. Lost or forgotten items
a) Passengers who find lost or forgotten items in the stations or aboard the ships must hand those items over to the ship's bursar without any claim to a finder's fee.
b) Lost items must be reported to the ship's bursar.
IV. Catering services
§ 22. Catering services
a) Catering services (restaurants, snack bars) on DDSG ships are operated by separate and independent companies and are the sole responsibility of those companies. Therefore, DDSG can not be held liable for the services provided by those companies and their personnel.
b) During ship operation times, passengers will be provided with the food and beverages specified on the menus at the prices indicated. Menus and beverage lists will be available to passengers aboard the ship.
c) Any disputes which arise between passengers and catering personnel will be resolved on site by the ship's commander; Article 6 is also applicable.
d) The provisions of paragraphs a) to c) also apply analogously to ancillary operations such as souvenir shops aboard the ships. Special provisions announced by means of bulletins shall be considered part of the price list.
§ 23. Changes in service
Without advance notice, the captain of the ship shall have the right to change the schedule, to omit stations or to dock at different stations, to provide assistance to other ships, to tow other ships or to be towed by other ships, and to navigate with or without a pilot; such measures shall not justify the assertion of claims of any type.
Where possible, the captain shall inform the passengers of such changes as well as the reasons for the changes without delay.
§ 24. Force majeure, unforeseeable circumstances
In the case of forces of nature, government orders, strikes, political unrest, war, technical defects or other circumstances for which DDSG is not responsible, DDSG shall have the right to take the following measures in particular:
a) to postpone, shorten or cancel the journey;
b) to start or end the journey at stations other than those originally announced;
c) to provide a substitute for the ship indicated in the travel agreement as long as said substitute complies with the terms of the agreement, regardless of whether the substitute is the property of DDSG or whether it is of the same type and size;
d) to dock at any stations in any sequence once or multiple times, or to omit stations, to discharge passengers and/or their baggage at the station of embarkment or any intermediate station and to have the passenger transported by other means of transport on any route at the passenger's own risk.
Where the ship's journey is delayed for the reasons indicated above, DDSG shall be authorized to amend the remaining part of the journey in such a way that it can be completed at the scheduled time.
Where the journey is not carried out for the reasons indicated above, any payments made by the passengers for the journey shall be refunded by DDSG. Where a journey is shortened or terminated prematurely, DDSG shall provide reimbursements for passage only on a pro rata basis.
Should the ship be required by maritime rules to provide assistance to another ship in distress during the journey, DDSG shall not be held liable for any resulting delays in the journey. The decision to provide assistance shall be made exclusively by the ship's command.
§ 25. Liability
In providing its services, DDSG shall be liable for compliance with general industry standards.
Passengers must notify the ship's bursar or captain of any damage, regardless of its nature, which may give rise to claims against DDSG or its personnel immediately upon discovering such damage, at the latest, however, by the time the passenger disembarks from the ship upon arrival at his/her destination.
§ 26. Complaints
Should the passenger find reason for complaints during the journey, s/he must present such complaints to the ship's bursar or captain immediately. Travel guides and local representatives may also receive such complaints, but they shall not be authorized to acknowledge claims. Claims must be submitted within four weeks after the contractually stipulated end of the journey, with due indication of the reasons for the claim to compensation from DDSG; where claims are not submitted within this period, they can not be recognized unless the passenger demonstrates that s/he was hindered from observing the period without fault. The date of the postmark on a claim shall be considered definitive for the purpose of ascertaining compliance with this period. No compensation shall be paid in cases where passengers waive their right to part or all of a program component included in the ticket price.
§ 27. Insurance
DDSG's liability shall be limited in accordance with these terms and conditions. Passengers are therefore advised to take out baggage insurance, accident insurance, travel medical insurance as well as travel and cancellation insurance.
§ 28. Passports and visas
Passport and visa regulations vary depending on the passenger's nationality. DDSG is not required to apply for visas or to have visas issued. Any costs incurred or losses suffered by passengers due to non-compliance with regulations governing international travel or with the entry requirements of countries visited shall be the sole responsibility of the passenger.
V. Safety and security precautions
DDSG hereby states explicitly that it has not taken any special precautions against hostage-taking, abduction, capture, bombings or other violent or terrorist attacks or threats, and that it is not in a position to defend ships against such attacks if necessary. Therefore, no claims may be asserted against DDSG in such cases.
VI. Jurisdiction and applicable law
These terms and conditions are subject exclusively to the jurisdiction of the courts in Vienna (Innere Stadt district) and to Austrian law.