TRAVEL consultants have taken a hit following the voluntary administration of Australia-based Classic International Cruises (CIC) on October 31, which has itineraries covering Asia, Australia and Europe.
Its Athena ship was impounded in Marseille, along with other vessels over unpaid bills. A viable replacement was not secured for its first 2012/2013 cruise, scheduled to depart Marseille on November 12, or for the rest of its season.
CIC’s cancellations have left travel consultants saddled with credit card chargebacks and unhappy customers. An estimated 5,000-plus passengers had booked cruises from ports such as Fremantle, Adelaide, Sydney and Singapore with deposits of 40 per cent.
Tour de Force Travel’s owner, Carol Shaw, is claiming for A$10,000 (US$10,468) but she estimates she will lose A$5,000. “We don’t know where we stand on the list of CIC creditors. We were able to rebook eight clients on other cruises, including four out of Singapore and four out of Sydney, and have been able to minimise the damage to our agency. We are telling some customers we will give them travel credit,” said Shaw.
Asia Escape Holidays operations manager, Peter Dollman, said his company had come through the cancellations reasonably well as it had not taken any credit card bookings.
He said Asia Escape had found alternative cruises to accommodate passengers departing via Singapore.
CIC’s voluntary administration follows the mid-year closure of Kumuka Worldwide, dealing a blow to travel consultants and leaving one with A$15,000 in credit card chargebacks alone.