Passengers affected by cruise company’s financial trouble
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Consumer Protection is advising passengers booked on the cruise ship Athena that their travel plans may be in doubt.
Sydney-based company, Classic International Cruises Pty Ltd (CIC Australia), which booked the ship for a series of Australian cruises over a four month period, has gone into voluntary administration.
The Athena cruise ship was due to depart Marseilles in France on 12 November 2012 on a cruise bound for Fremantle, but the ship is currently being held by authorities due to a financial dispute.
More than 500 passengers were booked on a 12-night cruise departing Fremantle on 18 December 2012 bound for Bali and Broome. Consumer Protection believes several thousand passengers throughout Australia may have booked on 20 Athena cruises departing from Australian ports including Fremantle up until April next year.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll said affected passengers should contact the administrator to register their details, as well as their travel agent who will be regularly updated by the administrator on alternative arrangements.
“Consumer Protection is in contact with the administrator to clarify the future of the booked cruises. The administrator has advised that they and the company’s management are trying to locate a replacement ship with the intention of continuing the cruise schedule,” Ms Driscoll said.
“Consumer Protection will continue to closely monitor the situation and post updates on the department’s website, as new information comes to hand. Consumer Protection will also advise passengers about remedies in the event a suitable replacement ship is not found in the near future.
“In the event that the cruises are cancelled, Consumer Protection believes a number of remedies will be available, including refunds through the Travel Compensation Fund and possible credit card chargebacks.
“Consumer Protection advises passengers to wait for advice from the administrator about alternative travel arrangements. In the meantime, we will be in contact with the TCF about when claims can be made.
“We understand that consumers will need to have the situation clarified soon in order to make decisions about alternative holiday arrangements.”
Passengers who booked through a travel agent should contact them for information and also register their details with the administrator Lawler Partners on 02-8346 6000 or email CICAustralia@LawlerPartners.com.au.
Further information on refund rights and updates on the situation can be obtained from Consumer Protection on 1300 30 40 54 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Regular updates will be posted on the department’s website www.commerce.wa.gov.au/consumerprotection.
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