Hebridean International Cruises has become the first cruiseline victim of the recession after calling in the administrators. The company employed 20 staff.
Last month Hebridean announced it had sold its second ship, the 98-passenger Hebridean Spirit, blaming the rising cost of operating the ship in international waters while the pound was so weak.
That left it with just one ship, the 49-passenger Hebridean Princess, the former ferry chartered by the Queen for her 80th birthday in 2006, which sails around the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.
In a statement, administrators Ernst & Young said Princess will continue to operate while they explore the possibility of selling the ship as a going concern.
Passengers booked to sail on Hebridean Spirit had been offered the chance to switch to a cruise on Hebridean Princess or a full refund.
The administrators now say anyone booked to go on Spirit should contact ATOL to seek refunds for international cruises and the International Passenger Protection Insurance (IPP) for UK cruises. Clients should also review their personal holiday insurance and credit card conditions.
The administrators will be writing to all Spirit depositors explaining how to claim back monies paid and are posting appropriate notices on the company's website.
Ernst & Young joint administrator Colin Dempster said: "Hebridean Spirit has been loss making for some time and although it has now been sold it has impacted on the funding of the remaining group. This means the company that owns Hebridean Princess has filed for administration.
"We are aware of the strength of the Princess brand and interest in the vessel has already been received. This has allowed us to secure funding to continue the Princess schedule while we pursue a sale as a going concern."
- Swan to the rescue, part two [Cruise Lines]
Advice to customers
Information for customers who have booked a cruise on the Hebridean Princess
The administrators recognise the value of the Princess business and have taken steps to secure funding to continue its sailing schedule as planned.
The Princess is therefore continuing to trade whilst we pursue a sale of the business as a going concern. Consequently, Hebridean Princess cruises are not being cancelled. The Companies will continue to take booking enquiries.
Information for customers who have booked a cruise on the Hebridean Spirit
On 7 April 2009, the sale of the Hebridean Spirit was completed. In March 2009, all customers of the Hebridean Spirit were contacted to advise them of the forthcoming sale and were informed that a full refund would be given to those who had booked cruises on the Hebridean Spirit.
We regret to advise that the Joint Administrators are not in a position to refund any customers in respect of the cancelled Hebridean Spirit cruises.
Customers may be protected by the Air Travel Organiser’s Licenses (ATOL) and should contact ATOL directly on 020 7453 6350 between 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday or visit the website at www.caa.co.uk
Customers should also check their travel insurance policy since it may provide cover for the cancellation. The type of cover provided will vary according to the type of policy taken out. Your policy may cover the complete or partial cost of the original booking purchased.
If you paid by credit card, you may also be protected by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974. You should check with your credit card provider for further advice.
The above is a statement from hebridean.co.uk.
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