Popular traditional cruise line Cruise & Maritime Voyages, known as CMV, has been forced into administration, it was revealed overnight.
The British-based line, which had a big following among Australian cruisers, had been struggling to find financial backing during the pandemic.
The news throws into limbo hundreds of cruises, and its deals to purchase two P&O Australia vessels.
The cruise line’s Australian website says:
South Quay Travel & Leisure Limited (In Administration)
trading as Cruise & Maritime Voyages (Australia)
We are sorry to inform you that South Quay Travel Limited (SQTL) – which traded under Cruise & Maritime Voyages – was placed into administration on 20 July 2020. Paul Williams, Phil Dakin and Edward Bines of Duff & Phelps Ltd. were appointed Joint Administrators of SQTL in the UK. At present the Administrators are evaluating SQTL’s financial position.
The information below sets out specific advice for Australian-based retail customers (Customers) to follow depending on what holiday and travel arrangements you have booked and how you paid for them.
Please be aware that all bookings that have not taken place are cancelled.
Immediate Next Steps:
It is recommended that Customers take the following steps to seek to recover sums paid to SQTL:
Customers that have booked a cruise holiday through a travel agent should contact the travel agent in the first instance for further advice and assistance as they may have made or be able to make alternative arrangements for you.
Customers are recommended to contact their payment card issuer (credit or debit) to advise of the failure and non-supply of the service to establish any rights that may exist to obtain a refund.
Furthermore, Customers should consider the coverage of any personal travel insurance policies that may be held as a means of full or partially recovering the cost of the cruise holiday.
If the immediate next steps above lead only to a partial or no refund, please follow the guidance below:
Customers should submit a claim (for either the full amount or shortfall) in the insolvency process of SQTL. The Joint Administrators of SQTL will issue specific notices to Customers and publish them on SQTL’s website (https://www.southquaytravel.com/) and the local SQTL website (https://cmvaustralia.com/)
SQLT Claim Form
(to be submitted to: enquiriesSQLT@duffandphelps.com)
Administrators will attempt to pay off debts. If that fails and they cannot find a buyer, the line will go into liquidation.
CMV has around 4,000 staff.
Recently, the line was forced to deal with allegations crew were not paid and were working on ships for 12 months without leave. Five ships were detained by UK authorities.
The line had five ships – Marco Polo, Astor, Astoria, Magellan, Vasco Da Gama and recent acquisition Columbus. It was in the process of buying two P&O ships.
It had been sailing for 11 years and had offices in Australia.
CMV chief executive Christian Verhounig maintained: “Only last year, CMV was celebrating a record trading year and our first decade in cruising, but the CMV journey has tragically been cut short by this unprecedented global pandemic.
“Prior to the onset of COVID-19, we had sold nearly 90 per cent of 2020 capacity and we had bullish prospects for the future having sold nearly 50 per cent of 2021 UK capacity.
“Despite this positive forward booking position, we could just not get the financing deal over the line in time to save this wonderful business.
“We are truly sorry to our loyal and hard-working shoreside staff and seafarers, travel trade partners and suppliers who have all patiently stood by us and to our valued passengers for the disappointment and further disruption to their cruising holiday plans.
“On behalf of the CMV family, directors and shareholders, I would like to thank everyone for their great support and sincerely apologise for these circumstances which are directly related to Covid-19 and beyond our control.”