Troubled cruise line One Ocean has this week announced the fourth consecutive cancellation of a pre-booked expedition cruise this year.
The 11-night cruise to Antarctica was due to depart on December 1st but has been scrapped as the Canadian company claims to be going through a difficult restructuring.
But in a generous move, Norwegian expedition company Hurtigruten has stepped in, offering Australasian passengers affected by the latest cancellation a ‘compassionate fare’ of up to 50% off, depending on their personal circumstances.
In a company statement, Managing Director of Hurtigruten Asia Pacific, Damian Perry told Cruise Passenger: “It is a case by case scenario and we will work with travellers and agents. Savings will be from 20% – 50% depending on the traveller’s circumstances, recognising some may have lost everything and others have cover and insurance to support them. Everyone will be supported in some way.”
He added: “We understand the stress cancellations cause agents and travellers so Hurtigruten has taken the decision to assist with re-bookings with a heavily reduced ‘compassionate fare’ for those directly impacted by cancelled cruises or future potential cancellations this season.”
The compassionate fare is also being offered to passengers concerned about their OOE bookings for the coming season.
One Ocean customers have been told the cruise line would be in contact once restructuring had been completed regarding “any compensation possibilities”, according to a statement issued to pre-booked passengers by OOE managing director Andrew Prossin.
However, for customers across the globe, including several Australian families, until that time comes, they are simply being left out of pocket for the amounts they have already paid with insurance companies refusing to foot the bill.
One Aussie couple from Wollongong, Angela and Sal Capri have been left more than $40,000 out of pocket, with their insurance company refusing to refund them when their October 24 trip was cancelled. Sadly, for the Capri’s that was their second attempt to sail with One Ocean Expeditions and was supposed to be a celebration of Mr Capri’s 60th birthday. The December 1st cruise cancellation has now dashed their hopes of getting their money’s worth with a OOE cruise.
When contacted to ask if the Hurtigruten offer would be of interest to them, Ms Capri says “It would depend on the timeframe for travelling and if there was any chance of getting any money back from the insurance company or OOE. I wouldn’t rule it out completely.”
Ms Capri also added that “I think it’s wonderful that Hurtigruten are wanting to assist. I would assume that this experience for so many OOE clients and the publicity surrounding it, could make future travellers to Antarctica a little wary.”
Hurtigruten states that the ‘compassionate fare’ offer is made independently of OOE, and any booking or financial disputes remain with OOE and the traveller.
“As a business, our core values are caring about the environment, cultures, oceans and people. Although there will be a cost to Hurtigruten, we believe it is the right thing to do for travellers and agents and to help rebuild trust in our industry,” says Perry.
Agents and travellers interested in applying for a compassionate fare with Hurtigruten should contact [email protected] or call 1300 322 062.