Cruise ship firm CMV shuts down due to coronavirus pandemic

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UK firm Cruise & Maritime Voyages has shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

CMV announced in June that it was looking for additional finance and it was hoped that last minute discussions with investor VGO Capital Management would save the firm.

But that wasn’t to be the case and this evening administrators Duff & Phelps announced Essex-based cruise line CMV had “ceased trading with immediate effect”.

Its international sales offices in Australia, France, the United States and TransOcean Tours in Germany have also been closed.

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Administrators Duff & Phelps said that the action was “likely to result in the redundancy of the UK employees and an uncertain future for those employees in the wider group.”

Paul Williams, joint administrator, Duff & Phelps, stated: “The travel, tourism and wider hospitality industry has been engulfed with a devastating and unprecedented global pandemic of seismic proportions impacting very hard on CMV’s once thriving cruise business compounded by last week’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advisory against cruise travel.”

Duff & Phelps have been appointed joint administrators of Cruise & Maritime Voyages Ltd (CMV) and sister companies Viceroy Ltd, Independent Coach Travel (Wholesaling) Ltd and South Quay Travel & Leisure Ltd.

Cruise ship programmes were suspended on March 13 due to the pandemic affecting more than 50,000 British and international passengers and hitting the business hard.

Paul Williams added: “Unfortunately, despite the collective very best efforts and being very close to securing the long-term finance needed, CMV was unable to conclude the funding within the timescales required which has led to the administration of the business.”

The company’s website this evening listed information for customers who had booked cruise packages which it said were protected by ABTA.

It said that all bookings that have not yet taken place are cancelled.

The company also sold a small number of flight-inclusive packages which are protected by the CAA’s ATOL scheme.

For customers who have booked directly with CMV they should follow the advice below;

Non-flight packages

If you booked a non-flight package holiday (eg a cruise without flights) through SQTL these are protected by ABTA or by your credit or debit card issuer. You should visit www.abta.com/failures for further advice on how to claim.

Package holidays with flights included (UK Customers Only)

If your booking included flights, you will need to contact the CAA as your booking is protected by the CAA’s ATOL scheme.

Further information and advice on how to claim is available on the ATOL website here.

CMV chief executive Christian Verhounig, said: “The directors have all worked tirelessly with CMV’s financial advisors, investment bankers, lawyers, and numerous private equity and hedge fund investors to try and secure the funding required to enable CMV to weather the storm.

“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% of 2020 capacity and we had bullish prospects for the future having sold nearly 50% 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.”

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