The cruise line has been placed into administration after it was unable to secure extra funding to help cope with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Essex-based company South Quay Travel Limited, which traded as Cruise & Maritime Voyages and operated six ships, was planning for the arrival of two new ships, Amy Johnson and Ida Pfeiffer, in 2021.
Just a month ago it was in emergency talks with potential investors after a loan deal collapsed to secure funding to help it through the coronavirus pandemic.
A statement on its website reads: “We are sorry to inform you that South Quay Travel Limited (SQTL) - which traded under the name Cruise & Maritime Voyages – was placed into administration on 20th July 2020.
“Paul Williams, Phil Dakin and Edward Bines of Duff & Phelps Ltd. were appointed Joint Administrators of SQTL. At present the Administrators are evaluating SQTL’s financial position.”
Sister companies, Independent Coach (Wholesaling) Ltd and Viceroy Ltd have also entered administration.
Paul Williams of joint administrator Duff & Phelps said: “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.
“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.”
You can see the full statement on CMV’s website here.
Christian Verhounig, CMV’s chief executive added: “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.”
“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.”
Christian Verhounig, chief executive, CMV
“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.”
What to do if you have a cruise booked
South Quay Travel Limited sold mainly cruise packages which are protected by ABTA. Customers who have booked a package holiday provided by SQTL through a travel agent should contact the travel agent, in the first instance, for further advice and assistance as they may have made alternative arrangements.
But if you booked directly with SQTL / CMV, and paid with a debit or credit card you’ll need to submit your claim for a refund.
ABTA has set out specific advice for customers on its website including letter templates to download.
Cruise & Maritime Voyages operated out of Tilbury with ships including Marco Polo, Columbus and Magellan. Popular with groups, it was voted Best Cruise Line at the Group Leisure & Travel Awards in 2018.
Set up in 2009, it pitched itself as providing ex-UK ‘no fly’ cruising holidays aboard smaller and more traditional style ships. It was planning a special parade in Rotterdam for August 2021 featuring its full fleet of seven ships.
Like all cruise lines, it announced in March that it would suspend all operations as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and more recently was unable to secure additional funding to survive.