Top agency stops taking bookings as cruise lines pull out over debt crisis

//Top agency stops taking bookings as cruise lines pull out over debt crisis

gills.jpgOne of Britain’s biggest cruise travel agents has stopped taking bookings, after a crisis week in which four of the major cruise lines severed their relations with the company over fears for its finances.
A message on Gills’s Cruise Centre website says existing clients with queries should phone its customer services department on 0845 460 6094.
The family-owned company was established more than 50 years ago, and has concentrated on specialising in selling cruises since 2005. About 60,000 passengers a year are booked on holidays through the company. Its London office was closed in March and support staff were relocated to its Cardiff HQ.
The company was hit hard earlier this year when Carnival UK, which operates P&O and Cunard, cut their commission rates. Last week Carnival, together with Royal Caribbean and Fred Olsen, announced they would be collecting payments direct from Gill’s customers because of concerns about the company’s debt levels.
Then earlier this week Carnival served notice to terminate its agency agreement. Customer services director Giles Hawke said: “We needed to do the best thing for our customers and to ensure their bookings and peace of mind.”
Royal Caribbean’s associate vice president, Jo Rzymoska said her company’s decision had been agreed with Gill’s as “the best thing to do for our customers.”
Royal Caribbean has set up its own team of advisors to deal with Gill’s customers and has an dedicated phone line (01932 834 345) and email address at for queries.
Rzymowska pointed out that as most of the business with Gill’s was for fly-cruises, customers are protected by ABTA, whose spokesman said: “”Any holiday booked through Gill’s is fully protected financially and the cruise companies providing these holidays will honour all paid-for travel arrangements.”
UPDATE: Gill’s Cruise ceased trading on Friday. The company’s assets have been bought P&P Associates which has established a WeCruise online brand. P&P already owns web retailers and, flight consolidator Guildfare and a business travel agency. The company also acts as the agency for travel fulfilment booked through Asda.
ABTA said any holiday booked through Gill’s is financially protected and the cruise companies providing the cruises will honour all paid-for travel arrangements.
WeCruise added: “Customers with existing bookings can rest assured that Gill’s Cruise Centre’s cruise line partners have now taken over all existing cruise bookings as a precaution to ensure they are protected.”

By | 2017-06-15T16:00:04+00:00 14 July 2011|Cruise News|1 Comment

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

One Comment

  1. Alicia 15 July 2011 at 9:48 am - Reply

    Feel for all the staff at Gills.

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