Thousands of holidaymakers have had their trips cancelled, as the company behind cruise providers Voyages of Discovery and Swan Hellenic has ceased trading with immediate effect.
All Leisure Holidays has cancelled all future holiday bookings in a move that affects 7,000 bookings.
However, there is some protection for travellers as the firm was part of the ATOL (Air Travel Organisers' Licensing) scheme, which means they will receive a full refund. Claims can be made by completing a form on the ATOL website and are typically paid within eight weeks.
All cruise holidays that are sold in the UK and involve flights must be ATOL protected. Customers should receive an ATOL certificate when they make their booking.
Cruise trips, which do not involve flights, are not covered by ATOL but may be protected by ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents).
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has stepped in to ensure all 400 Leisure Holidays customers currently overseas will be able to return to the UK at no extra cost. Most will be able to use their scheduled ticket as normal but should check with their airline that they are able to travel. Travellers can fill in the claims form on the ATOL website (listed above) when they return home and supply any receipts if they have incurred additional costs.
Andy Cohen, head of ATOL at the CAA, says: “We understand this will be concerning news for anyone who has booked to travel with the company. However, the ATOL scheme exists for exactly this kind of situation and we are making immediate arrangements so all ATOL protected customers can claim full refunds as quickly as possible.
“So while this situation is very disappointing for the customers affected, it is also a timely reminder of the importance of remembering to check for ATOL protection when booking holidays. By making sure you receive an ATOL certificate when you book, you have peace of mind you will not lose your money or have to make your own way home - even if your travel company stops trading.”