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Abta says cruises safe despite agency collapse

Majority of holidays were Atol protected

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Customers who bought holidays from a leading cruise travel agent that has stopped taking bookings should be able to take their cruises as planned.

Trade association Abta today withdrew membership from Gill’s Cruise Centre as it was treating the agency as a financial failure.

Gill’s stopped taking booking from customers yesterday after several leading cruise lines severed ties with the agency.

Cruises will be honoured

Abta said any cruise booked through Gill’s was fully financially protected and the cruise companies providing them would honour all paid-for cruises. Customers should expect to hear from their cruise line shortly.

Abta has also called in a bond provided by Gill’s so that cruise lines who provide cruises for customers but are owed money by the agency will be reimbursed.

A spokeswoman said a small number of customers might have booked their flight and cruise directly with Gill’s under their Atol licence. Those customers should contact the Civil Aviation Authority. Gill’s Atol licence allowed it to carry 500 passengers.

Most money refunded

Rochelle Turner, Head of Research for Which? Travel, said: “The travel industry has been through some turbulent times over the past two years, and Gill’s Cruises is the most recent in a long list of travel companies that have suffered as a result of the economic downturn.

“Fortunately for Gill’s Cruises’ customers, the majority of holidays booked were ATOL protected and people can expect to get their money back.

“If you are booking a holiday, it’s essential you protect yourself in case the worse happens. Look out for the ATOL symbol or check that your travel insurance covers you if your travel company goes bust. Paying for your holiday on a credit card or Visa debit card may also offer you extra protection.”

Find out more about your rights when booking a cruise in our guide.

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