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On 2 March 2009 my wife and I received confirmation of our cruise booking on Hebridean Spirit, on the 20 March they wrote to us to tell us that the ship had been sold and our cruise cancelled!
They went on to offer us a cruise on Hebridean Princess or full refund of our payment, we elected for the refund. We have now learned that the administrators will not honour this promise and that we have, in all probability, lost our £7000.
I am furious, not least because they must have known that their company was failing when they accepted our cheque. I am also furious with the mistakes that we ourselves made - I hope that our experience will act as a warning to all your members.
We are experienced cruisers with around 35 cruises behind us (most of them hugely enjoyable!) and we still made the following classic mistakes:-
We trusted a cruise company when they asked for the full fare to be made at the time of booking in order to ensure a discounted fare.
On this occasion of all occasions we paid by cheque - always pay by credit card!
We didn't make our booking through an ABTA member company.
Please tell your members to be very careful, especially now that cruise lines are having a difficult time!
In Dubai two years ago as Nautica sailed out of port, I was studying one of the Hebridean ships and thinking what fun it would be to have a go on one of those ships. Having heard of your hard experience with this company, needless to say I will never sail on them.
What a shock this episode must have been for you - just reading about it makes me mad. The timing between 02 March and 20 March is far too close to have been anything but a money-harvesting gesture by the corporate office.
So sorry to hear of your financial loss and shame on Hebridean Cruises for thinking only of its own corporate difficulties whilst stealing your money.
I have been very fortunate to have sailed on the Heb Spirit a few times, and - also on its very last cruise. Everyone was devastated - least of all the crew and officers who only knew of its sale to a private buyer shortly before the passengers. This ship was a 'one off' and will be sadly missed. I like many others have paid 'up front' for another cruise - but you can get a refund from ATOL... The co are saying that the Princess is still sailing - they are even still unbelievably taking bookings, but how long before it goes the way of the Spirit? I feel really annoyed that they have taken money from passengers knowing full well the co was going to collapse and that money I recently paid - £6.5k for next year they have used to fund recent cruises.