Queen Victoria hit by Norovirus!

Nearly 80 people onboard Cunard’s new £300m luxury liner, the Queen Victoria, have been hit by a sickness bug on her second voyage. A company spokesman said 25 people were still unwell after the Norovirus, which causes vomiting and diarrhoea, struck.

The 2,014 passengers on the 16-day festive trip around the Canary Islands have paid between £1,100 and £24,400.

The Queen Victoria left her home port of Southampton on 21 December and is due back on the 6 January.

As reported earlier sailing superstition holds that the £300 million Queen Victoria was handed a bad omen after a bottle of champagne struck by Camilla, (the Duchess of York) at the luxury cruise liner’s naming ceremony failed to smash.

Another cruise ship in trouble in the Antarctic

A Norwegian cruise ship with more than 300 people on board struck an iceberg as it drifted in the waters of Antarctica after an engine failure, Argentine officials said today.
The MS Fram carrying 256 passengers and 70 crew members suffered a breakdown in its propulsion system on Friday, said marine police in the port of Ushuaia on the southern tip of Argentina.

“None of the passengers or crew were injured, there was no reported damage to the hull or spills, and there is no danger of sinking,” a spokesman added.

The ship “was carried into a wall of ice” after it suffered a two-hour blackout in the area known as Browns Buff, north of the Antarctic Peninsula.

The incident was earlier confirmed by the ship’s owner Hurtigruten, which said it had suffered “no major damage.”

Today, the Fram headed for Chile’s Eduardo Frei Antarctic base under its own steam for inspection and is slated to return to Ushuaia, some 3,580 kilometers south of Buenos Aires, arriving on Wednesday.

The Fram had set out on a Christmas Antarctic voyage and is among a record 30 cruise ships expected in the area during the southern summer.

The incident comes after a Liberian-registered cruise liner hit an iceberg in the freezing waters off Antarctica in November.

The Explorer sank after all its 154 passengers, crew members and other employees had been safely evacuated into lifeboats.

Queen Mary 2 throws off brawling Dad

A dad was thrown off a Christmas cruise ship in the Caribbean after he was involved in a fight.

Anthony McNamara, 32, had to leave his daughter of nine with his parents on the Queen Mary 2.

He also had to pay for his flight back from the British Virgin Islands.

But he claimed he was only defending himself from a stranger’s attack.

There is some hope for 4th January cruisers

From the UK press

Although most of the holidays booked through the company have been cancelled, around 450 passengers booked on to a three-month round-the-world cruise are being told that their trip can go ahead.

Administrators also said that there had been some expressions of interest from potential buyers for Travelscope, but warned that unless a sale is clinched over the Christmas and New Year break, it may be too late to save it as a going concern.

The cruise aboard the Dutch-run Van Gogh is due to set sail from Falmouth on January 4 with its passengers having paid up to £9,000 each.

Travel agents’ association Abta yesterday announced it was in discussions with Travelscope’s administrator, Menzies Corporate Restructuring, and the ship?s owner to see if the voyage could go ahead.

And Menzies partner Paul Clark said this morning that the vast majority of the ship’s passengers were now preparing to set sail.

Costa makes Dubai its regional hub with 2 ships this year

For the second consecutive year, Europe’s leading cruise operator, Costa Cruises, has made Dubai its regional cruise hub and deployed two ships offering a total of six weekly packages to destinations in the UAE, Arabian Gulf and the Middle East regions.

For the 2007-2008 cruise season, the Italian group has drafted two huge cruise ships – Costa Romantica and Costa Europa- with a combined passenger and crew capacity of 4756. Last year, the company had deployed only one cruise ship.

Mr. Khalid A bin Sulayem, Director General of Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) which operates the state-of-the-art Dubai Cruise Terminal, said Costa’s decision was highly encouraging for the regional cruise industry and will also stimulate other cruise operators to utilize Dubai as the regional hub.

The aggressive promotional and marketing agenda being pursued by the department has resulted in significant increase in the number of cruise ships docking in Dubai and the movement was also benefiting other regional destinations, he said. In the near future, the cruise tourism industry in the emirate will witness major growth with more cruise operators coming to Dubai, he added.

Mr. Awadh Seghayer Al Ketbi, Executive Director Dubai Cruise Terminal, said there has been substantial increase in the number cruise tourists coming to Dubai due to the hard work done by the department over the past seven years. For the 2007-2008 season, the number of cruise tourists is expected to be around 165,000. It will touch the 200,000 mark in 2008-2009 season followed by 350,000 passengers in the 2009-2010 period.

Costa Romantica docked in Dubai on December 21 and will offer weekly regional trips until the end of March 2008. Similarly, Costa Europa kicked off the regional tours on December 22 and will continue until February 25, 2008. Each ship offers cruise packages, using Dubai as the hub.

Cruisers on MV Van Gogh can continue

THE plans of thousands of holidaymakers will have to be changed and more than 200 people are set to lose their jobs after a travel company went into administration.

The Association of British Travel Agents, ABTA, revealed that Gloucester-based Travelscope Holidays ceased trading today.

Future holidays with the company have now been cancelled, and customers who were due to go away with Travelscope have had their trips cancelled.

ABTA offers financial protection to holidaymakers so that in the case of a member tour operator running into financial trouble, all its customers are never stranded abroad and can continue their holiday as originally planned.

Customers receive a full refund if they have not yet reached their destination or, where possible, they are given help to make alternative arrangements.

A spokesman said: “All trading activities are currently being suspended and no further holiday bookings are being taken.”

Travelscope deals primarily in cruises and coach trips.

As many as 40,000 people may have been affected, with Christmas and New Year breaks cancelled with immediate effect.

More than 460 passengers are currently on the cruise ship MV Van Gogh, which is due to arrive at Falmouth on January 4.

ABTA say its passengers will be able to finish their holiday uninterrupted.

TRAVELSCOPE GOES BELLY UP!


Travelscope Holidays Limited (“the Company”)The Company was placed into administration on 21 December 2007. Paul Clark, Phil Duffy and Andrew Stoneman of Menzies Corporate Restructuring were appointed Joint Administrators of the Company. At present the Administrators are evaluating the Company’s financial position and future prospects.

The Company is not presently taking future bookings.

For those customers who already have a booking for future travel with the Company we can advise that unfortunately the Company cannot fulfil its obligations to any passengers.

For those customers travelling by air – we can advise that the Company was bonded under the Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing (ATOL) system managed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). If you had a booking, you may be able to claim a refund of the money you paid. For further information, please refer to www.caa.co.uk

For those customers travelling by means other than air – we can advise that the Company was bonded under the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA). If you had a booking, you may be able to claim a refund of the money you paid. For further information, please refer to www.abta.com/newsandinfo.shtml

If you would like to contact the Administrators staff, you can do so by emailing travelscope@menzies.co.uk. One of the Administrators team will endeavour to deal with your enquiry as soon as practicable.

The Administrators appreciate that this may come as a shock to you, however, we do ask that you bear with the Administrators as they presently have a high volume of queries to deal with at the moment. The Administrators representative will attempt to resolve your enquiry as soon as possible. However, please understand that the Administrators are not directly involved in the handling or processing of your claims. You should therefore follow this up directly with the relevant bonding authority.