Van Gogh Cruises cancels 14 of its cruises !

A Tour company which took over troubled Travelscope’s holidays has pulled the plug on its summer cruises leaving hundreds of passengers disappointed.Cheltenham-based Van Gogh Cruises was set up in January following the collapse of Travelscope.

Now the company has cancelled 14 of its cruises onboard the Van Gogh and will not resume operations again until November.

It is blaming the cancellations on failure to secure ABTA membership and lack of numbers.

The Association of British Travel Agents is the regulatory body for British travel agents.

The news has left one Cheltenham couple, who don’t wish to be named, thousands of pounds out of pocket.

They are currently on a £2,000 world cruise onboard the Van Gogh, which they paid to Travelscope last year.

Last week, they were offered a cut price deal to take another cruise in the Caribbean next month. Now they have been told it won’t go ahead.

Their daughter said: “The cruise was at a discount price and sounded too good to be true – now we know why.

“My parents have only just paid for it. Surely the company knew before then this was going to happen. It seems wrong to me.

“The biggest worry is whether they’ll get their money back. It’s still a significant amount.”

Van Gogh Cruises is part of the Dutch-based Club Cruise group.

A statement by managing director Mark Horwood, a former director of Travelscope, on behalf of Van Gogh Cruises said: “It’s with great disappointment we received confirmation on Wednesday our application for ABTA membership had been declined.

“The main reason given by ABTA was our previous connections with Travelscope Holidays. We have a right to appeal and will be taking this up in due course.

“Due to the lengthy ABTA process we’ve been unable to promote the Van Gogh and have therefore missed the main booking period of January to March.

“Given careful consideration in the 24 hours following the announcement, it’s with regret that Club Cruise and Van Gogh Cruises have taken the decision to cancel the Van Gogh cruise schedule immediately upon the ship’s return on April 5 and to commence sailing again on November 22.

“We’ll endeavour to transfer as many passengers as possible to new dates next year. Alternatively they will receive a full refund via ABTA of the monies they had paid to Travelscope.

“We understand this is a difficult situation for all concerned, however, circumstances dictate that we’re unable to achieve passenger numbers to operate these cruises on a commercially viable basis.”

Marcus Neal, operations manager at Van Gogh Cruises in Jessop Avenue, Cheltenham, said anyone who had paid on board the current cruise, would receive their money back.

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