Van Gogh Cruise Line has closed down and all its staff made redundant.

Van Gogh Cruise Line ceases operations

30 April 2008

The cruise line, formed out of failed tour operator Travelscope, had already been forced to abandon its itineraries for this summer but had hoped to re-start cruises in November.

Around 20 staff in Cheltenham have lost their jobs. Most were told to go home on Monday while managers came in again yesterday to alert key trade partners of the news.

Owners Club Cruise blamed hikes in fuel prices and devaluation of the pound against the euro for the collapse.

In a statement the cruiseline said: “After careful consideration and in light of the changes in the market conditions, with the massive increase in fuel prices; the devaluation of the pound to the euro, it is with much regret that Club Cruise Entertainment & Travelling Services Europe N.V has decided that the Van Gogh will not now be sailing from the UK in the foreseeable future and therefore, disappointedly, Van Gogh Cruise Line Limited will no longer be in operation.”

The business has struggled since it was launched in January by former financial director of Travelscope Mark Horwood and had recently failed to become an ABTA member or obtain bonding. Its appeal was turned down last week.

Earlier this month the ship was impounded in Funchal, Madeira, by Travelscope administrators Menzies Corporate Restructuring over an alleged £2 million debt.

But one former Travelscope member of staff said staff at the cruise line had only recently been reassured by Club Cruise bosses the company would be kept afloat for at least a year. However, staff were alerted to a problem when they did not receive March pay packets on time, with this week’s news coming just before they were due for their next month’s pay. “I can’t see how they are going to get their wages,” said the source.

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