Cruise & Maritime Voyages has ceased trading with immediate effect and its international sales offices in Australia, France, the United States and TransOcean Kreuzfahrten in Germany have also ceased trading.
Administrators Duff & Phelps confirmed the news, stating they had been appointed joint administrators of Cruise & Maritime Voyages Ltd (CMV) and sister companies South Quay Travel & Leisure Ltd, Independent Coach Travel (Wholesaling) Ltd and Viceroy Ltd
The Essex-based cruise line had entered into “eleventh-hour” discussions with investor VGO Capital Management, after announcing in June it was looking for “additional financing to improve its liquidity position”.
However in a statement on Monday evening (20 July), the administrators announced CMV had "ceased trading with immediate effect and its international sales offices in Australia, France, the United States and TransOcean Kreuzfahrten in Germany have also ceased trading."
It added: "Administration is likely to result in the redundancy of the UK employees and an uncertain future for those employees in the wider group."
As cruise operations are currently suspended there are no passengers onboard any CMV ships.
Paul Williams, joint administrator, Duff & Phelps, stated: “The travel, tourism and wider hospitality industry has been engulfed with a devastating and unprecedented global pandemic of seismic proportions impacting very hard on CMV’s once thriving cruise business compounded by last week’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advisory against cruise travel.”
In a statement the administrators added the suspension of CMV‘s worldwide cruise programme on 13 March 2020 through to 25 August 2020 had affected over 50,000 British and international passengers greatly impacting the business.
“Unfortunately, despite the collective very best efforts and being very close to securing the long-term finance needed, CMV was unable to conclude the funding within the timescales required which has led to the administration of the business,” added Paul Williams.
CMV chief executive Christian Verhounig, said: “The directors have all worked tirelessly with CMV’s financial advisors, investment bankers, lawyers, and numerous private equity and hedge fund investors to try and secure the funding required to enable CMV to weather the storm.
“Only last year CMV was celebrating a record trading year and our first decade in cruising but the CMV journey has tragically been cut short by this unprecedented global pandemic. Prior to the onset of Covid-19, we had sold nearly 90% of 2020 capacity and we had bullish prospects for the future having sold nearly 50% of 2021 UK capacity.
“Despite this positive forward booking position, we could just not get the financing deal over the line in time to save this wonderful business. We are truly sorry to our loyal and hard-working shoreside staff and seafarers, travel trade partners and suppliers who have all patiently stood by us and to our valued passengers for the disappointment and further disruption to their cruising holiday plans.
“On behalf of the CMV family, directors and shareholders, I would like to thank everyone for their great support and sincerely apologise for these circumstances which are directly related to Covid-19 and beyond our control."
Details on how affected customers can make a claim can be found on Cruise & Maritime Voyages website.
An Abta spokesperson said: "South Quay Travel Limited, trading as Cruise & Maritime, has sadly fallen into administration, affecting the livelihoods of thousands of its employees. The company, which was an Abta member, was a popular supplier of cruise packages, these bookings are financially protected by Abta. The company also sold a number of package holidays that included flights that are Atol protected.
"Travel agents with bookings for customers using South Quay Travel Limited services should visit www.abta.com/southquay/ www.abta.com/cruiseandmaritime for important information about the claims process."
Formed in 2009, the line operated five ships (Marco Polo, Astor, Magellan, Columbus and Vasco Da Gama) and specialised in ex-UK itineraries sailing from regional ports.
Vasco Da Gama was the most recent addition to CMV’s fleet, entering service in 2019, with the company set to welcome vessels Amy Johnson and Ida Pfeiffer in 2021.
The line had been forced to cancel itineraries until at least 25 August as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In June CMV said it was “confident” it could secure new funding, despite reports it was in a “race against time” to conclude a deal.
However ocean cruise lines have faced additional pressure in recent weeks following the change in the UK Foreign Office’s travel advice on 9 July, warning Brits “against cruise ship travel at this time”.
CMV cruises were sold by a number of operators including Newmarket and Saga.