What was meant to be the cruise of a lifetime turned into a nightmare for retired Australian couple. The incident invilves a 43-day cruise itinerary in February 2017 on MV Voyager from Singapore to Cape Town South Africa, visiting Malaysia, Myanmar and exotic Indian Ocean Islands (Maldives, Seychelles, Mauritius, Reunion, Madagascar).
As part of their USD 37,000 "Grand Indian Ocean" package, the NSW couple, Kay and Ken Dollery, had business-class air fares from Sydney to Singapore, and a return flight home from Cape Town.
Unfortunately, the cruise has turned into a nightmare for over 500 Australians (many of them elderly) after All Leisure Group (UK company, owner of the ship operator Voyages of Discovery) collapsed.
Mrs Dollery, 58, said their travel agent had advised them to contact their travel insurance company, only to discover that their policy did not cover insolvencies.
The Dollerys, from Kendall near Port Macquarie, will now join a long list of creditors of All Leisure Group, leaving their hopes of retrieving any of the USD 37,000 they forked out in the hands of administrators.
"It took us 12 months to pay it off. It is absolutely devastating." Mrs Dollery said.
The couple found out about their predicament on Thursday night from their travel agent, which told them the cruise line was not offering refunds to Australian clients.
"Discover the World" (All Leisure Group's Australian brand) said it was advising people to contact their travel agents, insurance companies or banks.
About 13,000 people worldwide had forward bookings with All Leisure Group cruises, as the company owns both small cruise lines Voyages of Discovery and Swan Hellenic.
People who had paid for their Voyages of Discovery cruises with credit cards could request a charge-back payment from their banks. However, those who paid the cruises in cash would join the list of creditors.
Australia's Travel Compensation Fund would not have covered those affected by the latest collapse because All Leisure Group was an UK company and not a part of Travel Compensation Fund.