A sad moment for us here at Sunstone Tours & Cruises.
Cruise West announced that they will cease operations on Saturday, September 18th. For the last year, Cruise West has aggressively pursued a number of options with interested parties to maintain operations, including investment, selling assets, and selling the company. In part because of the most recent dip in the markets and the continued lack of economic confidence, these options have not come to fruition.
“I have never given up hope that we might be able to find a way to survive by working with the various interested parties. I am absolutely heartbroken that this family legacy has come to an end,” shared Dick West, Cruise West’s Chairman and Managing Director. “We have a product that appeals to the type of traveler who wants to experience the destination, not the inside of a ship. We have a passionate following of repeat guests and I am particularly distressed that our most loyal guests who have booked with us will now not be able to travel. We have done absolutely everything to maintain operations, but with limited resources and the current tight financial market, we simply cannot continue.”
With the exception of the September 22 Danube Cruise, Cruise West has canceled all future cruises in 2010 and beyond and Cruise West has taken steps to notify booked guests via phone, email, and through media outlets. “It is with a heavy heart that we close our doors, knowing that guests, travel agents, and partners will not receive the personal attention that they have grown to expect from us,” said Dick West.
“I want to extend my most sincere thanks to our loyal employees, many of which have been here for decades. I am devastated that, though they have given abundantly of their time and energy, we will be unable to continue delivering memorable experiences,” continued Dick West. Last week, Cruise West commenced layoffs of their staff, with a very small staff staying on to help with shutdown efforts.
Our Galapagos partner, Canodros, operator of the Galapagos Explorer II, is working with us to provide an alternate program to our guests already booked. Guests who have booked our Galapagos program for dates in 2011 – may contact the operator by e-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org
For booked guests who have not yet traveled, Cruise West recommends the following steps:
- If third-party travel insurance was obtained, a claim should be placed immediately with the insurer.
- If payment was made by credit card, a claim should be placed immediately with the card issuer.
- If the payment was made by cash or check, and you have no travel insurance, and the cruise departs from a U.S. port, you may file a claim with Cruise Claims c/o Wells Fargo Disability Management, PO Box 1567, Abingdon, Virginia 24212; phone: 877-371-9700, extension 6059; faxed to: 276-6760152; or sent as an e-mail attachment to: email@example.com. The e-mail should specify the claim is for cruise fare reimbursement.
- If the payment was made by cash or check, and you have no travel insurance, and the cruise departs from a foreign, non-U.S. port you may file a claim with USTOA, visit their web site – http://www.ustoa.com.
For travel partners with booked guests, Cruise West recommends that you contact your clients and relay the information above regarding claims.
About Cruise West
Cruise West believes that small is beautiful. Small-ship explorations allow up-close and personal experiences unmatched by the traditional larger cruise lines. For nearly 64 years, Cruise West has provided authentic travel experiences. Cruise West will cease operations September 18, 2010.