A Christian holiday company cancelled a cruise to Turkey, Greece and Israel just 10 days before the trip, citing political instability in the region for a drop in cruise passengers.
LivingSun Holidays cancelled the October 13 trip less than a fortnight before departure, leaving holidaymakers £20,000 out of pocket.
This is Local London reports that in a letter to customers, company director Bob Fleming said: "The cancellation of the cruise has left us in a difficult financial situation – we have considerable costs which are irrecoverable for us and while we fully accept this is our problem to resolve, it means we simply do not have enough cash at the moment to start the refund process."
Mr Fleming said that around 18 people are owed a refund, which he hopes to pay back at the end of the month.
Customer Gospatric Home, 81, told the Surrey Comet that he is still waiting for a £2,490 refund from LivingSun Holiday after booking the trip for him and his wife Diana.
"It is a crazy saga," he said. "The money we all paid was not held in an escrow account. If it had been, then he could have repaid it all to everyone."
LivingSun Holidays' website states: "Our core vision is to provide excellent Christian holidays for people to enjoy God's creation together. Our aim is to give you a holiday where you can be fully refreshed, mentally, physically and spiritually and we believe it is the presence of God and His living Son at the centre of our holiday operation that makes the difference."
Best destinations for a short cruise
Holiday company cancels cruise to Turkey and Israel over 'political instability'
See the delights of Paris when you arrive at Le Havre port on a short cruise from the UK. Stop and stare at the Notre Dame Cathedral with its gothic splendour, stroll along the Champs Elysee towards the Arc de Triomphe and marvel at the majestic views from the Eiffel Tower. Royal Caribbean offers a three-night cruise from Southampton to Bruges and Paris, with prices starting at £379 per person.
Guernsey, part of the Channel Islands, located off the coast of Normandy, France, boasts a warmer climate than Britain and is home to pretty beaches, bustling waterside cafes and scenic cliff paths. While the island may lie closer to France than Britain, it remains loyal to the British crown and British pounds can be used, even though it has its own stamps and currency. P&O Cruises offers a two-night mini cruise from Southampton to St Peter Port in Guernsey from £219 per person.
One of the greatest small cities in the world, Amsterdam is famous for its canals, museums and amazing architecture. Its friendly and relaxed environment makes it a unique place to visit and the best way to get around and see the city like a local is by bike. With the highest number of museums in the world, you won't want to leave without checking out the Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank House and Hermitage Amsterdam. DFDS Seaways offers two-night mini cruises from Newcastle to Amsterdam, with prices starting at £89 per person.
Immerse yourself in the peace, tranquillity and beauty of Norway's magnificent fjords on a short cruise along the glassy waters, taking in the majestic views of mountains and waterfalls along the way. Bergen, Eidfjord and Lysefjord are some of the wonderful places to experience an inspirational mini-cruise in Norway. Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines offers a five-night cruise to the fjords from Newcastle, with prices starting at £699 per person.
Head for Dublin on a mini cruise where you can experience a wealth of sights in the vibrant city. Soak up some true Irish hospitality and 'craic' in the pubs, bars and cafés, and take a stroll along the River Liffey, hopping on a bus tour or visiting the Guinness Factory to see how the black stuff is made. Cruise & Maritime Voyages offers a two-night cruise from Newport to Dublin, returning to Liverpool, with prices starting at £169 per person.
This coastal city in Northern Spain boasts good beaches, breathtaking landscapes and a lively bar and restaurant scene. Popular with Spanish tourists, Santander was also a hangout for politicians, aristocrats and the upper class in the 19th century. Today, you can soak up the sunshine on El Sardinero beach, marvel at the belle époque architecture along the seafront and explore the beautiful countryside of Cantabria. Brittany Ferries offers a three-day mini cruise to Santander from Portsmouth or Plymouth, with prices starting at £109 per person.
Water is Hamburg's best feature and no visit to the German city would be complete without a boat trip around the port, from the Landungsbrücken jetties through huge container vessels, majestic steam-powered ocean liners and elegant yachts. A stroll through the old town is a must to see the grand corner buildings from the 17th to 19th century, quaint restaurants and relaxed bars. In Hamburg, you can also witness some of the world's biggest and most spectacular cruise ships sailing in and out of the port. Cunard offers a two-night mini fly-cruise from Southampton to Hamburg and a flight back to the UK, with prices starting at £479 per person.
Discover the canals, cobbles and chocolate of Bruges on a mini cruise to the Belgian city. This ancient jewel boasts delightful market squares, willow-lined waterways and famed chocolatiers. It is often compared to Venice for its canals and like the Italian city, Bruges is famous for its high quality lace, which you can browse in the many lace shops and market stalls by the Burg main square. P&O Cruises offers two-night cruises from Southampton to Bruges with prices starting at £229 per person.
Everybody wants to visit Edinburgh but how many people do you know who travel to the city by water? With its series of rocky hills, winding streets and Georgian buildings, Edinburgh is a beautiful city to enjoy on a short cruise. Multrees Walk is where you'll find the designer boutiques, Edinburgh Castle sits at the top of Castle Rock and if you just fancy a spot to sit and people watch, head for Princes Street Gardens for a picnic or ice cream. Thomson Cruises offers a four-night cruise from Newcastle, calling at Edinburgh, Invergordon and Dundee, with prices starting at £410 per person.
Historic Haarlem has all the charm of Amsterdam but is quieter and more compact - making it perfect for a short cruise. Located on the banks of the Spaarne River, the medieval city in North Holland offers a lively cultural scene, excellent shopping and it's close to some great beaches. DFDS Seaways' two-night cruises from Newcastle to Haarlem cost from £61 per person.
Holiday company cancels cruise to Turkey and Israel over 'political instability'
Exploring new destinations is one of the best things about going on a cruise, particularly if you’re visiting somewhere you’ve never been before, and excursions can give you a chance to experience something really incredible – for example, swimming with dolphins in the Bahamas or Prosecco-tasting in Italy. Tours can usually be booked in advance, which will help with budgeting. But try to mix it up a little – sightseeing in Barcelona, something cultural in Rome for example, otherwise you’ll just get exhausted. And of course it’s always good to explore by yourself, too. Just remember to get back to the ship in time for departure.
Ships can be a little daunting at first – there are so many corridors it’s quite easy to get lost. Use the map in your stateroom or pick up one from reception to help familiarise yourself with where everything is so you don’t waste time wandering endlessly round.
It’s a good idea when you check in to your stateroom to make sure everything’s OK and working before you unpack.
Cruise ship spas offer a dizzying array of fabulous treatments, and appointments get booked up really quickly, so if you’re planning on having a facial or massage, make it a priority to visit the spa as soon as you get on board (this will also help you navigate your way round the ship.)
Planning to eat at any of the speciality restaurants on board? Again, these get booked up fast, so make your reservations as soon as possible. And if you’ve changed your mind about your dining plan, it’s a good idea to find out if any other options are available quickly too.
Travelling with children? Take them to the kids’ club. I’m not suggesting you should leave them there if they don’t want to go. But with so many state-of-the-art facilities and exciting experiences on offer, for example the cookery classes and tightrope walking workshops on P&O, plus the chance to socialise with children their own age, it’s a real shame for them not to at least try it – and it will give you the chance to do something a bit more grown-up, like head for the spa. Or bar.
Cruise ships offer incredible opportunities to do something different – take a class, play sport or learn new skills.
Sign up for the members’ club – usually you have to cruise a few times to get the benefits but you’ll receive various incentives such as on-board credit, gifts, special deals and coupons, as well as invitations to exclusive events.
If you’re planning to tweet pictures from your holiday or post facebook statuses letting everyone know what a fabulous time you’re having, it’s always cheaper to buy an internet package rather than keep paying on a per-minute rate. Remember though that the wi-fi on a ship is often painfully slow and there will be times when it’s non-existent, depending where you are.
Remember you’re on holiday. You don’t have to do everything – take time to chill out and relax, too. There’s always next time.