Cruise & Maritime Voyages has entered administration after failing to secure additional funding.
The cruise line has ceased trading with immediate effect, as has its international sales offices in Australia, France, the United States and Germany.
There are no passengers onboard any CMV ships, although the suspension of its programme as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, from March 13, 2020, to August 25, 2020, has affected 50,000 passengers.
CMV was based in Essex and operated six ships with a seventh, Amy Johnson, due to join the fleet in 2021.
In June, the line confirmed it was in talks with a range of financial institutions and banks to “improve its liquidity position” during the shutdown of cruising and said it was confident of reaching an agreement.
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.”
When the coronavirus pandemic struck earlier this year CMV repatriated crew, passengers and six ships from around the world back to their home ports in the UK without one Covid-19 case.
Paul Williams, Phil Dakin and Edward Bines of Duff & Phelps, have been appointed joint administrators, who said it is likely the administration will result in the redundancy of UK employees and an “uncertain future” for those employees in the wider group.
Williams said: “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.”
He added: “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.”
Affected customers can make a claim for a refund of their cruise fares can be found on Cruise & Maritime Voyages and German brand TransOcean Kreuzfahrten’s websites.
Cruise & Maritime Voyages was a trading name of South Quay Travel Limited, which sold mainly cruise packages which are protected by Abta. The company also sold a small number of flight-inclusive packages which are protected by the Civil Aviation Authority’s Atol scheme.
Sister companies Independent Coach Travel (Wholesaling) Ltd and Viceroy Ltd have also entered administration.
Posting on social media, former CMV business development manager Ryan Carroll said he was particularly sad for those who had been with the company since its inception and “made it the success story it undoubtedly was”.
Saying that “Covid-19 had finally caught CMV”, he added: “Absolutely gutted is an understatement on how I am feeling with tonight’s news.”