Cruise cancellations disappoint 5000-plus

More than 5000 people around Australia have had their travel plans sunk with the cancellation of 20 cruises on the luxury liner, Athena.

Western Australia's Department of Consumer Protection last week revealed Sydney-based Classic International Cruises Pty Ltd, which had booked the ship, had gone into voluntary administration.

The Athena, which was scheduled to depart Marseilles, France, on Monday, was impounded by authorities owing to a financial dispute.

Most of the cruises were to depart from Fremantle until next April.

On Wednesday, the department said it was believed most passengers had paid deposits of 40 per cent.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll said would-be passengers who booked through licensed travel agencies should contact them first to determine whether funds had been transferred to the cruise company.

They could also pursue a claim through the Travel Compensation Fund, which covered financial failure of travel agents.

Ms Driscoll said those affected should also contact the administrator Lawler Partners to register as a creditor.

"Customers with travel insurance should contact their insurer or travel agent to assess their eligibility to make an insurance claim and passengers who paid by credit card should also contact their provider to inquire about a charge-back if other avenues are not available to them," she said.

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