EXCLUSIVE: The travel plans of guests booked to sail with Island Escape Cruises in the Kimberley have been thrown into disarray after the small-ship operator is understood to have cancelled last weekend’s sailing at the 11th hour.
Island Escape Cruises operates one luxury yacht – the aptly named Island Escape – which entered service in New Zealand earlier this year. Having already operated a number of sailings in the Kimberley since May, booked passengers are currently venting their fury on social media at the sudden and unexplained suspension of Sunday’s sailing, terminated within 24 hours.
Feedback from impacted guests shared on Island Escape Cruises’ Facebook page indicates there was no forewarning that their 3 July cruise would not be proceeding, with some guests either already in Broome or in transit to the Western Australian city in anticipation of boarding the intimately sized 30-guest ship.
According to Island Escape Cruises’ website, the 12-day Wild West Coast voyage operating round trip from Broome was sold out. As are the subsequent three sailings on 16 and 28 July and 10 August, while two further sailings on 22 August and 4 September have “limited availability”.
Comments made on social media suggest the vessel arrived in Broome on Sunday morning, offloaded guests, before disembarking the wharf without its next boat load of cruisers.
One guest who sailed earlier in the season aboard Island Escape told LATTE “many aspects of this cruise were disappointing.”
While the yacht itself was “great the crew was brand new, had no experience of the Kimberley’s. No tour guide. There was only one zodiac and no helicopter as described in brochures,” the guest said.
Other comments shared on social media included the below posts:
Attempts by LATTE to verify the situation for the 3 July departure, and the remaining Kimberley season with Island Escape Cruises’ CEO/Director, Erik Helseth, were left unanswered. Meanwhile, an automatic email response to former Owner Peter Bissett, states “I resigned from the company on 4 July 2022”.
LATTE understands that some past passengers are considering mounting a class action against Island Escape Cruises.