Passengers on the next Kimberley expedition with small-ship operator Island Escape Cruises that promised helicopter sightseeing and gourmet dining have been informed of their voyage’s cancellation this coming weekend. Guests who booked on the cruise paid between NZ$14,950 and NZ$20,950 per person for their suites.
The abandonment of the 16 July 2022 sailing aboard the 30-guest Island Escape follows the sudden termination of the next most recent sailing (on 3 July), as reported exclusively by LATTE Cruise last week.
Island Escape is currently listed as ‘sold out’ for the upcoming Kimberley cruise operating roundtrip from Broome on the New Zealand company’s website. The 12-night itinerary is also full for the 28 July and 10 August 2022 voyages.
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In an email written to guests booked aboard this Saturday’s departure and viewed by LATTE, Island Escape Cruises said it was with “sincere regret” that the next voyage was also cancelled.
“This is caused by a combination of practical and administrative challenges faced by Island Escape Cruises our service provider and which we were not able to prevent,” the email stated.
“These difficulties have caused severe and abrupt disruptions of daily operations at Island Escape Cruises.”
Feedback left by disgruntled past passengers on social media suggests food and drink supplies on the last paying passenger voyage had either run out or were being rationed, while others questioned the experience of staff onboard Island Escape.
The email continued, saying: “We had hopes to be able to resume operation for the 16th July departure, but this unexpected change of events also had the regrettable result of making it impossible for us to notify you and other travelers [sic] sooner.”
The email, which was not personalised to the client and lacked a name for impacted guests to contact, did however defend travel advisors, stating: “We were unfortunately not able to give prior information to travel agents either, so they are not to be blamed.”
Island Escape Cruises said it was “working intensely” to resolve the issues and hopes to able able to resume “ordinary travel shortly”.
The email confirms that the Auckland-based operator will refund tickets for voyages that have been cancelled, per the company’s terms and conditions, or guests are being offered the option to move to an alternative date.
Island Escape Cruises has not responded to LATTE‘s numerous requests for feedback on the situation.
Lead image: Island Escape cruising in New Zealand waters earlier this year. Source: Facebook.