Cruise Ship Passengers Robbed
Travel Agency Doesn't Pay Costa Cruises For Bookings
Cruise Associates International - December 27, 2006
Ernest L. Grossman, head of Cruise Associates International (CAI), was terminated several weeks ago as an independent agent for Cruise Planners, a large travel agency franchise firm in Coral Springs.
"As soon as we found out he was having financial problems we did terminate him," said Lynn Korn, chief financial officer for Cruise Planners.
Korn has an office in the same building as CAI, and says the office is dark and locked. A call to the CAI office results in an answering machine recording saying they are closed for the holidays.
Passengers booked on the Costa Magica through CAI received cancellation letters last week from the cruise line. The letters said the cruise line had not been fully paid by CAI. In total there are about 150 passengers who did not get their payments forwarded to Costa Cruises, and are in danger of losing their bookings.
One passenger paid $1600 for a week long cruise for himself and his wife on a January 7, 2007 cruise. He has been notified by Costa that he must pay another $1000 if he wants the cruise, because they never received the final payment from CAI.
In a statement, Costa said that it canceled two groups on the upcoming Magica sailing and that two groups on a previous sailing would be charged on their credit cards for unpaid balances.
Another passenger said that he had received a retroactive bill for final payment after he returned from his Costa cruise Dec. 17. Costa said that they never got paid from Cruise Associates.
Other clients on future cruises are calling Cruise Planners. Passengers booked through the Cruise Planners arrangement with CAI will not have to worry. Cruise Planners is making sure the passengers get their cruise.
Cruise Associates International is a fictitious name registered by Tamarac Travel Agency Inc. Liz Compton, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, said neither is registered as a seller of travel with the state.
Compton said Tamarac Travel was formerly exempt from registering, but is not on the most recent list of exempt agencies. "They should not be selling travel," she said.
Supporting Information & Resources: Related Cruise Bruise Investigations
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