January 22, 2001
Commodore and its sister line, Crown, declared chapter 11 in late December and ceased operations. As is usually the case in this kind of situation, customers were urged to apply to credit companies for refunds. We hear that numerous cruisers who charged their trips have had the credit reapplied. It’s not quite so simple for travelers who paid by check. Passengers were asked to fax requests for refund to Commodore headquarters (954-967-2148) and we haven’t heard from anybody who’s gotten a response, much less a check. A source at the Federal Maritime Commission tells us she thinks Commodore’s still trying to figure things out. It’s up to Commodore to make the first step in terms of refunds. If it cannot repay passengers, the Federal Maritime Commission, through which Commodore has a $15 million bond, will ante up. But be forewarned: it can take a while, sometimes more than a year, before you get your money. Another warning: Travelers booked on Crown Dynasty departed from a foreign port and its passengers are not covered by the FMC bond. So...those folks are more at the mercy of Commodore. We¹ve said it before, we¹ll say it again: we recommend you always pay for big ticket purchases like cruises with credit cards and/or get travel insurance. Not just any kind of travel insurance, but a policy that covers insolvency. And note: if you buy a policy through the cruise line you are not protected if it goes under so third-party insurers, like Travel Guard, may be a better bet. Always read that fine print.