Van Gogh Cruise Line, which operates Van Gogh, the 15,400-ton, 500-passenger ship, has closed this week due to "massive increase in fuel prices and the devaluation of the pound to the euro".

It seems the ship and the company couldn't have suffered any worse luck over the past five months. To give you a quick recap of events, it all began when the ship's former operator Travelscope went into administration back in December 2007.

The 3-month world cruise on January 4, 2008 however was saved -- by a last minute effort made by the Dutch-owners, Club Cruise and the Association of British Travel Agents. The cruise went on quite successfully into it ran into a major hitch in Madeira toward the end; because of a financial dispute with Travelscope's administrators, the ship was held in Funchal for a few extra days. It finally arrived back in the U.K. on April 6 with its 500 holidaymakers.

The next thing we hear is that Van Gogh is cancelling the remainder of its summer cruises due to the fact it was denied ABTA membership and would not sail again until November. A Van Gogh spokesman said at that that future itineraries (including Christmas markets in Europe) would be out soon.

Van Gogh is to be chartered to the Russian market by company Metropolis Tur from June to October.

In a statement the cruiseline said: "After careful consideration and in light of the changes in the market conditions, with the massive increase in fuel prices; the devaluation of the pound to the euro, it is with much regret that Club Cruise Entertainment & Travelling Services Europe N.V has decided that the Van Gogh will not now be sailing from the UK in the foreseeable future and therefore, disappointedly, Van Gogh Cruise Line Limited will no longer be in operation."

Now it's clear that the line is defunct.

--by Kelly Ranson, Associate Editor