End of an Era? Gill’s Cruise Centre No Longer Taking Bookings

July 15, 2011

Volga River
(12:20 p.m. EDT) -- Travel agency and cruise discount bookings provider Gill's Cruise Centre has stopped taking new bookings after several major cruise lines ceased trading with the company this week.
Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Azamara and Fred. Olsen cruises all cut ties with Gill's, citing fears over the level of debt the company is carrying. In a move to prevent revenue loss, cruise lines have been taking bookings directly from Gill's customers.
Giles Hawke, Carnival's sales and customer services director, explained the decision to Travel Weekly, saying, “We have terminated our agency agreement with Gill's. We made a decision that we needed to do the best thing for our customers and assure their bookings and their peace of mind.”
Gill's Cruises was established more than 50 years ago and has grown to become one of the U.K.'s largest cruise retailers after focusing on selling cruises from 2005. Prior to this week's decision to stop accepting bookings, the family-owned business closed its London office in March.
Here are a few points of contact for Gill's customers who
are concerned about travel booked through the agency.
Gill's Web site provides the following statement: “Our existing clients with queries should please telephone our Client Services department on 0845 460 6094.”
Royal Caribbean has its own team of advisors to assist Gill's customers who have booked cruises on their ships and has a dedicated phone line (01932 834 345) and email address -- gills@rccl.co.uk -- set up for queries.
The Daily Mirror's Captain Greybeard blog also reminds readers that all Gill's customers who booked fly-cruises are protected by the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA).
According to a report in Travel Weekly, the ABTA is treating Gill's Cruise Centre as a financial failure and has withdrawn the company's membership in the association.
An ABTA spokesman said, "Any holiday booked through Gill's is fully protected financially and the cruise companies providing these holidays will honour all paid-for travel arrangements. Customers should expect to hear from their cruise line shortly. Customers who wish to contact their cruise line can do so using the contact details on their confirmation invoice."
--by Jamey Bergman, U.K. Web Content Manager