What rights will I have if the Pullmantur cruise company goes bankrupt?

The coronavirus health crisis has had a strong economic impact on the Pullmantur cruise company that, aggravated by financial problems, has been forced to file a bankruptcy in Spain.

In this way, Royal Caribbean Group and Cruises Investment have requested the “reorganization” of Pullmantur Cruises and have made this decision since “the winds caused by the” coronavirus “pandemic are too strong for Pullmantur to overcome without a reorganization”, reports Europa Press . In addition, the company had published a statement indicating the suspension of its cruises until November 15 due to the current situation.

According to the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU) , about 150,000 passengers could be affected by this situation of the company. For this reason, the OCU recalls the rights of consumers in these cases to find out how the insolvency of the trip organizer affects them .

“European regulations, specifically the Combined Travel Directive, establishes a series of rights for consumers affected by the insolvency of the trip organizer. These rights are also included in the General Law for the Defense of Consumers and Users”, he underlines the OCU. According to the regulations, if a consumer contracts a combined trip with Pullmantur, “it is the agency with which they have contracted who must respond”.

What are the consumer’s rights if the trip has not started?

If the contracted trip has not started, but the entire amount or at least part of it had already been deposited, the consumer has the following rights: 

  • You can terminate the contract without any type of penalty because the contracted service has not been provided. 
  • The traveler has the right to get their money back.
  • Another possibility is that the agency makes an alternative travel proposal so that the traveler can decide if it suits them. You have three days to decide. If you are not interested in the proposal, it is understood that you choose to terminate the contract. In this case, the traveler has the right to reimbursement of all amounts paid, or to take a combined trip of equivalent or higher quality whenever they can propose it. 

In this sense, Pullmantur Cruises has announced that it will compensate affected consumers with a trip of similar characteristics provided by another company in the group.

What if the bankruptcy occurs when the journey has begun?

  • The travel agency must continue the organized trip, without any additional price for the traveler, as stressed by the OCU. 
  • If the consumer does not accept the solutions proposed by the organizer (with a justified reason), or they are unacceptable proposals, the company must provide the consumer with equivalent transport to return to the place of origin, free of charge.

In any case, the cancellation is due to extraordinary reasons for which consumers are not entitled to additional compensation. Finally, the OCU notes that the European Directive “obliges the organizers and retailers of package tours in the European Union to provide a guarantee that covers contingencies in the event of insolvency” by creating a fund that has a insurance, an endorsement or other financial guarantee in situations of insolvency.