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Dear Anita,

Help! My husband and I planned a wonderful 10-day cruise in January on Renaissance Cruise Lines. I can hear your “oh no” from here. The conditions of the booking required us to make payment in full by June, which we did…by check. (Did I hear you say “oh no” again?) This was to be the trip of a lifetime for us, and even worse, another couple opted to go with us and also paid in full.

It gets even better: Our daughter is a travel agent, and being the doting parents we are, we threw the business her way. Is there anything we can do to get our money back? We have no experience with this, and even our daughter is at a loss as to what to do next. We honestly aren’t stupid people (at least we didn’t think so), but this has us rethinking future travel plans. We aren’t afraid to fly; we’re willing to go on a trip. We just don’t know how to deal with this.


Kim H.
Milwaukie, OR


Dear Kim,

Like you, many veteran cruisers and travel agents did not expect a cruise line with such a high-quality product and reputation as Renaissance Cruises to go out of business so abruptly. Therefore, many paid in cash for their upcoming Renaissance cruises.

Because Renaissance did not sail from any U.S. ports, it did not need a Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) certified bond in place that would cover its clients in case of default. Instead, what you need to do is file a claim at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida. There is a February 12, 2002, deadline for filing proof of claims related to Renaissance Cruises, which filed for Chapter 11 protection September 25. The court established a special post office box to receive claims. The address is:

United States Bankruptcy Court
Renaissance Claims
P.O. Box 019169
Miami, FL 33130

If you have questions on how and where to file proof of claims you can contact:

First Union Financial Bank
Claim Track Service Group
210 North Ridgecrest Lane, Suite 100
Jacksonville, FL 32259

You can also e-mail First Union Financial Bank at renaissancecruise@mail.com.

Bankruptcy proceedings are a lengthy process, and there is no guarantee that you will receive any money back. All you can do at this point is file a claim and keep your fingers-crossed.

If there is a lesson to be learned from this, it is to pay by credit card. Most credit cards offer consumer protection. To err on the side of caution, especially if you pay with cash, purchase third party insurance to protect against supplier default (a.k.a. bankruptcy). Recently, several major insurance companies have dropped supplier default from their policies, but there are still several that offer it.

I hope I’ve been helpful. Happy travels!

Anita Dunham-Potter

Filled Under Ombudsman