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Refunds on Canceled Premier Sails Pending

September 24, 2000

Consumers left high and dry by the sudden suspension of service by Florida-based Premier Cruises, operator of the Big Red Boats, were still awaiting answers on compensation at the Travel section's press time last week. The company said it was suspending service "indefinitely" after its boats were seized Sept. 14 by creditors.

A recording on Premier's phone, (800) 327-9766, promised to provide information in "the near future" on how to claim refunds through the Federal Maritime Commission. Sandra L. Kusumoto, director of the commission's Bureau of Consumer Complaints and Licensing, said payments will be made through a $15-million surety bond posted by Premier, but the procedure was being worked out.

In the meantime, consumers holding tickets for canceled cruises should pursue claims through their credit card company or travel insurance company, she advised. Those who paid in cash and have no insurance "will probably have to go through the claims process" on the surety bond, she explained. For updates, see the commission's Internet site, http://www.fmc.gov.

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