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Credit: Pandaw

Pandaw Cruises closes as Asian river cruise specialist cancels all sailings

Author: Harriet Mallinson

Published on:

Updated on:

Pandaw Cruises has been forced to close due to the ongoing impact of Covid-19 on travel and all Asian river cruises cancelled.

Pandaw Cruises, an Asian river specialist, has ceased operations, it was announced this morning.

Three factors lead to the company's demise. First was the continuing impact of coronavirus on international leisure travel.

The second was the closure of Pandaw's destinations in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and India.

Thirdly the cruise company cited the critical political situation in Myanmar.

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Pandaw had struggled to find investors despite forward bookings for a 2022 restart remaining "strong."

Consequently, Pandaw Cruises said it had "no alternative but to cease its river cruise operations" as a result of financial liquidity and failure to find additional funding.

- READ MORE: Eight ways to future-proof your cruise -

The brand is unable to continue layup operations of its seventeen ships for another year followed by "essential refurbishment to prepare for renewed operations."

Pandaw founder Paul Strachan commented on the closure: “This is a very sad moment for me, my family, our crews and clients. It marks the end of an era for all of us after twenty-five years of real adventure."

Pandaw deck min
Pandaw had struggled to find investors despite forward bookings for a 2022 restart remaining "strong." Credit: Pandaw

He continued: "We are truly sorry to disappoint our regular passengers who were so looking forward to making a trip after the lifting of travel restrictions.

"We are also heartbroken for our three hundred plus crew members and shoreside personnel who have stood by Pandaw and were hoping to get going again next year.”

- READ MORE: How to pick the river cruise line that’s right for you -

As for those impacted by the cancelled cruises, Pandaw said on its website: "Passengers or their agents will be contacted in due course by the appointed company liquidator."

If holidaymakers booked through a UK travel agent and flights were included their trip will be both ATOL and ABTA protected which means money will be protected.

Pandaw interior min
Pandaw was founded in 1995 and pioneered river expeditions in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and India. Credit: Pandaw

Those affected should also contact their travel insurer as some policies may cover you in the event of your company going bust - the sooner you file this the better.

Look out for End Supplier Failure - if you have this in your travel insurance policy you may be able to claim back the cost of your trip.

- READ MORE: Best cruise lines in the world revealed -

If you paid for your holiday by credit card, you may also have a claim against your credit card company under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

If you paid using a debit card, you might be able to reverse the transaction via the Mastercard and Visa Chargeback scheme. The majority of high-street banks are part of this.

Pandaw ship min
Pandaw Cruises: "Passengers or their agents will be contacted in due course." Credit: Pandaw

However, it's worth remembering that when a company folds it can take a fair bit of time before you get your money back.

Pandaw was founded in 1995 and pioneered river expeditions in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and India with its iconic boutique ships.

- READ MORE: Three major mistakes to avoid making when cruising -

Up till the impact of Covid, Pandaw had enjoyed the support of a loyal following of travellers, high occupancy and year on year growing revenues, with positive financial results.

Despite the closure of Pandaw Cruises, the Pandaw Charity, which has done much to support people in Myanmar during the ongoing crisis there, will continue its work under the guidance of its trustees.

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