Dozens of cruise ship bookings cancelled thanks to Sarasota based travel agency

Posted at 4:54 PM, Oct 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-30 17:59:24-04

Judy Go and her husband are out nearly $7,000 they paid to a travel agency, Legendary Journeys, only to have their trip cancelled this week.

The company is based out of Sarasota.

The Go's have been planning their trip for more than a year to fly to Italy, tour the country, then cruise to Miami.

They are seasoned travelers, and have never experienced a cancelation like this.

“We’ve been traveling for a long time. Since I retired we’ve been traveling several times a year,” Go said.
Just as their excitement was building, with their trip only a few weeks away, they opened their email to find a message from their cruise line.

“Legendary Journeys failed to make the required cruise fare payments to MSC cruises, and this reservation has been cancelled for non-payment.”
“I couldn’t believe it,” Go said.

They made their payments in full to Legendary Journeys months ago, they said.

They expected the agency gave the money to the cruise line and additional activities they booked in Italy.

“They said that the travel agent didn’t pay,” Go said.

They were also shocked since they have successfully booked trips through Legendary Journeys in the past.

The Go's say they’ve tried to contact the company several times by phone.
“No one’s answering,” Go said.

They did receive an email where a company representative listed reasons why the company is financially struggling.

Those reasons were also listed on a Facebook page for Al Ferguson, listed as a Vice President of the company.

On the post, he explains he is no longer providing travel services because of significant cancellations in their top travel program in Cuba, citing political impacts.

He also says hurricane season hurt their bookings as well as fear surrounding terrorism.

Additionally, Ferguson posted that employee theft has been a concern that has prompted the travel agency to take legal action.

ABC Action News spoke to Ferguson about the process.  He said all of the passengers will receive a full refund by the end of the year.

"I am totally responsible and I will continue to be responsible," said Ferguson.

He said the company is in the process of selling off its assets.

"We will continue to communicate with all of our guests about the process," said Ferguson.
The Go’s said they have been reimbursed about $1,000 for the portion of the trip they paid for with a credit card. The other $6,000 was paid through a check. Go says the company offered discounted rates for payment through a check.

The Go’s said they also purchased travel insurance, but the policy didn’t cover an agency closing.

Travel experts recommend always paying with a credit card. They also say you can check with your travel agency to make sure they are not the ones cashing your money. Instead, the agency should be giving the money to the cruise line, hotel or resort you are booking.

In your bank account, it should read that those entities are the ones processing your payment, not the travel agency.

WPTV contributed to this report.