I and over 100 others signed up for a Mediterranean cruise sponsored, managed and to be executed in June 2013 by Merry Edwards Winery, Fine Food and Wine Cruise.com, and Windstar Cruise Line. I have made three (of four) payments of deposits totaling $5050. I was informed in an email from Jonathan Baltuch of Fine Food and Wine Cruise.com on 12/19/12 that the cruise was canceled. My efforts to reach his office to actually speak with Mr. Baltuch were met first by constant busy signals and later by a recorded message indicating that the office was on vacation until after Christmas.
Mr. Baltuch's email indicated that we should file a claim against the trip insurance we were all encouraged to purchase (the price of which had been quoted and scheduled for payment as part of the first deposit installment) to determine what coverage would be provided by the carrier. Other than conveying that the cancellation was due to a contract dispute between Mr. Baltuch and Windstar, his email showed no concern for the refunding of our substantial deposits already paid.
In attempting to secure the return of my money, I have contacted my credit card company, American Express, which is seeking to be helpful but is unlikely to provide any recovery of funds since the payments are already outside of their 60 day claims window. Further, I have spoken with Travel Guard, the trip insurance carrier, and they claim no coverage for contract disputes. A fact likely known to Mr. Baltuch all the time. Is this fraud on the part of Mr. Baltuch? While I make no allegation of such, given that he is responding to neither our emails or phone calls, it certainly doesn't look or feel honest and above board.
Mr. Baltuch, please return our money as we have received neither goods nor services in consideration and you have not, in anyway discernable to us, earned it.