Payout Plan Approved in Cruise Bankruptcy Case


NEW YORK -- The checks are not in the mail yet, but the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District here finally approved a payout plan in the Regency Cruise Line bankruptcy case. The cruise line declared bankruptcy in the fall of 1995.

As reported, the New York law firm, Freehill, Hogan & Mahar, that is handling the payout for U.K.-based Newcastle Protection & Indemnity Association, the firm that secured the cruise line's Federal Maritime Commission bond, began mailing settlement papers and claim forms to affected agents and consumers.

Heather Hardy, director of the law firm's coordinating center, said the firm believed the $15 million FMC bond would cover reimbursement of cruise fares and port charges for the 15,000 affected passengers, who were booked to depart on Regency sailings from U.S. ports between October 1995 and January 1997. Air fares, pre- and post- cruise packages and departures scheduled for ports outside the U.S. are not covered by the FMC bond.

Hardy said the mailing of the paperwork is being conducted on a sailing-by-sailing basis, and is a "long, slow process." As of early February, the appropriate papers had been mailed only for those on sailings through November 1995, Hardy said. Last November, ARTA marked the anniversary of the cruise line's shutdown by calling for the "swift payment of outstanding claims."

In response to the new developments in the case, Georgia Powell of Summerlin Park Travel in Fort Myers, Fla., co-chair of ARTA's cruise committee, said, "It's kind of like the caps case. When they call me and tell me I've got my check then I'll be happy."

The settlement packets are being sent either to agencies or the consumers, depending how the claim was filed, Hardy said. Agents with questions can call the coordinating center at (212) 425-1883.


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