Azamara Cruises has filed a lawsuit against Cox & Kings,
The Americas, alleging the tour operator took money from its guests for land
tours but failed to pay the local providers.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in if Florida, comes as
questions swirl about the viability of Cox & Kings and its subsidiaries
around the world.
Calls to Cox & Kings offices in the U.S. and its parent
in the U.K. went unanswered Monday, as did calls to its toll-free lines for
customers and agents.
Likewise, a Google
listing shows the company's headquarters on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles
to be "permanently closed."
Questions about the company's viability come just a few
months after Cox & Kings, The Americas
-- in response to reports of debt issues involving Cox & Kings Ltd.
of India, one of the world's oldest travel companies -- insisted in August that its operations
were fully independent.
"We want to reassure all stakeholders in the United
States that there is no disruption in our U.S. operations whatsoever," Cox
& Kings, The Americas said in the statement issued in early August. "Neither
have there been any cancellations nor interruptions, either to current business
or that booked for future travel. These have been reconfirmed with our vendor
network, ensuring continued seamless arrangements, including guests traveling
to India from the U.S."
Based in Los Angeles, Cox & Kings, The Americas at the
time said it was a direct subsidiary of Cox & Kings Travel Ltd. UK, which
itself operates independently from Cox & Kings Ltd. (India).
The company also emphasized that "as an active member
of USTOA, significant customer protection is required and carried. The business
also holds supplemental insurance policies, such as errors & omissions,
which are well above industry standards, and does so to offer additional peace
of mind to our clients."
The U.S. Tour Operators Association (USTOA) did not immediately respond to inquiries Monday
about the status of Cox & Kings, The Americas.
Virtuoso removed the company from its preferred standing
last month. Since then, the company has failed to respond to requests for
comment and has let its public relations firm go.
Azamara's suit was filed on Sept. 27, alleging breach of
contract involving tours Cox & Kings books for its cruise passengers in
Asia, Europe and South America.
While many of the
documents related to the suit have been sealed at Azamara's request, the
original complaint said losses and damages "well exceed the requisite
$75,000 jurisdictional requirement."