East Anglia: Christmas breaks in ruins as Crusader Holidays goes into administration

HUNDREDS of holidaymakers looking forward to a Christmas break have had their plans ruined after an Essex coach company went into adminstration.

Crusader Holidays, based in Clacton, has called in administrators, putting the jobs of 34 employees at risk, and cancelling many of its scheduled overnight tours and day excursions.

The Confederation of Passenger Transport UK, the trade association for the coach industry, said customers would get their money back.

A spokesman said: “The Confederation of Passenger Transport UK, confirms that the Clacton-on Sea firm, Crusader Holidays has gone into administration.

“Crusader Holidays are a member of the Bonded Coach Holidays Scheme which protects customers’ money.

“Under the scheme, customers who have already paid for their package holiday, involving coach travel and at least one night’s accommodation, are protected and will get a refund in full.

“The administrators, Ernest & Young, will over the next few days contact customers directly to ensure that those customers who have not as yet taken their holiday will get claim forms to claim their refund. While appreciating the disappointment and upheaval these situations cause to people looking forward to their holidays, it does highlight the benefits of customers ensuring the package holiday they book is with a company that is the member of the Bonded Coach Holiday scheme.”

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A former Crusader Holidays coach driver, who did not wish to be named, said: “This is going to affect hundreds of people – Crusader coaches pick up all over East Anglia.

“Many customers will be looking forward to going on holiday, but in reality they’re in for a big disappointment.

“It’s a difficult time for every business at the moment, but this is usually a busy time of the year for the coach industry. There are a lot of people going to the continent for the Christmas markets.

“A lot of other coach companies are going to be fairly booked up now so I don’t know if people will be able to re-book before Christmas.”

Penny Strange, 59, of Ipswich, was due to travel with Crusader Holidays to Bruges in Belgium on a four-day Christmas market break.

She said: “The company tried to call me on Wednesday – two days before I was due to travel – but I wasn’t in so they left a message saying they had important information.

“By the time I got the message their office was closed. I looked on their website, but it was down.

“I’m very disappointed, I’ve been looking to get away since October and I think I’ll be hard-pushed to find anything else now.

“I paid �306 for the holiday. I’ve been told that I should get it all back, but it won’t be in time to book anything else before Christmas.

“I’ve travelled with Crusader several times before and they’ve always been very reliable.”

Maurice Moses, of Ernst and Young, said: “The administrators are now exploring the option of selling the business and assets of the group.”