Muriel Fitzgerald Jones | Chicago Reader

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Re: “The trip that sank before it sailed

Susan, your names are familiar to me, as I had poured over the Symphonic Voyages website. For the record, I am not 'angry,' --I am sad and regretful of the loss, both financial and emotional/social. A very early conversation with Eric impressed me with the possibilities of his concept. It would never have occurred to me that anyone would "put SV into bankruptcy on purpose." I was aware of the complexity and expense of his venture. I was also aware of the probable financial limitations that the relative cost of this cruise might have on potential patrons. I was then, as I continue to be now, impressed with his idea to the extent that I was willing to invest and risk pretty much my entire retirement allotment for travel into what I considered to be one perfectly-suited event.

Unlike Judy Denver, I DID receive a brief email mid-December, advising me of the bankruptcy. I had known Celebrity would not receive my name or money until mid-Dec. After that letter, I felt in the dark about my options but filed an insurance claim. Then the legal notice arrived from the US Bankruptcy Court, advising that the debtor (SV) was protected, and I was not and basically was not able to present a claim to the court until I received notice to do so. Until this newspaper item, I knew of no one else registered for the trip. I do not wish to whine about the financial aspect, but for others who might consider similar patronage with other businesses, take note of an insurance caveat: The insurance I purchased (the specific company was suggested as one possibility on the SV website) that would replace 100% of the cost of a cancelled trip, covered not one penny of this event. I should not have been surprised that the fine print included a carefully crafted sentence differentiating between bankruptcy of "your travel supplier" (apparently the cruise line itself) and "the agency from whom you purchased the Land/Sea Arrangements." SV falls into the latter not-covered category, and according to the response to my claim, "clearly is not covered." Lawyers will surely survive long after artists have become extinct.

As it turned out, I was unwilling to give up my first cruise experience entirely, or my airfare, so I managed to book the very same voyage, minus the symphonic enrichment. Naturally, by comparison to what I'd imagined with SV, and through no fault of the "supplier," there was no depth in the experience, so cruising itself is off my bucket list, and I'm ok with that fact.

I continue to support the concept of this type of interaction between entertainer and entertained. It is of great regret to me that the occasion did not occur. I also have empathy for the impact this must be having on the creative musician/business person whose brain-child it was. I will stay tuned.

MFJ in Traverse City, MI

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Posted by Muriel Fitzgerald Jones on 02/05/2012 at 11:26 AM

Re: “The trip that sank before it sailed

I, too, lost big money and what I considered an experience of a lifetime with others who shared my musical passions.... I wish Eric no further ill, but I sure will miss my small fortune on a fixed retiree's budget. It would be good to commune with others in the same non-boat.

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Posted by Muriel Fitzgerald Jones on 02/02/2012 at 1:13 PM

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