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Promoter of failed R. Kelly cruise goes out of business

Promoter of failed R. Kelly cruise goes out of business

By J. Alan Hayes

Concert Cruise, LLC, a company operating out of Tucson, AZ, has recently gone out of business and several complaints from consumers have been filed with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The defunct company sold tickets to a recently-cancelled cruise aboard the Carnival Destiny, and has allegedly failed to provide customers with refunds.

The company originally sponsored the "Love Letter Cruise," selling tickets that ranged in price from $999 to $2999. The cruise was scheduled for October 1-6, 2012, sailing from Miami to the Caribbean and back. High-profile R&B singer R. Kelly was contracted to headline the event and perform two shows throughout the six-day cruise. Other acts initially set to perform included Walter Jones, Albert Torres, and the Spanish Harlem Orchestra.

R. Kelly announced on August 10 that he was pulling out of the show due to nonpayment on the part of the promoter, Concert Cruise, LLC. According to the singer's official website, "Concerts Cruise LLC has been unable to meet its financial obligations to a scheduled cruise with featured performer R. Kelly and will therefore have to cancel this cruise. R. Kelly had been looking forward to the cruise and was ready, willing and able to perform for fans. He is sorry for any disappointment but plans to see his fans very soon on a U.S. tour. Ticket holders should contact Concerts Cruise LLC to handle refunds."

After R. Kelly's withdrawal, Concert Cruise, LLC allegedly contacted customers to inform them of the event's cancellation, stating that the company would "handle all applicable refunds at point of purchase." Following this, the BBB of Southern Arizona received 14 complaints within a month from consumers across the United States stating that they were unable to contact the company in order to get a refund for their now useless tickets.

According to Pollstar, the company posted the following message to their now-inactive website on August 20:
"Concerts Cruise has asked all point of purchase vendors to honor all charge backs, even if you registered last year. Feel free to forward a copy of this communication to your credit card company," the message said. "Every section of our website indicated that cancellation insurance was mandatory. We encourage you to use this communication as final proof of cancellation and file a claim with your insurance carrier today. Concert Cruise has gone out of business."

The website, [http://www.concertscruise.com/], currently displays a login screen with a disclaimer stating "Cruise Cancelled."

Vance Gulliksen, a spokesman for Carnival Cruise Lines, told reporters that the "Love Letter Cruise" was officially cancelled at the promoter's request, regardless of rumors that it would continue without R. Kelly's performance. According to Cruise Critic, "all passengers booked for the theme cruise have the option of a full refund or rebooking for the same cruise directly through Carnival Cruise Lines."

As of yet, the BBB of Southern Arizona has been unable to identify the owner of Concert Cruise, LLC, but the bureau has been in contact with the company's attorney. In the meantime, the BBB has been alerting people about the company and has issued several tips online for consumers to help with purchasing cruise tickets safely.

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