A bit off topic this but (wait for it, here comes the link) one of the patterns in a recession/downturn is that small holiday companies start to have cash flow problems, some of them go bust and then their customers get let down.
With JustGulets this very nearly happened to me.
I would recommend using a ten foot boat pole when poking around on their web-site. It's still live so be warned - you may lose your money if you use them.
The facts (for all my holiday journalist chums are as follows):
1. I booked a gulet (turkish style cruising boat) with JustGulets back in April, "La Liberte" to be precise.
2. A few days before departure, JustGulets' Michael Philips (a name with a bit of form, you will discover if you Google around) calls me to say that La Liberte had developed "engine trouble" so we would now be on the Bolero. This turned out to be a bare faced lie : on my first evening aboard the Bolero, who would motor in next to me but La Liberte and eight happy customers. Very fishy.
3. Two days in I get a call from the Turkish agent saying that Michael Philips was "a crook", had failed to make the required payments and indeed had sent evidence of bogus money transfers. The agent wanted the Bolero's captain to return to port and terminate our trip. Fortunately I talked him out of that.
4. Suspiciously, at this point the "24 hour help line" for JustGulets went dead as did all Michael's other phone no.s. When he did re-surface three days later he told me that he had been in hospital with a kidney infection but (unfortunately) told the turkish agent that he's been in hospital with an eye infection. (He's not even that good at lieing!)
5. As I left Turkey the Turkish agent had still not been paid and Michael was still elusive.
Those are my facts.
My opinion is that this man is either a crook, incompetent or delusional. Possibly all three. In any case, I would strongly recommend not giving him, JustGulets or any of the other fronts he operates behind your cash.
Michael, if you are reading this - give it up. We're on to you - it's time to stop. Pay your debts. Get yourself an honest job you are capable of handling professionally.
Other stories I have heard (and in some cases seen the paperwork to "prove").
1. He went bust last year leaving several clients and suppliers in the lurch.
2. He owes people in Turkey money from other bookings this year. Court cases are pending.
3. He is being pursued in the courts in the UK and had to do a runner to Spain last year. With some cheek he failed to pay the company who moved his stuff to Spain.
Anyhow, for you holiday journalists looking for some examples for you "Tour Companies going bust" story here are a few more links to help you with your research.
The other names he is alleged to operate under are