Couple expected Mediterranean dream cruise, not losing $6,000

Couple expected Mediterranean dream cruise, not losing $6,000 »Play Video
Sharon and Marty Cresalia were hoping for a cruise to the Mediterranean; instead, they may be out $6,000 after the cruise company told them the trip was canceled but has yet to refund their money.

PORTLAND, Ore. – Marty and Sharon Cresalia of West Linn got an expensive surprise when the money they paid for a cruise disappeared.

For them it all started with a bottle of wine when they were at Merry Edwards, which is a winery in California.

They saw a brochure for a two-week wine cruise through the Mediterranean, stopping at places like Rome and Venice in June of this year.

They started making payments to the cruise company, Fine Wine and Food Cruise, out of Georgia, owned by Jonathan Baltuch.

The couple planned visits to the sights of Rome and took Italian lessons.

They had paid about $6,000 – about half of the total – when they received an email from Fine Wine and Food Cruise.

"(It) told us the trip was canceled, and we'll get back to you in January with options for your deposits," said Marty. "And it was like, what do you mean options?"

Their option may be their money is gone.

The company will not answer their calls and emails. They believe the 200 other passengers are in the same boat.

The KATU Problem Solvers called and emailed Fine Wine and Food Cruise and received no answer.

But the Problem Solvers did learn more about the owner's other business, Shoes Only Travel – sex cruises with a very explicit website.

"If all that had been known, we probably would not have booked this trip," said Sharon.

Now they just want to get their money back so they can take that dream trip together.

"He has, I think, convinced himself that it's his money," said Marty. "And until he decides that he should be a law-abiding citizen, he's just going to go travel on everyone else’s money."

Here's something that can help you in this kind of case.

If you pay by credit card, you have a better chance of getting your money back. The Cresalias did pay and are asking their credit card company for that refund.

The Georgia Consumer Protection Office is now investigating.

If you have a problem, contact the Problem Solvers. You can email them at problemsolvers@katu.com. You can also call them. The number is 503-736-3415.