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Nautical Cruise Lines in Freeport closes down

Nautical Cruise Lines, a Freeport pleasure boat rental company that offered dinner cruises as well as receptions for weddings and other celebrations, has closed its doors.

Owner Anthony Gillespie, reached online, said, "Nautical Cruise Lines is no longer in business. All clients are receiving refunds on any deposits given or have been referred to other yacht companies where their deposits have been transferred."

According to a Dun & Bradstreet report, Nautical Cruise Lines Inc. reported in November that the company's most recent annual sales were an estimated $1.2 million. Neither Gillespie nor other owners responded to questions on how many customers were affected or the reason for going out of business.

Already one customer has received a refund check for $3,000. Elise Schmitt, 30, of Holtsville, said she got a voice-mail message on Jan. 13 from a cruise line representative apologizing for leaving a message but saying that the company was canceling her June 19 wedding booking.

She said she went into "damage control," found a new venue and then set about getting her refund, which she said she was told would come "in a timely fashion." But calls to the company were unfruitful, she said, as its number was out of service and the Web site has since posted a suspension notice.

She said the check arrived in the mail on Wednesday, just a few days after a televised news segment about her plight aired.

Madalyn F. Farley, acting commissioner of the Nassau County Office of Consumer Affairs, said her office has received complaints from two Nautical customers also looking for information on refunds. She said an investigator spoke with a company representative, who indicated that refunds would be made within the next 12 days.

Still, Farley advised affected consumers to file complaints with her office, so "their names will be on file. We'll do our best to make sure they receive those deposits."

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