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A three-year voyage organized by Life at Sea reportedly abandoned several travelers when it unexpectedly terminated the trip only a few weeks before its planned start date.
As reported by CNN, the unique opportunity was cancelled only fourteen days prior to its planned departure due to unavailability of the ship. The boat was originally supposed to leave from Istanbul, Turkey on November 1st, but the journey was delayed multiple times. The new “confirmed” date was November 11th with a change in destination from Turkey to Amsterdam. However, the company later postponed the date once again to November 30th.
Guests who purchased tickets paid a range of $29,999 per month to $109,000 per year, depending on the size of their room. They were intending to travel to all seven continents, 135 countries, and 375 ports on the ship.
On November 17th, after weeks of silence from the company, guests who had sold their homes, shipped their belongings, and traveled to Turkey were informed that their voyage was cancelled, as reported by ABC. Kendra Holmes, the former CEO of Life at Sea, released a 15-minute video to explain the heartbreaking news. According to reports, Holmes had stepped down from her position a few days earlier.
Several passengers who had booked one of the 111 cabins were not expecting the sudden cancellation and are now stranded without a place to go. The company has assured to reimburse all passengers who were ready to board the ship, but the refunds will be given in monthly payments and may not be complete until late February. Furthermore, Life at Sea is also covering transportation and lodging expenses until December 1st for any guest who has already arrived in Istanbul.
During an interview with CNN, an unnamed passenger expressed concern for the current situation, stating that many people have no destination and require their refund in order to make alternative plans. The situation is not ideal at the moment.
According to Insider, Kimberly Arizzi sold her apartment, clothes, and furniture in order to afford a luxurious trip that she hoped would start her retirement.
Miray International, the parent company for Life at Sea, had started accepting payments and booking for the first-of-its kind trip at sea on 1 March. At the time, the plan was to use the MV Gemini Ship. Yet, upon further evaluation, Miray reportedly decided the vessel wasn’t big enough.
According to CNN, the next vessel planned for use by Life at Sea was the AIDAaura, which they intended to purchase and rename the MV Lara for an excursion. However, Life at Sea had informed guests that the acquisition of the MV Lara was experiencing delays. Nonetheless, it was reported that Celestyal Cruises had bought the ship on November 16th.
On 19 November, two days after passengers were notified of the trip cancellation, Vedat Ugurlu, the owner of Miray International, stated that the company was unable to buy the ship. Additionally, Ugurlu stated that Miray had presented the project to investors and received official approval from some of them, but after making a down payment, the investors withdrew their support due to instability in the Middle East.
During a conversation with CNN, a potential world traveler expressed feeling “sad, angry, and directionless”.
“I had mapped out the next three years of my life to be full of extraordinary experiences, but now I feel like I have nothing,” they expressed. “It’s been difficult for me to move on from this setback. I used to be confident and fearless, but now I find it hard to trust others or the future. I know that things will eventually fall into place and life will go on, but I’m unsure of which path to take.”
After the trip was cancelled, numerous individuals on the internet shared their thoughts and showed compassion for those who were left stranded or let down by the unsuccessful journey.
The Independent has reached out to Miray International and Life at Sea for a response.
The information was obtained from the Independent website.
The data was gathered from independent.co.uk.