No Ship! 3-year-long cruise gets the axe just before sailing

No Ship! 3-year-long cruise gets the axe just before sailing

The chance to live at sea has came and gone before actually taking anyone out on the high seas.

The highly anticipated and much discussed offering from Life at Sea Cruises came out earlier this year with the promise that cult cruisers could sail away for three years, starting from US$30,000 (AUD$45,586) per annum.

Life at Sea’s inaugural offering was originally planned to depart from Istanbul on MV Gemini in November 2023 and visit over 100 tropical destinations. The company later announced that it was looking to its parent company – Miray Cruises’ – to purchase a larger ship called MV Lara  in July. But the plans went overboard after a slew of postponements and investor pull out led to Miray sending out a memo to the would-be cruisers.

Miray admitted in the memo that it had not been able to acquire the MV Lara, which was originally the AIDAaura.

Pool on the MV Lara (Life at Sea Cruises)

“Miray is not such a big company to afford to pay 40-50 million for a ship,” Miray Cruises CEO, Vedat Ugurlu, said in the memo.

Life at Sea has promised to refund all customers and reimburse costs for hotels and flights home for those who had arrived in Istanbul prior to the sailing, according to a memo sent to would-be travellers.

But this isn’t just like some other cancelled cruise itinerary. CNN reported that many prospective travellers had sold their homes, or had spent a period of time renting up until the cruise, leaving them essentially homeless and awaiting a hefty return which should arrive in the coming months.

Only adding to the disgruntled travellers’ plans to live at sea, the cruise line planned on operating successive three-year cruises and passengers could pay extra to stay on board – potentially indefinitely.

One traveller, who had sold her home, was Keri Witman, a marketing executive in Cincinnati. Witman told Business Insider she was looking forward to seeing the world without having to take many flights and the included Starlink internet connection on board meant she could work from anywhere around the globe.

“It’s just hard to switch your brain from thinking you have your next three years planned to having to figure it all out,” Witman said.

Witman admitted, however, that she was comparatively much better off than some of her cruising counterparts as she still had her job, a temporary apartment and could get her cat back from her friends. Despite the let down by Life at Sea Cruises. she remains determined to live the professional nomad life.

“I am hopeful that one of the companies is going to get it right at some point next year and there will be some sort of residential long-term cruise,” she said.

The Life at Sea Cruises website remains up and is advertising ‘available cabins’ despite the itinerary being cancelled.

Travel Weekly awaits official comment from Life at Sea Cruises.

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