Life at Sea Cruises, a company that promised guests a three-year cruise experience where they could live on board full-time, has officially cancelled its sailing after being unable to secure a ship.
The cancellation comes just a couple of weeks after the ship was first supposed to set sail, on 1st November 2023. The embarkation date was postponed to 11th November, and the starting port changed from Istanbul to Amsterdam.
The cruise date then shifted once again to 30th November, but then last week, guests were notified that the cruise had been cancelled altogether.
Many guests had already travelled to Istanbul before the cruise was moved and were waiting in the city for confirmed plans. Some have said that they sold their homes in order to pay for the cruise, and are now left in a desperate situation.
The company behind Life at Sea, Miray Cruises, had not told guests that the reason for postponing the cruise was due to being unable to get a ship.
The plan was for the cruise line to purchase AIDAaura from German cruise line AIDA Cruises, and then rebrand it as MV Lara.
However, when the funds were not available to buy the ship, she was instead sold to Celestyal Cruises.
This wasn’t even the first ship that the cruise line had planned to use for the cruise. It originally wanted to sail with its ship MV Gemini, but then questions were raised about whether the ship was seaworthy. Despite this, MV Gemini has been sailing around the Mediterranean during 2023.
The company has stated that it will cover temporary accommodation costs for guests already in Istanbul and then begin to issue refunds for the cruise fares.
However, it will only pay refunds in monthly installments, despite many guests paying in lump sums. Guests are also being asked to initiate the refund request themselves.
Hopefully this does not become a situation where the cruise line is unable to afford the refunds, and guests can get their money back.
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Jenni Fielding is the founder of Cruise Mummy. She has worked in the cruise industry since 2015 and has taken over 30 cruises. Now, she helps over 1 million people per month to plan their perfect cruise holidays.