Highly Anticipated Three-Year World Cruise Abruptly Canceled, Leaving Passengers Adrift

Promised Odyssey Turns Into a Cruise to Nowhere as Company Fails to Secure Vessel for Unprecedented Seafaring Experience

Gemini-cruise-ship-Miray

In a surprising turn of events, the highly anticipated three-year world cruise, which promised a distinctive opportunity for individuals to live at sea, has transformed into a voyage with an uncertain destination. According to a report by CNN, passengers received notices stating the cancellation of the cruise, attributing the decision to Life at Sea—a company established by Turkish tour operator Miray Cruises—which allegedly failed to secure a vessel for the rescheduled sailing date of December 1.

The cruise garnered widespread attention from both mainstream and international media, touting the novel concept of a prolonged sojourn aboard a cruise ship. Marketing campaigns echoed the uniqueness of the experience, emphasizing a journey spanning over 130,000 miles across seven continents, 140 countries, and 382 ports. Marketed as the “first reasonably priced, all-inclusive world cruise starting from only $77,026 per year based on double occupancy,” the package offered a promise to “Live, Work, and Explore from their Home at Sea,” with additional perks such as free medical visits, complimentary WIFI, and the option to invite friends and family.

Reports suggest that 111 cabins were reserved, prompting some participants to sell or rent their homes and dispose of possessions in preparation for the extended voyage. However, the dream was shattered when Life at Sea informed passengers that the cruise would not set sail, leaving them with assurances of housing support until December 1, return airfare, and eventual reimbursements in installments from mid-December to February 2024.

The abrupt cancellation reportedly coincided with Celestyal Cruises’ acquisition of the AIDAaura from Carnival Corporation for $60 million. Observers in Bremerhaven, Germany, witnessed the rebranding of the cruise ship to Celestyal Discovery, with a change in registry to Malta. The vessel is set to undergo refurbishment in Greece before entering service in 2024.

Life at Sea had consistently assured customers of the imminent handover of the cruise ship, citing delays. However, by early October, the company admitted that its crew had left the ship, and the handover and refit faced further setbacks. Originally scheduled for a grand departure on November 1 from Istanbul, the date was later moved to November 11 from Amsterdam, with a final mention of November 30 before the company fell silent.

Miray Cruises, based in Turkey, operated the smaller Gemini, a 19,000 gross ton cruise ship, before announcing plans to upgrade to a larger and more modern vessel for the three-year world cruise. While not explicitly naming the AIDAaura, Miray’s ship, referred to as Laura, aligned with the specifications of the 20-year-old Carnival cruise ship retired by AIDA in September. Miray’s owner cited financial constraints, blaming geopolitical events and investor withdrawal, expressing vague hope for a future attempt if another cruise ship could be secured. For now, what was envisioned as a groundbreaking three-year world cruise has devolved into a cruise to nowhere.

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