'I'm Very Sad, Angry, and Lost': 3-Year Cruise Is Canceled

Life at Sea Cruises says it doesn't have the funding for a ship
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 24, 2023 6:49 AM CST
Updated Nov 26, 2023 7:00 AM CST
'I'm Very Sad, Angry, and Lost': 3-Year Cruise Is Canceled
   (Getty Images / danielsbfoto)

"Although we are all disappointed and frustrated that we didn't sail this time, it is important to us that you feel positive overall about your experience with us." That's unlikely. The message was issued to would-be passengers of Life at Sea Cruises' inaugural three-year voyage, who were originally set to depart Istanbul, Turkey, on Nov. 1. The date got pushed twice to later November dates. On Nov. 17 came the first of a series of messages from the company: The cruise would not happen. The company, it turns out, has no ship. As CNN reports, those passengers are, in many cases, out more than a dream.

Though the company has promised to refund their money by February—Business Insider reports the cost was about $115,500 per person—some say they have nowhere to go because they rented or sold their home, expecting to have a home at sea through 2026. CNN explains that Life at Sea Cruises had intended to buy the AIDAaura, which was being retired over the summer. Passengers who asked about the status of the planned September sale were reportedly told it was taking longer than thought. On Nov. 16 the ship was bought—by another company. The owner of Miray Cruises, the parent company of Life at Sea, on Nov. 19 said the company just didn't have the needed funds.

In a message to customers, Vedat Ugurlu said, "Miray is not such a big company to afford to pay 40-50 million for a ship," but that it had "presented the project to investors, and had official approval from some of them to buy the vessel." He said a down payment had been made, but investors "declined to support us further due to unrest in the Middle East." One person who had signed up for the cruise, which had been slated to stop in 140 countries, tells CNN, "I'm very sad, angry and lost. I had the next three years of my life planned to live an extraordinary life, and now [I have] nothing. I'm having a hard time moving forward." (More cruises stories.)

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