3-Year World Cruise Abruptly Canceled 2 Weeks Before It Was Scheduled to Set Sail

"I had the next three years of my life planned to live an extraordinary life, and now [I have] nothing," one would-be passenger told CNN



Life at Sea Cruises’ three-year cruise scheduled to set sail this month has officially been canceled.

Passengers who signed up for the headline-making voyage — which was originally due to depart from Istanbul, Turkey, on Nov. 1 and visit seven continents, 135 countries and 375 ports — received news of its cancellation on Nov. 17, CNN reported.

According to the outlet, the cruise was postponed to Nov. 11 and relocated from Istanbul to Amsterdam shortly before its original Nov. 1 departure date. It was then pushed back again, this time to Nov. 30.

Finally, less than two weeks before its third and final departure date, the voyage was canceled altogether.

Life at Sea did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

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On Nov. 17, Life at Sea revealed to passengers that the inaugural cruise was canceled, and that it had no ship, CNN reported.

The company also vowed to refund those who signed up for the cruise, whose costs ranged from $29,999 a year for a standard interior cabin all the way up to $109,000 per year for a luxurious suite with a large balcony.



On March 1, cruise line Miray International, which owns Life at Sea, officially started accepting bookings for the first-of-its-kind world voyage aboard its MV Gemini ship, but later decided that the vessel was too small for the cruise.

Instead, Life at Sea planned to buy a larger ship, the AIDAaura, which was set to be renamed the MV Lara, per CNN. After telling its passengers that the sale was taking longer than expected, however, news broke that another cruise company, Celestyal Cruises, bought the ship on Nov. 16.

The following day, Life at Sea’s former CEO, Kendra Holmes — who had resigned just days before the sale fell through — informed guests that the cruise was canceled. Holmes relayed the information in a 15-minute video given to passengers, one of whom provided it to CNN.

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On Nov. 19, two days after Holmes’ announcement, guests received another message, this time from Vedat Ugurlu, the owner of Miray International, who also stated that the cruise would not be departing, per CNN.

In his message, Ugurlu also confirmed that the cruise was canceled because the company could not afford the ship.

He claimed that Miray is not “big” enough to afford the ship, but the cruise line had “presented the project to investors, and had official approval from some of them to buy the vessel,” and after making a down payment on the ship, the investors “declined to support us further due to unrest in the Middle East,” per CNN.

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Some would-be cruise passengers were in Istanbul, where the ship was originally scheduled to depart from, when they received news of the cancellation, per CNN.

Many are stuck in a tough position, having spent tens of thousands of dollars on the now-canceled voyage that may take months to get reimbursed — and, in some cases, having sold or rented out their houses ahead of the cruise.

“There’s a whole lot of people right now with nowhere to go, and some need their refund to even plan a place to go — it’s not good,” one guest told CNN. (The passengers who spoke with the outlet wished to remain anonymous until their cruise refunds are issued.)

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“Sad, angry and lost” is how one would-be passenger described their current situation to CNN.

“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,” they continued. “I was proud and feeling brave, now I don’t trust anyone or anything. I know it’ll work out and life will go on, but I’m uncertain of the direction.”

Another told the outlet that they felt “incredibly sad and incredibly betrayed.”

“The company seems to have no consideration about what they’ve done to our lives,” the passenger said, adding, “I never imagined I’d be in this position as a senior citizen.”

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