Life at Sea Cruises cancels $40K/year trip less than a week before departure

Laura Hamilton feeds seals at Sea Life in Weymouth

The Life at Sea Cruise — which was billed as one of the most luxurious lines in existence — has left behind a sea of irate customers after they canceled the once-in-a-lifetime trip less than a week before it was due to set sail. 

Attendees of the cruise forked over a little more than $38,500 per person, per year, to attend the three-year trip that was scheduled to circumnavigate the globe. 

The all-in price of $231,000 had people selling their homes for the opportunity to, reportedly, see all the world’s countries in luxury. 

Instead, the parent company of the cruise cancelled the trip — which was set to leave from Istanbul, Turkey, on November 11 — by simply sending an email to the patrons. 

Vedat Ugurlu, CEO of Life at Sea’s parent company Miray Cruises, said that the cancellation was due to “investor withdrawal.”

“While we’re in talks to acquire a similar vessel, if the December 1st sail is jeopardized, we offer alternative departure dates or expedited refunds,” he said. “Although we could use our current vessel, the Gemini, we remain committed to delivering the promised larger, newer vessel.”

COO Ethem Bayramoglu then sent a follow-up email, in which he wrote, “In case we weren’t clear, the Life at Sea cruise trip is cancelled.”

He also said all passengers would be given full refunds in installments between December and February.

Hotel accommodations in Istanbul will also be covered until December 1, and “subsequent travel expenses to your chosen destination will be reimbursed,” Ugurlu said in his statement.

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Prior to its final cancelation, the cruise was plagued by multiple delays. 

The cruise was originally due to depart Istanbul, Turkey, on November 1, but shortly before that date, departure was postponed to November 11 and relocated to Amsterdam in the Netherlands, and then to November 30, again from Amsterdam.

But on November 17 – less than two weeks before the third departure date – passengers were informed the cruise was off.

Many of the would-be passengers have given up their whole lives to join the cruise — and now, they have nowhere to go. 

“I’m very sad, angry and lost,” one traveler said 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. 

“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.”

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