A three-year, round-the-world cruise has been cancelled days before it was due to depart because there is no ship.
The Life at Sea Cruises voyage had initially been due to depart from Istanbul on 1 November but was pushed back to 11 November. Guests were told the ship would depart from Amsterdam instead.
The departure was then rescheduled for 30 November, but guests were told on 17 November that it had been cancelled.
The New York Post said that, on 16 November, Life at Sea Cruises’ former CEO Kendra Holmes sent passengers a recorded 15-minute video explaining the journey was cancelled.
Two days later, Miray Cruises owner Vedat Ugurlu said the company couldn’t afford to buy the ship it had planned to operate the cruise on.
“Miray is not such a big company to afford to pay 40-50 million [dollars] for a ship,” Mr Ugurlu said.
He said the company had made a down payment, but investors ‘declined to support us further due to unrest in the Middle East’.
As Cruise Hive put it: “There is no and never was a ship.”
According to reports, Life at Sea Cruises had intended to purchase AIDAaura and rename it MV Lara. Last week, Celestyal Cruises announced it had bought the ship.
Passengers have been told they will be refunded in monthly instalments, from next month. The company has also offered to pay for accommodation for passengers who had already arrived in Istanbul at the beginning of this month.
Business Insider reported that one woman Kimberly Arizzi, sold her apartment, furniture, clothes, and TV to pay for her retirement cruise.
One passenger told CNN: “There’s a whole lot of people right now with nowhere to go.”