In November, Life at Sea Cruises canceled a three-year expedition that one woman had sold her house to join.
A devastated former flight attendant, Meredith Shay, told a media outlet that she spent 562 thousand dollars for a ship’s seventh-floor balcony stateroom.
The voyage was slated to depart Istanbul, Turkey, on November 1st and visit all seven continents, 135 nations, and 375 ports. After two postponements, Life at Sea informed guests on the 17th of November that the trip was canceled due to a lack of a ship.
Shay, who resides in Florida, was to board the cruise ship in the Bahamas on November 15.
The cruise ship AIDAaura was retired last summer and was supposed to be purchased by Life at Sea Cruises. It was scheduled to be renamed the MV Lara. The transaction was to close at the tail end of September, after which the ship would be prepared for its voyage to Istanbul by undergoing renovations while in dry dock in Germany.
Celestyal Cruises announced the acquisition of the AIDAaura on November 16, after weeks of speculation in which Life at Sea informed passengers on many occasions that the deal was running behind schedule.
Kendra Holmes, the former CEO of Life at Sea, acknowledged in a 15-minute video she produced for guests the next day that the voyage would not proceed. She quit days before and claimed she was not representing the parent business, Miray Cruises.
Life at Sea is owned by Vedat Ugurlu of Miray Cruises, who also sent a greeting to the guests. He apologized profusely and verified that the trip would not leave as scheduled because they could not afford the ship. Passengers were informed that the expedition would proceed in November 2024.
Beginning on December 15th, they will get refunds from Life at Sea in installments.
According to a passenger, one bright spot from the disastrous trip was the strong sense of friendship among the guests. A large number of people have banded together to plan spontaneous vacations, some to Patagonia and others around Europe.