Saturday, June 15, 2024

3-year world cruise remote workers paid over $30,000 a year for was canceled weeks before setting sail because there’s no ship

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Organizers have scuttled a heavily promoted three-year cruise, which promised to let remote workers (and more) travel the world for $30,000 per year, saying the company has no ship on which to ferry those adventurers.

Life at Sea Cruises initially announced the three-year voyage in March and took on additional passengers in June. But after twice delaying the initial Nov. 1 departure date, it cancelled it altogether on Nov. 17, reports CNN. That’s leaving many passengers without a place to call home and some stuck in Istanbul, Turkey, where the cruise was set to depart from.

The company says it will refund passengers, who put down tens of thousands of dollars on the cruise as deposits. But that money won’t come quickly, as repayments will be made in monthly installments and won’t begin until next month.

Life at Sea is also promising to pay for the hotel rooms and return trip airfares for passengers in Turkey.

Life at Sea did not respond to a request for comment from Fortune. The company’s website has not been updated as of Monday morning, either, and still has both a countdown to the start of the cruise and a link allowing people to reserve a cabin via wire transfer or credit card.

CEO Kendra Holmes reportedly resigned last week.

Shipping issues

In June, Life at Sea announced it had acquired a larger vessel for the trip, allowing it to accommodate 200 additional passengers. With that ship, the MV Lara, the company also raised the price of the trip from $30,000 to $38,513.

In a message to passengers, though, Life at Sea said the sale had fallen through. Another company bought the ship that was to be rechristened the MV Lara, and Miray Cruises, the parent firm of Life at Sea, couldn’t afford to buy another ship.

“Miray is not such a big company to afford to pay 40-50 million for a ship,” said Vedat Ugurlu, owner of Miray, in a messenger to passengers.

The company, he said, had “presented the project to investors, and had official approval from some of them to buy the vessel,” but after making the down payment those investors “declined to support us further due to unrest in the Middle East.”

That’s little comfort to some passengers who did not renew leases, sold their homes or rented them out to travel the world for three years.

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