- Life at Sea Cruises has canceled its 3-year expedition after being unable to secure a suitable vessel.
- According to the NYT, some passengers spent their life savings and sold their homes to pay for the trip.
- Now, a group of passengers claim they still haven’t gotten their money back.
A group of passengers who were due to embark on a three-year round-the-world voyage with Life at Sea Cruises before it was cancelled Two weeks before his departure, a criminal investigation is required against the company, as customers claim they are trying to refund $16 million.
The New York Times reports that a coalition of 78 passengers has sent a letter to U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe for the Southern District of Florida, asking her office to open a criminal investigation into Life at Sea’s parent company, Miray Cruises. .
According to the Times, the letter accused Miray of taking approximately $16 million in client funds and using the cash to buy a ship.
Miray Cruises ultimately did not purchase a ship capable of accommodating more than a thousand passengers for three years. The company abruptly canceled the trip in November, just two weeks before the maiden voyage.
Passengers wrote in a letter to Lapointe that the company assured customers that their payments would not be used for upfront capital, The Times reported.
A spokeswoman for Lapointe’s office and Miray Cruises did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
For many, Life at Sea Cruises initially offered an attractive proposition: Travel around the world for three years for about $38,500 a year.
Some customers sold their homes or businesses to take advantage of the rare opportunity to travel on a 140-city itinerary cruise while potentially spending significantly less than the average American family spends in a year.
Keri Whitman, a Cincinnati-based marketing executive, previously told Business Insider that she sold her home to travel. He said the cruise gave him the chance to travel the world without the burden of flying, and the ship’s Internet connection would allow him to monitor his work remotely.
Those plans were derailed after Miray Cruises announced on November 17 that it was unable to secure a suitable ship for passengers to travel on.
“Miray is not a big enough company to pay 40-50 million for a ship,” Vedat Ugurlu, CEO of Miray Cruises, said in a memorial letter.
Weeks before the cruise’s maiden voyage, Successful wrote in another note to clients that the company was “facing difficulties” buying the ship because investors backed out of its plans.
The company was also troubled by management issues months before the voyage, and in May cut ties with Life at Sea and Miray Cruises. Some passengers, including Kimberly Arizzi, pulled out of the plans amid problems within the company. Arizzi, who was one of the first to sign up for the trip, previously told BI that he received a refund of the $5,000 down payment for the fare.
But now, customers seeking a criminal investigation against Miray Cruises claim they have yet to see any refunds, while some, including pensioners, say they are now homeless or looking for work after putting so much money into the illness. A fateful cruise according to The Times.
David Purcell, a 78-year-old retired lawyer who sold his house and car, told the Times, “Some people gave up everything they had and now they’re broke or homeless or wandering from cruise to cruise because they have nowhere to go” to get fares and recover from their loss after his wife died. spoke.
Adam, from Bristol, UK, told the Press Times that he spent six figures and paid in advance to get a discount on the cruise fare. After the trip was canceled, he was diagnosed with cancer. He is reportedly now trying to find a job to pay for his mortgage and treatment.
A GoFundMe page organized by another Life at Sea passenger has been set up for Pers.
“Unfortunately, for Adam and many others, this dream turned into a nightmare when the trip was canceled and refunds were not issued,” the GoFundMe page reads. “Adam made many sacrifices to take this amazing once-in-a-lifetime trip, including quitting his job and selling his possessions and renting out his home to pay for it.”
The GoFundMe organizer did not respond to a request for comment.