Woman sold apartment for 3-year world cruise, now changing
- A cruise announced in March, with plans to sail around the world, is now in limbo.
- Prospective passengers paid down payments on rooms costing up to $1[ads1]09,000 a year, per CNN.
- Customers are now demanding refunds amid internal uncertainty, a potential passenger told Insider.
Customers who spent thousands of dollars on a multi-year cruise billed to hit every continent are demanding their money back after problems arose with the cruise line’s founders months after the venture was announced.
The first-of-its-kind MV Gemini Cruise, announced at the end of February, was due to launch from Istanbul in November, with plans to visit all seven continents and 135 countries. The voyage is now plagued with management problems that make customers wary of jumping on board.
The MV Gemini cruise was organized by Miray Cruises and its subsidiary Life at Sea Cruises. However, ties between Life at Sea at Miray for the project were severed this month, according to CNN, citing the former CEO of Life at Sea Cruises.
In a press release on March 10, Miray Cruises mentioned that the ship would be “overhauled” ahead of the voyage, now months away. Miray Cruises did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment, but said in a webinar for passengers in May that the trip was still ongoing, according to CNN.
Kimberly Arizzi was among the first to sign up in March, sending a $5,000 down payment for the cruise at the time, in direct contact with the Life at Sea sales team, Arizzi told Insider. But the uncertainty surrounding the ship and the staffing disruption caused her and other potential passengers to scale back their plans.
“I thought I had my life set up for the next few years,” Arizzi told Insider. “It’s not just the furniture I lost, it was boat-topia – the idea of being in a like-minded community, everyone doing something together for the first time ever.”
A woman sold her apartment ahead of the trip
Arizzi, who lives in Chicago, sold thousands of dollars worth of clothes, furniture and televisions in preparation for the cruise. She recently retired and had also sold her apartment, moved to a park trailer, she said.
Jim Cremer, another potential passenger, told Insider that the trip was initially a “dream trip” but that right now he’s “not sure Miray can make it.”
In a Life at Sea community Facebook group with nearly 800 members, Mike Petterson, Life at Sea’s former CEO, wrote that his company was issuing refunds after a split with Miray, casting doubt that it would be ready to sail by November.
Arizzi’s deposit was refunded on April 20, she told Insider. Potential customers have until the end of June to send deposits amid the fracas, according to Petterson.
Petterson did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment.
The two companies that organize the trip have parted ways
Arizzi reiterated that there had been a breakdown between Life at Sea and Miray, with parent company Miray holding two to three webinars a day to assuage customer concerns about the future of the trip, she told Insider.
The webinars have also left some with mixed feelings, she added.
“It was like a press conference where astronauts go to the moon and look really grumpy, but they should look excited,” Arizzi told Insider. “They promised so much, and maybe overpromised.”
Arizzi told Insider that Miray plans to go ahead with the cruise, inviting customers to Istanbul three days early to party on the boat. She will not participate, or make another deposit for at least the next year. She decided to embark on a shorter cruise this summer “and see what’s out there for next year.”
“I think the Gemini ship will go ahead,” she said, “but I just don’t think I’m going to be happy about it.”
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