- 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 $109,000 a year, per CNN.
- Customers are now demanding refunds amid internal uncertainty, a prospective passenger told Insider.
Customers who spent thousands of dollars on a multi-year cruise visiting every continent are demanding a refund after issues arose with the cruise line’s founding staff months after the venture was announced.
The first cruise of its kind, the MV Gemini Cruise, announced in late February, was set to depart from Istanbul in November, with plans to visit all seven continents and 135 countries. The journey is now plagued by management issues that leave customers hesitant to jump 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 director of Life at Sea Cruises.
In a March 10 press release, Miray Cruises mentioned that the ship would be “overhauled” ahead of the voyage, now months away. Miray Cruises did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment, but said in a May webinar for passengers that the trip is still going ahead, according to CNN.
Kimberly Arizzi was one of the first to sign up in March, sending a $5,000 deposit for the cruise at the time, communicating directly with the Life at Sea sales team, Arizzi told Insider. But uncertainty about the ship and staff commotion caused them and other potential passengers to reverse their plans.
“I thought I had my life ready for the next few years,” Arizzi told Insider. “It’s not just the furniture that I lost, it was the boat-topia – the idea of being in a like-minded community, all doing something together for the first time.”
A woman sold her apartment prior to the trip
Arizzi, who lives in Chicago, has sold thousands of dollars worth of clothing, furniture, and her TVs in preparation for the cruise. She recently retired and also sold her apartment and moved into a park trailer, she said.
Jim Cremer, another potential passenger, told Insider that the trip was initially a “dream trip” but that at this point he “doesn’t have faith that Miray can make it.”
Writing in a Facebook group for the Life at Sea community with nearly 800 members, Mike Petterson, the former president of Life at Sea, wrote that his company was issuing refunds after a split with Miray, and doubted whether it would be ready to open in November. to sail out. .
Arizzi’s deposits were refunded on April 20, she told Insider. Potential customers have until the end of June to make deposits amid the fracas, according to Petterson.
Petterson did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
The two companies organizing 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 address customer concerns about the future of the journey, 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 should look excited,” Arizzi told Insider. “They promised so much, and maybe even promised too much.”
Arizzi told Insider that Miray plans to go ahead with the cruise and invite customers to Istanbul three days early to party on the boat. In any case, she will not be present for the next year, or make another deposit. She decided to embark on a shorter cruise until the summer “and see what’s in store next year”.
“I believe the Gemini ship will continue,” she said, “but I just don’t think I’ll be happy with it.”
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