People Sold Their Homes to Board a 'Never-Ending' Cruise Around the World. But the Ship Will Never Set Sail — Here's How the Big Dream Sank. Life at Sea's voyage has been officially called off.

By Amanda Breen

Key Takeaways

  • Life at Sea Cruises has officially canceled its inaugural three-year global cruise, leaving passengers stranded and waiting for refunds.
  • The company's failure to acquire a suitable vessel, investor withdrawal, and legal challenges contributed to the cancellation.
entrepreneur daily

After nearly a month of departure delays, Life at Sea's intended passengers are saying farewell to the years-long cruise that never set sail.

Life at Sea Cruises announced the cancellation of its ambitious three-year cruise around the world, citing an inability to secure a suitable ship and a sudden withdrawal of investor support, per CNN.

Image Credit: Finnbarr Webster | Getty Images. AIDAaura.

Related: People Are Selling Their Homes to Board This 'Cruise That Never Ends' — and It Might Cost Less Than Your Monthly Rent

The news comes after weeks of silence from the company, which promised a trip of a lifetime departing from Istanbul on November 1. Shortly before that date came, the departure was pushed to November 11 from Amsterdam in the Netherlands, then to November 30 from Amsterdam, before being called off altogether on November 17.

The cost of joining the cruise in one of the 111 cabins ran up to hundreds of thousands of dollars — a price many deemed worthy of the unique experience.

Life at Sea's would-be passengers upended their lives to join the voyage; some even sold their homes ahead of the expedition. Keri Witman, founder and president of digital marketing firm Clever Lucy, was one of them. Entrepreneur spoke with Witman about her plans to work remotely on board — and potentially extend her journey past the three-year mark — in September.

"These last few months have been a whirlwind of excitement and change, readying for the three-year Life at Sea work/life cruise," Witman told Entrepreneur following the cancellation. "While Miray Cruises, which owns Life at Sea, has been very communicative about recent business challenges that led to the cruise cancellation, I remain hopeful to be part of a long-term, residential cruise in 2024. I am also very grateful for the community of people who I have connected with over the last few months (who would have been my new neighbors). Many of us are in touch and collaborating on a 'Plan B' together."

Ultimately, Life at Sea admitted that the delays and relocations were due to its failure to purchase the AIDAaura from AIDA Cruises, per CNN. The lack of a vessel and financial backbone unraveled the company's plans, and their ensuing legal troubles only compounded the issue.

Related: Turns Out, All of Those 'Never-Ending' Cruises Might Come With a Big Catch — Now This Retiree Buyer Is Requesting a Refund on His $1 Million Condo

Life at Sea Cruises has pledged to return the funds through a series of monthly installments, a process that will stretch into late February. In the interim, the company has offered assistance with accommodation and flights for the passengers stuck in Istanbul.

Former Life at Sea Cruises CEO Kendra Holmes, who had resigned days prior to the cancellation, hinted at a new possibility with a different cruise line, though skepticism remains high given recent disappointments.

Amanda Breen

Entrepreneur Staff

Features Writer

Amanda Breen is a features writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate of Barnard College and received an MFA in writing at Columbia University, where she was a news fellow for the School of the Arts.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Related Topics

Starting a Business

This Retiree's Leisurely Side Hustle Makes $66,000 a Year and, 'You Don't Even Need to Go to High School to Do It'

Barbara Hill wanted a flexible, part-time job that would transition well into retirement. Now she mentors younger people who are making over $200,000 a year. Here's her insider's guide to getting started.

Marketing

The Miley Cyrus Approach To Marketing — Why It's a Radically Different Method For Achieving Brand Impact

In case you missed it, Miley Cyrus recently won her first Grammy. In her acceptance speech, she told a story that is a great learning lesson for business owners and marketers alike, especially those who find themselves burned out and exhausted in this current environment.

Business News

Elon Musk Sues ChatGPT-Maker OpenAI, Accuses the Company of Working to 'Maximize Profits For Microsoft, Rather Than For the Benefit of Humanity'

Musk claims that OpenAI's partnership with Microsoft threatens its original mission as outlined in a founder's agreement.

Business Ideas

55 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Business News

Who Owns The Rights to Your AI-Generated Content? Not, It's Not You. Uncover The Scary Truth That Puts AI Users At Risk.

The realization that copyright laws do not protect AI-generated material might come as a shock to many.