'They Are Broke or Homeless': 3-Year Cruise Passengers Yet to Receive Refunds Are Pursuing Fraud Charges Would-be Life at Sea cruise passengers saw their dreams capsize before the ship even set sail.

By Amanda Breen

Key Takeaways

  • Customers who paid for a three-year cruise are urging an investigation for alleged fraud, claiming a mishandling of an estimated $16 million in customer payments.
  • With only partial refunds issued to a few of over 100 passengers, many are now in financial turmoil.
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After the abrupt cancellation of Life at Sea's three-year cruise in November, more than 100 passengers are still awaiting refunds from Miray, the Turkish cruise company behind the venture.

Now, they're seeking fraud charges — and navigating dire financial straits, The New York Times reported.

Related: 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.

On Tuesday, 78 intended Life at Sea cruise passengers sent a letter to Markenzy Lapointe, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, requesting an investigation into Miray. They allege the company pocketed an estimated $16 million to purchase a new ship it failed to obtain.

At the time of cancellation, Life at Sea admitted that the delays and relocations were due to its failure to purchase the AIDAaura from AIDA Cruises, and promised to disburse refunds in monthly installments from mid-December through late February, CNN reported.

Many passengers had to relinquish jobs, liquidate assets and drain life savings to afford what was pitched as the odyssey of a lifetime. Most paid tens of thousands of dollars to reserve their cabins, priced from $90,000 to $975,000 for a suite. But as deadlines for repayments came and went for over a month, only four passengers received partial refunds, per the NYT.

"Some people put in everything they had and now they are broke or homeless or wandering from cruise to cruise like tumbleweeds because they have no other place to go," David Purcell, a 78-year-old retired lawyer from St. Louis, who sold his house and car to book the trip, told the outlet.

Related: I Sold My House to Work Remotely on a Cruise Ship for 3 Years — and I May Stay Aboard Even Longer. Here's What My Life Will Look Like.

Miray's ownership's narrative differs, attributing the refund delays to bank blockades resulting from a slew of credit card chargeback disputes. However, many passengers refute this, per the report, claiming that their chargeback requests were a last resort after repeated refund 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.

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