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Cincinnati woman who sold home, paid tens of thousands for 3-year cruise looking for Plan B after cancellation

Cruise company wants remote workers to work from sea for 3 years
Posted at 6:25 PM, Nov 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-27 18:25:59-05

CINCINNATI — A Cincinnati woman sold her home and paid tens of thousands of dollars to embark on a three-year cruise scheduled to set sail later this month. Now, the voyage is canceled and she's working on a Plan B.

Keri Witman told "Good Morning America" she had already paid $32,000 for her trip with Life at Sea Cruises, which was originally planned to depart from Istanbul on Nov. 1.

Pitched as an "epic adventure of a lifetime," the three-year cruise planned to visit 140 countries and 382 ports in nearly 1,100 days. During this time, passengers would also be able to work from home, receive medical care and have friends or family visit.

The all-inclusive cruise started at $77,026 per year for double occupancy, or more for solo rooms — like the one Witman said she booked. The founder and president of digital marketing firm Clever Lucy told entrepreneur.com she booked solo occupancy at a discount early on in the process.

But before the trip's scheduled (and then rescheduled) departure, Life at Sea’s parent company Miray Cruises alerted passengers about issues purchasing a ship.

ABC News obtained messages passengers received from Miray Cruises saying the company was unable to purchase a ship after "investors declined to support us further due to unrest in [the] Middle East."

Then, less than two weeks before the once again rescheduled departure, owner Vedat Ugurlu told passengers the trip was no longer happening.

Ugurlu told ABC News in a statement the trip was actually postponed until the spring, saying they "just had to extend our approval." The company said passengers who want a refund will receive one, but noted those who have already paid will have a cabin when they set sail next May.

Some passengers told "Good Morning America" and CNN they were sad or angry about the cancellation and uncertain future. In a statement, Witman said she hopes to be part of a long-term cruise next year. It is unclear if that cruise is with Life at Sea or another company.

"These last few months have been a whirlwind of excitement and change, readying for the three-year Life at Sea work/life cruise," Witman said. "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."

Witman said in her statement she has been in contact with fellow passengers as they work together on their Plan B.

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