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This 3-Year, $230,000 Cruise Around the World Had Just One Thing Missing: a Boat

Around the world in 80 days seems ambitious. Around the world in three years sounds more doable—one would think.

A cruise that intended to take its passengers from Europe to Asia to Africa and back over the course of a few years has been canceled, leaving those who had already bought tickets for the journey in limbo, CNN reported on Friday. The Life at Sea Cruises’ voyage was called off because the company wasn’t able to acquire a ship to carry its customers, despite initial plans to set sail on November 1. Passengers weren’t notified about the cancellation until November 17.

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“I’m very sad, angry and lost,” one anonymous passenger told CNN. “I had the next three years of my life planned to live an extraordinary life, and now [I have] nothing. I’m having a hard time moving forward.”

Life at Sea Cruises had announced the three-year journey back in March, telling prospective travelers that they’d have the chance to see the Great Wall of China, the Pyramids of Giza, the Taj Mahal, Machu Picchu, and more, according to The New York Times. Charging $38,513 to $98,226 per person per year for double occupancy cabins, the entire trip would cost at least $230,000, a relative steal when it comes to cruise prices. The company said its ship, to be called the MV Lara, would have a capacity of 1,266 passengers, and it expected to be 80 percent booked.

However, after being postponed twice—first to November 11 and then to November 30—the voyage was called off. (As of Monday afternoon, the trip was still being promoted on Life at Sea’s website, and the reservation page was still active.) On November 16, another company announced that it had bought the ship that was to be used for the three-year journey. A couple days later, Vedat Ugurlu, the owner of Miray Cruises, Life at Sea’s parent company, explained to passengers that his company couldn’t afford the $40 to $50 million price tag for the vessel. While he tried to reassure them by explaining that a similar trip may happen in the future, nothing is planned as of now. (Neither Life at Sea Cruises nor Miray Cruises responded to specific questions from CNN or the Times.)

The would-be passengers are understandably upset with the cruise company. More than 100 cabins had been sold, and some travelers had given up their homes and other possessions with the understanding that they’d be at sea for three years. Others are still in Istanbul, where the cruise was originally supposed to depart from. And many are waiting for a refund, which the company said it will pay in installments through late February.

What was once the trip of a lifetime has become the phantom trip from hell.

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