Turkish line Miray Cruises has altered its controversial three-year world voyage by replacing the ship that originally was intended to operate the sailing. In recent months, the company had battled public perceptions that the vessel was not deemed seaworthy.
Newly-Acquired Vessel to Operate Three-Year Cruise
Miray Cruises, the Istanbul-based line that announced the launch of its Life at Sea Cruises subsidiary early this year with the industry’s first three-year world cruise, revealed on June 29 that it has acquired a different ship to operate the voyage.
The company’s Gemini is being replaced with a newly acquired ship, Lara, in a move Miray Cruises said was prompted by overwhelming demand for the cruise. Gemini carries 1,074 guests, while Lara can accommodate 1,266 guests.
While Lara will undertake the world cruise, departing on November 1 and visiting 148 countries on seven continents, Gemini will continue her existing series of Greek Islands sailings.
Miray Cruises vowed that guests, who will pay fares from $2,500 per month to live on the ship for three years, will enjoy a neighborhood-type atmosphere with a sense of community. The voyage was attractive to working professionals, as the ship was to provide remote work facilities.
“We are beyond excited to introduce the beautiful MV Lara for this incredible, history-making, three-year voyage,” said Kendra Holmes, CEO of Miray Cruises.
“Our fleet is expanding due to the unprecedented demand for our long-duration circumnavigation voyages to responsibly explore every corner of our planet. Our residents are changing their lives for this opportunity, and we are honored to be a part of their personal journeys,” she added.
Line Coped With Controversy Over Ship’s Seaworthiness
Bookings for the world voyage opened on March 1, but the cruise line was soon faced with controversy when a former senior-level employee of the line revealed Gemini was found to be unseaworthy by an engineer.
However, Holmes has stated that Gemini had received her Passenger Ship Safety Certificate as required under Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) policies. The former employee, along with several of the company’s executives, including managing director Mike Petterson, left the company in recent months.
Possibly spooked by the idea of a non-seaworthy Gemini, some booked guests requested refunds, and Miray Cruises, as of June 29, was still accepting reservation inquiries for the world voyage aboard Lara.
“Seeing such an overwhelming interest in our itinerary and unique ports where we will always be in summer is truly thrilling. This is evidence of the allure of our extended world cruise concept and the exceptional experiences that await our residents aboard MV Lara,” said Ethem Bayramoglu, COO of Miray Cruises.
Ship Offers Refreshed Cabins, Business Center
The 42,289-gross-ton Lara, which was built in 1988, will offer redesigned staterooms, a business center with offices, a cigar and wine bar, and other onboard destinations. A 24-hour on-call hospital with medical visits included in the cruise fare also will be available.
Guests can avail themselves of learning and enrichment lectures onboard, and can join volunteer and philanthropic initiatives during the cruise, which will travel some 130,000 miles and call at 382 ports.
Port calls will feature 13 UNESCO World Heritage sites and Wonders of the World, with multiple days spent in each port for comprehensive exploration opportunities.
In the run-up to Lara’s departure from Istanbul, Miray Cruises will hold a series of events and celebrations in Turkey for all booked residents. The festivities will coincide with the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic.