Life at Sea Cruises, the Miray Cruises’ brand that will soon begin a 3-year cruise ship residency voyage, announced it has partnered with professional scuba diving groups that will offer dive instruction to guests.
Cruisers who book the unique around-the-world sailing can become certified scuba divers and participate in ocean-based environmental projects during the voyage.
Program Will Include Ocean Sustainability Projects
Turkish line Miray Cruises has added another dimension to its upcoming residence-at-sea cruise by collaborating with two scuba diving organizations, The Dive Place and Scuba Diving International (SDI), both based in Florida. SDI is a global scuba training and certification agency.
The partnership will enable cruisers to learn how to dive and to become certified scuba divers while spending three years onboard Lara, the 1,266-guest ship that will operate the world voyage.
Called “Dive Around the World,” the program also will allow guests to engage in ocean clean-ups, coral restoration projects, and other ecological initiatives.
Kendra Holmes, CEO of Miray Cruises, is herself a diver with more than 20 years of underwater experience, and said the partnership highlights Miray Cruises’ dedication to responsible travel, adventure, and environmental guardianship.
“We are elated to introduce the ‘Dive Around the World’ program, inviting our residents to explore the world’s oceans while actively contributing to their conservation,” Holmes said.
“With the invaluable support of our partners, The Dive Place and SDI, we aspire to cultivate a community of environmentally conscious divers devoted to the safeguarding of our marine ecosystems,” she added.
Life at Sea’s announcement does not indicate the cost of participating in the dive option, but says that the ship provides rental scuba gear. The program is geared to both experience divers and novice ones.
Some of the planned diving expeditions will be held when the ship visits Roatan, Honduras, where divers can interact with whales sharks; the Koror and Helen Reef in Palau, a site known for World War II wrecks and an abundance of jellyfish; Bora Bora, Tahiti; and Reykjavik, Iceland, celebrated for diving opportunities between tectonic plates.
Cruise Line Swapped Ship After Concerns Were Raised
Scheduled to depart from Istanbul, Turkey, on November 1, 2023, Lara, a 42,289-gross-ton ship built in 1988, will sail for three years, visiting 135 countries and calling at 382 ports.
The cruise line has marketed the voyage as ideal for cruisers who can work remotely from the ship, which will feature a business center and Starlink internet service.
The voyage was announced in early 2023, and originally was to be operated by another Miray Cruises’s ship, Gemini. Bookings opened in March, however, in June, the cruise line faced criticism after a former employee claimed Gemini was found to be unseaworthy by an engineer.
At the time, CEO Holmes countered that the ship had received her Passenger Ship Safety Certificate as required under Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) policies, but some booked guests sought refunds, and in the face of a public relations debacle, the line assigned Lara to replace Gemini.
Fares for the full voyage, which will cover 130,000 miles and concludes at the end of 2026, start at about $2,500 per month, depending on cabin. Staterooms were recently updated, and the ship will have a 24-hour on-call hospital with medical visits included in the cruise fare.
Long-term residence cruises have become more common since the pandemic era. Victoria Cruises, for instance, is operating two, 27-month-long voyages aboard its ships Victoria Majestic and Victoria Amazing.
The Cyprus-based cruise line allowed guests to book as many months as they wished, as long as they met the minimum of six months. The ships departed in spring 2023 from Fort Lauderdale and Livorno, Italy.