Many have been eagerly following the much-hyped three-year world cruise by Miray Cruises’ MV Gemini. Guests are already booked onboard, some of whom even sold their house to join the cruise. However, tension is growing as concerns regarding the ship’s seaworthiness come to light.
With multiple refund requests, the departure of the founding team, and ongoing questions about safety onboard, the future of this unprecedented three-year voyage hangs in the balance.
MV Gemini‘s Three-Year Cruise Hangs in the Balance
A three-year voyage, organized by Miray Cruises’ subsidiary Life at Sea, would offer an unmatched cruise that few could resist. Scheduled to begin in Istanbul in November, the cruise on board the MV Gemini would span a staggering 130,000 miles.
Over three years, guests would have the unique opportunity to experience 375 ports in 135 different countries across all seven continents. The voyage, tailored towards working professionals, would offer remote work facilities coupled with global exploration. Life at Sea also promised world-class dining, onboard entertainment, recreational activities, and a comprehensive business center.
However, a report from CNN International indicates that the cruise could be in jeopardy. Customers who had booked the trip are now requesting refunds following concerns about the suitability and seaworthiness of the MV Gemini.
MV Gemini‘s Seaworthiness Questioned
According to the International Maritime Organization, a ship is considered seaworthy when it is adequately equipped and maintained to face the conditions of the intended voyage without presenting an unreasonable risk to the crew or the marine environment.
Per the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention, ships must have a valid Passenger Ship Safety Certificate to validate their seaworthiness.
Irina Strembitsky, former director of sales and marketing of Life at Sea Cruises: “The ship, which has capacity for up to 1,074 passengers, was deemed ‘unseaworthy’ by an engineer, who also expressed doubt that it would be able to complete a three-year journey.”
In the context of the MV Gemini, the SOLAS Convention, and the Passenger Ship Safety Certificate are highly relevant. If claims about the vessel’s unseaworthiness prove to be accurate, the ship might have violated SOLAS provisions, possibly risking the lives of those onboard.
Kendra Holmes, Director of business development and commercial operations at Miray International: “Unseaworthy is a very specific term that relates to the safety of a vessel. With that said, every cruise ship must have a Passenger Ship Safety Certificate… Gemini has this certificate, and it will be renewed again at the end of July 2023.”
Internal Disagreements and Customer Concerns
Mike Petterson, the former managing director for Life at Sea Cruises, a subsidiary of Miray Cruises, and the rest of the founding team have removed themselves from the project, raising significant concerns.
Of note is that the vessel has not been classified as unseaworthy by the flag state or port state control but rather by an engineer who had stated that the ship was not suitable to sail. It seems unlikely that an entire management team would jump ship over the claims of one engineer.
It could point towards other serious issues, such as the viability of a three-year cruise, at extremely low pricing of just $2,500 per stateroom per month.
The impact of internal disagreements extends to the customers, many of whom have made significant financial commitments to join the voyage. CNN reports that some customers had even sold their homes in preparation for the trip, and many are now requesting refunds.
Despite the turmoil, Miray Cruises remains committed to pushing forward with its ambitious project, even without Life at Sea. The updated 19,093 gross tons MV Gemini has been sailing around the Mediterranean since March 2023. The vessel was built in 1992.
All eyes are now on Miray Cruises and seeing how they navigate these turbulent waters. Unfortunately for the cruise line, many guests have already figured out that the current situation is too much adventure for even the most adventurous.