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Miray Cruises is the reported buyer of AIDAaura

The 2003-built AIDAaura has reportedly been sold to Miray Cruises for hand-over in late September
Miray Cruises said it replaced Gemini with a newer, larger ship, Lara, for Life at Sea Cruises, the three-year world cruise concept.

Though Miray declined to confirm Lara's former name, multiple sources indicated it is the 2003-built AIDAaura. The Life at Sea website describes Lara as 42,289gt with 627 cabins and capacity for 1,266 passengers — the identical size as AIDAaura. And a rendering of the ship there shows a profile resembling AIDAaura's.

Carnival Corp. & plc confirmed the sale of AIDAaura, without identifying the buyer, to Seatrade Cruise News. Early this year, AIDA Cruises said the ship would be leaving its fleet in September after a series of farewell voyages. It is currently on a 12-day British Isles cruise round-trip Hamburg.

New livery in Bremerhaven and further work in Istanbul

A public relations person for Miray Cruises said the vessel it's calling Lara would be handed over at the end of September. She said the hull will be repainted in Bremerhaven and some cabins and public spaces will be refurbished in Istanbul and a new business center and wine and cigar bar will be installed.

Life at Sea Cruises is scheduled to embark Nov. 1 from Istanbul on a three-year voyage the company said will cover more than 130,000 miles, visiting 382 ports across 148 countries and all seven continents.

Unanswered questions

Miray has not responded to questions about deposits, refunds and claims by former Life at Sea Cruises Managing Director Mikael Petterson, who had voiced concerns about Gemini's ability to operate the program and is no longer associated with the company.

Gemini, built in 1992 as Crown Jewel, earlier this year housed Turkish earthquake refugees. On Thursday, Miray said that with Lara's addition, Gemini is now slated to continue operating Aegean Sea voyages.