It was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime: four months on a luxury cruise ship, motoring from Miami through the Caribbean before stops in Barcelona, Athens, St. Tropez and beyond.
Barry Shulman, and his wife, Allyn Jaffrey Shulman, spent six figures for their top-tier cabin on the Crystal Serenity.
But the first wave of bad news came fast.
“On the third day, [the staff] announced that they’re going broke and dropping us off in Aruba,” said Barry, the 75-year-old owner of Card Player magazine in Las Vegas. “The captain got on [the intercom] to say it was the end of the cruise. It was the end of everything.”
According to The Post, on Friday, the boat was seized from Bahamian waters by US Marshals over an unpaid $4.6 million gas bill — four days after the Crystal Cruises liner had unceremoniously dumped its 450 or so passengers.
“A lot of people were panicking; some were crying,” said Shulman of being kicked off the Serenity. “We’re talking about senior citizens, on a boat, who didn’t know what was going on … this was disturbing.
“There were people who did not know how they would get home from Aruba. They’re used to being pampered and they were getting dropped off near the tip of South America. It was a shit show.”
Things got even weirder that night, when the crew slipped a sheet of paper under each room door.
“It reported that Aruba won’t take us,” said Barry, adding that no specific reason was given. “There was a lot of stress and a million rumors. Some said it was because of COVID. Other people thought it was because Aruba didn’t want to get involved in the lawsuit or the taking of the boat.”
The ship was then rerouted to Bimini, where passengers were to board a two-hour ferry ride that would drop them off in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
“Luckily we had decent seas for the ferry trip. A couple weeks earlier, a Crystal ship [offloaded its passengers to Bimini] and everyone was throwing up on the ferry. It was a mess,” said Barry.
Once arriving, “We had to stay on the boat for another hour. Then they let everybody off all at once, instead of by section, and there was pandemonium,” he said. “We got to the terminal and there were, initially, two customs guys. It took hours to get through there. Then there were no carts, no porters … People couldn’t find their bags. It was completely disorganized.”
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