Graduation cruise ruined for Wayne County High seniors

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Some Wayne County High School students and their parents say they have been scammed out of the money they paid for a cruise to the Caribbean.

More than 70 high schoolers signed up and pre-paid for the graduation cruise. On Monday, most of them found out they weren’t even booked.

The 7-day cruise is set to depart May 27, two days after graduation. But only 19 students have reservations, while more than fifty of their classmates have been left high and dry.

Many parents think the organizers of the trip kept the money.

Those parents, students, and a representative from the cruise line met to discuss options, but right now the best case scenario is that the trip will be split between two cruise liners, as the original ship is booked to capacity.

Needless to say, there are a lot of disappointed kids and a lot of angry parents.

Reagan Weaver is one of more than 70 seniors who paid for the trip. Her father is the Mayor of Screven.

Jason Weaver says the trip organizer waited to secure the accommodations a couple of weeks ago, although she had all the monies months ago.

“The cruise wasn’t booked until May 1. So all of us had already paid by March. And the cruise wasn’t booked until May 1 and then made May 2,” Weaver said. “Over half of our children were canceled due to insufficient funds. Every one of us that are involved in this paid the same person.” 

Mayor Weaver says that person was Jackie Bozeman-Dean and parents have not been able to reach her since they found out there is a major problem with the trip. 

“We haven’t received a statement from her. her husband said that the carnival cruise line contacted her and said that due to the number of people we’re going to have to split the cruise into two cruises.” He continued, adding, “Those boats are big and that Carnival person said that we can fit more than you’ve got going on the boat if it’s booked.”

Two-thirds of the seniors don’t have rooms reserved on the Carnival cruise liner, ‘”The Miracle”, the ship that should be the backdrop for memories to last a lifetime.

“This is the senior cruise this is the memories that could never be brought back for these high school seniors. And even splitting them into two cruises, they’ll get to go on a cruise but they won’t get to be on a cruise with, with their class and the memories that can be made, those are priceless I mean there’s no amount of money that you can put on that,” Weaver said, adding that the only remedy to make the graduation cruise a reality is to pay again.

“Some of them have paid 4,000 to $6000 two times to go on one cruise just so their child wouldn’t miss out,” said Weaver.  

The community is trying to help as a fund has been established with Prime South Bank in Jesup to accept donations to help fund the cruise for the students who paid but are not booked on the cruise. 

Weaver says authorities have been contacted. 

“From my understanding just in, you know, that this is possibly being turned over to the GBI and as well as Attorney General from the state,” Weaver said, adding Wayne County District Attorney, John Johnson, is also going to be looking into what happened to tens of thousands of dollars that should have gone towards payment for the cruise.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigations confirms they are looking into this situation.

News 3 will continue to follow developments with this story.

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