You Can Now Live Permanently on a Cruise Ship
Want an alternative to life on land? Then find your sea legs and make your permanent address “somewhere in the world.”
The World is the largest privately owned residential yacht on earth with 165 luxury private residences. And, it docks at Dublin port about every two or three years. The last time it sailed up to our capital city was in August of 2015. The vessel is a floating city, or perhaps we could call it a small town. So if you work from home, and aren’t required to participate in a string of face-to-face meetings, then this is actually a very compelling idea.
The ship is fully wired with everything a home office would need, but you get your meals and drinks made for you and you get to see the world as part of your everyday life. The impressive 644-foot luxury ship explores every corner of the globe. Residents experience different cultures and beautiful destinations, all from the comfort of their own home.
When The World rocked up to Dublin last August, residents were stuffed full with a gala dinner at Dublin’s Mansion House. These people know how to live. Before arriving in Dublin, the residents were fresh from visiting other exotic places, like Saint- Malo, La Rochelle, Bilbao, Porto, Valencia, Tunis, Kerkyra, Trieste and Venice. Which is nice work if you can get it.
As a resident, you may assume that you will be locked up in a granny-filled cruise ship. Wrong. On board are six restaurants, golf facilities with putting greens and a state-of-the-art golf simulator, a full-size tennis court, swimming pools, a spa, a fitness centre, expert destination lecturers, library, and cinema. Also on board is an art gallery, arts and crafts, billiards, florist, gourmet deli, housekeeping, laundry, library, medical centre, nightclub, nondenominational chapel, a boutique, concierge, video and board games, and youth program. It makes that ferry trip to Wales all seem rather naff.
The ship also has staff who, like, DO THINGS FOR YOU. This we like. They can cook for you in a restaurant, or in your gaff, or stock an onboard supermarket for you, getting produce from local ports. You just can get good staff these days. But will it be crawling with people? Nope. The average occupancy at one time is 150-200 residents and guests so you aren’t going to have to wait for ages in the snow for your coffee before work. Phew.
This community at sea first set sail in 2002 and has visited over 900 ports in over 140 countries. With a continuous worldwide itinerary that enables the vessel to span the globe every two to three years, the ship is a complete floating city. The ship is privately owned by residents of The World – 142 families from 19 countries – North America (49%), various European countries (36%), and Asia, Australia, and South Africa (15%).
On average, residents spend around three to six months on board every year. And here’s the good news. The ship doesn’t just go around in the same circles every year like a pointless robot ship. Itineraries are determined by a community vote. Continuous worldwide journeys, with a focus on extended stays of an average three days in port, ensure that residents have sufficient time to explore their favourite destinations. Unlike most vessels, The World spends nearly twice as many days in port than at sea. In 2015, the ship visited more than 120 ports of call in approximately 40 countries.
So this is what the residents saw in 2015: They started in Singapore and added on an exploration of the exotic islands and bustling cities of Southeast Asia. Then they rocked up to the stunning beaches and vibrant underwater wildlife of the Maldives and Seychelles. Of course, next adventures took place in South Africa, Namibia and the remote islands of St. Helena and Ascension, and the stunning shores of the Cape Verde archipelago. After that they headed towards Morocco, the Mediterranean, the United Kingdom, and Iceland, before an expedition in an entirely different climate – Greenland. In autumn, residents sailed the east coast of Canada and the United States, the Panama Canal, and down the west coast of South America. Then by Christmas, they arrive in Antarctica for a journey to the Geographic South Pole. Yes, this we like.
So who built this crazy but exciting ship? Knut U. Kloster Jr., the visionary behind The World, grew up in a family that was passionate about life at sea. After many years of working on the world’s best yachts and cruise ships, Kloster had a dream to create a way in which travellers never had to disembark. They could sail for as long as they wished from the comfort of their own private residence. As such, in 1997 he gathered together a team of experienced professionals and began working on the first vessel where people could travel the globe without leaving home.
Construction of the vessel began in May 2000 in Rissa, Norway and in March 2002 Kloster’s dream was realised when The World set sail from Oslo with its inaugural residents on board. Her maiden voyage departed from Lisbon, Portugal in 2002 and in September 2003 the residents purchased the Ship. By June 2006, the original inventory of residences was sold out.
The World is the first ship of its size burning marine diesel oil rather than heavy bunker fuel, making for a much more environmentally friendly ship and allowing The World to call in areas where ships burning heavy fuel are banned.
So if you want to buy into the ship, you have a choice from down-at-heel to uptown funk. The types of accommodation range from studios to expansive three-bedroom apartments. And of course, there is a palatial six-bedroom penthouse suite, which can sleep 12 people. That room is for Miriam O’Callaghan and her eight kids.
So, the golden question is, how much do apartments cost? There are 165 apartments on The World and prices vary based on size, décor, location and market conditions. Current prices are hovering around €940,000 for studio flats. The top suites cost up to €12million. Now you are starting to think that paying €850,000 for a leaky three-bed house in an Irish city with barely enough room to swing a cat without killing someone is a really bad idea.
Once you have stumped up all of that money you robbed from the bank, there’s still more to pay. There are annual ownership costs, based on the square footage of the apartments. These fees include a resident’s share of ship preservation, operations, crew compensation, and food and beverage onboard.
At present all of the homes are sold, but there is a waiting list for anyone wanting to re-sell. You know, those people who have seen every corner of the earth and yearn of a small two bed in Dublin in which you cannot swing a cat. But you can go on board as a guest.
So here’s the bad news. To be a guest you have to be invited onboard by a resident. So perhaps you might want to start sucking up and stalking people onboard. It might be worth it. The average age of residents is 58 with 35% under 50. Residents are very active, entrepreneurial and philanthropic, and they have a thirst for knowledge, adventure and travel. There are some residents who live on the ship year-round, with the majority continuing to be active in their professional lives and spending three to four months onboard.
You can stay connected in your home office while exploring the globe on The World, and internet, telephone and broadcast services on The World allow entrepreneurial residents to continue to run their businesses from the ship. Every residence is wired for internet and has its own public IP address. Residents choose from a variety of internet bandwidth offerings depending on their needs. For some residents, knowing that they can host a conference call, check email or conduct web-based research from virtually anywhere on the planet from their “office away from home” was a prerequisite before considering joining the community.
Imagine operating your company from the privacy and convenience of your home office while gazing out of your living room window at Borneo’s exotic coastline or the breath-taking cliffs of Norway. Sounds pretty good, unless you get sea sick and there is a storm coming.
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