The sudden increase in folks wanting to work remotely is sparking renewed interest in something other than RV sales. Cruise ship condos might just become the “RVs of the Seas” for many who’ve decided not to return to the office and “work from home,” wherever home may be.
Initially, recreational vehicles seemed like the easiest option for the remote work crowd. Just sell the house or sublet the apartment and hit the road. But that just isn’t exciting enough for some who are looking for more romantic ports of call than the closest KOA or the new Bucky’s Truck Stop.
As the pandemic grinds along, there has been a sudden increase in demand for condo apartments on residential yachts and ships. Just like RV living, ship condo owners get to unpack once and travel as their home moves from place to place. But in this case, they travel the world.
Some benefits of living on a cruise ship
The jump in demand has accelerated the construction of several new “residential ships.” Living on a ship certainly isn’t for everyone, but take a look at some of the benefits this emerging industry touts:
- Cruise ship condos port for several days. That allows you to fully enjoy all the different countries. No rushing around here.
- Staterooms in luxury cruise ships are equipped with comfortable living areas, separate bedrooms and kitchenettes. You can even opt for your own private plunge pool.
- A fully equipped hospital and wellness center can be found on cruise ship condos. And they include doctors, dentists, surgeons and specialists. That means taking care of every conceivable need anywhere the cruise condo ship travels.
- The convenience of a grocery store with a deli, bakery and fresh produce is another amenity.
- There are more restaurants to choose from, although this does depend on the size of the ship. Some luxury cruise ship condos cater to a smaller crowd.
- Complete shopping centers with various shops are the norm on your luxury condo cruise ship.
- Financial and banking transactions can easily be performed through an onboard-offshore banking center.
If you think condo ship living is well beyond your means … well, probably. But there are a lot of options from simple cabins to lavish four-bedroom penthouses. And as you would expect in any resort area, ship condo living is also plagued by the “fractional ownership” and “vacation ownership” industries. In other words, you could always buy into a ship condo timeshare (but don’t).
Still interested? Here are the details on a few of the current and planned ships, courtesy of Storylines, one of the ship-owning companies:
Narrative by Storylines is a new-build, liquid natural gas (LNG) powered ship launching in 2024. The ship is 741’ long with 533 residences. The smallest condominiums available start at 237 sq. ft. and go for $360k for a 12-year lease, with annual fees of $60k. The largest units currently available are 1,529 sq. ft. condos and can be purchased for $7.7M with annual fees of $205k. Fees include housekeeping, laundry, meals, beverages, medical visits and spa services. With green technologies, a hydroponic garden and a zero-waste market, it will be one of the most environmentally sustainable ships at sea. The itinerary is focused on leisurely circumnavigating the globe every three-and-a-half years with 3-5 days in most ports. The ship has office space for remote workers and an education program for families with kids. For people who want to pay a reasonable amount on a new ship with a diverse community, more time in ports, and don’t mind waiting, this ship is an excellent option.
The World by ResidenSea was launched in 2002. At 643 feet with 165 residences, there is plenty of room for the select few ultra-high net worth individuals on board. The smallest 290 sq. ft. flats start at $2M and the largest residences are in excess of $10M. The annual fees range from $150k-$1M which does not include food and beverages. Many of the larger residences have full kitchens. With a full-sized tennis court at sea and a putting green, there is plenty to love about this ship, but the main appeal is that it’s already in the water. Potential residents must also have a land-based residence and a minimum $10M net worth. For those who meet the criteria, are okay with a 20-year-old oil-burning ship and are itching to launch their lifestyle at sea immediately, this is an excellent, well-established option. Remember that the residents on this ship collectively own it, which makes for an interesting HOA. They get to help set the itinerary, with the help of the captain.
Njord by Ocean Residences is the top of the line. It’s a brand-new, LNG-powered ship with all the latest green technologies. Delivery is expected in 2024. At 925 feet with just 118 residences, it’s no wonder the units start at $8M for the smallest 1,249 sq. ft. two-bedroom apartments. All of the residences have full kitchens, a rare amenity in this market. Expect a lot of over-the-top perks, with not one but two helicopters, a 5-star PADI dive center, Quadrofoil, observatory, crew to resident ratio of 2:1, limo tenders, scientific research laboratories, and butler suites that you can rent for your private butler, nanny or nurse.
Blue World by Blue World Voyages is refurbishing a ship that’s approximately 700 feet long and 20 years old. The ship has 40 residences and 225 cabins and hopes to launch in 2021. The one-bedroom 800 sq. ft. units are $2.35M and the two-bedroom 1,200 sq. ft. units are $3.35M. The annual fees range from $200k-$300k. As with all older ships, it will burn either marine diesel or heavy bunker fuel. There are no cooking facilities for residents. With a focus on fitness, the ship dedicates a full deck for sports and boasts a seawater lap pool. The itinerary is somewhat restricted to Europe and Latin America due to its primary use as a tourist cruise ship, with no plans for global circumnavigation.
Utopia by Utopia Residences has been in development for at least 12 years (ordered in 2009) and the launch date has been delayed multiple times. It was designed to be 971 feet long with 190 residences and 206 hotel suites. The smallest 1,439 sq. ft. residences started at $3.9M and the largest 6,143 sq. ft. residence was $36M. It had a paddle tennis court, rock climbing wall and outdoor movie screen, as well as “wine and fur storage.” An itinerary was planned which involved crisscrossing the globe to world events such as Wimbledon, Carnival, America’s Cup, Running of the Bulls and Cannes Film Festival. For people who prefer the traditional architectural style of the ship and its interiors and don’t mind visiting crowded places, this ship might be an option, someday.
Don’t feel like leaving the U.S.? There’s an option for you, too.
The Marquette is a river condo cruise ship under construction that will have 185 residences and navigate 5,500 miles of rivers and 1,100 miles of intercoastal waterways in the U.S. year-round. This ship is already about 42 percent pre-sold and expects to launch sometime within the next 18 months. If U.S. river cruising (forever) is your thing, be prepared to shell out from 327k to $1.2M for your floating condo. You’ll note that the four available condo floor plans on the Marquette have a definite Class A RV feel.
These are just a few of the offerings on the way for those interested in trading in their land yachts for the real thing.
No need to hurry on making your decision, though. There are a lot more ships on the way if your 401k is really bringing in the big bucks.