I have always been fascinated by the giant floating apartment complex that is The World. You stay in your apartment while the boat travels the world, to destinations voted for by the residents and Captain. The World is in Stockholm at the moment. I watched as the tenders left the ship to ferry residents into town for the day.
In theory I think the idea is an amazing one. Instead of leaving your home to travel, your home does the travelling. No packing and unpacking of suitcases or the stress that comes with travelling these days.
I wonder, though, what it is like in reality. I have travelled by boat quite a lot – cruising on ferries to the Baltic States and Finland, around the South African coast, from Cape Town to Southampton in the days before air travel was so common, around Hawaii (where I worked on a boat) – and I have always found it exciting at first, if rather disconcerting. The movement (though you do get used to it), the fact that there is not much to do apart from the same old things every day, the horrible carpets, the stale air, seeing the same people every day, the rough seas, the small cabins, the samey food, the small area. I sometimes felt trapped on board and could not wait to get off.
In the period 2002-2018, The World visited around 900 different ports and destinations in 140 countries – and each cruise was chosen by the residents. The ship has 12 decks (6 with apartments), Helideck (1x helicopter pad), 2 swimming pools, 1x Tennis Court, 2x Putting Greens (Mini-Golf Courses), 5x restaurants. The Helideck (deck 7 forward) is used in cases of emergencies and also for private helicopter landings (arrivals/departures of apartment owners and their guests). The World Ship offers countless services and amenities- expeditions and land programs, unique art gallery, chapel, library, concierge, Medical Center, theatre, night club, video-on-demand. For onboard entertainment, there are also classes offered in topics such as navigation, dance, language, cooking, music, computers, arts and crafts, photography. There is also a boutique, a small grocery store and delicatessen.
The World provides each residence with Internet access! Passengers are able to stay connected in their “Office Away From Home” with no need to interrupt exploring the Globe. The World ship residents are able to “stay connected” through phone and Internet capabilities in their shipboard home offices, to conduct business effectively from the comfort of own residences while exploring numerous cultures and destinations on the continuous global journeys. Telephone and internet services on The World cruise ship allow resident owners to go on with their businesses efficiently from wherever the World ship happens to be.
The World ship’s 165 Residences ranging in types from Studios to 3-Bedroom Penthouses and 6-Bedroom Penthouse Suite (for up to 12 passengers). All staterooms have been sold, but there are a number of Residences which are available for resale and some for rental.
There are also additional annual maintenance fees based on apartments’ square footage. The cruise ship provides 40x studios, 19x 1-Bedroom and 2-Bedroom Studio Apartments, 106x 2-Bedroom and 3-Bedroom Apartments, 88x Suites. Prices vary and are based on size, deck location, decor, market conditions. Celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Madonna own suites on it.
Studios cost – USD 600,000 (initially sold at USD 90,000). Two-Bedroom (Ocean Residence) apartments cost – USD 2-3 million. Suites cost ~USD 12-13 million (initially sold at USD 6 million).
Short-term rentals – you can rent some of MS The World’s apartments (depending on category) for between ~USD 550 Studio (per person per night, min for 5 days) and ~USD 20,000 (Suite rentals, per month). Some Ocean Residences are also available for rent – at ~USD 2100 a day. Discounts are available for repeat customers.
Future apartment owners on The World should also know that ship service fees (depending on the property) start from USD 60,000 and go up to USD 300,000 a year. These fees cover onboard service staff/crew, fuel, maintenance (including drydocking), port charges, food and beverages. USD 8 million is the entry fee. This amount of money buys you a lease expiring in the distant 2052. As to the maintenance fees mentioned above – they are ~5-6% of the Apartment’s sale price. As to the ship’s occupancy – it rarely goes above 200 passengers (owners and their guests).
The ResidenSea company has the policy of not revealing who the clients/buyers are, but they assure that MS The World doesn’t have residents with criminal records. Latest news confirms that all the ship’s Studios and 3-Bedroom apartments are sold out. But there’s always a chance some owner to decide to sell, right? And to sweeten the deal, they advertise that you can enjoy on The World ship – for absolutely free – Spa treatments at “Clinique La Prairie”, to shop at the Graff’s Boutique or to leisurely play at the ship’s Mini-Golf Course. If you are a prospective buyer, you also must submit a list of your assets, which will be duly verified by the ResidenSea’s accountants and lawyers.
The World ship is a tax haven – for everybody willing to spend most of the year at sea, away from home. Living on this vessel has tax implications because you’re absent for a certain time in a year in your country (tax laws in your home country still apply).
On average, most residents spend about six months a year on board the ship, which flies the Bahamas flag and adheres to that country’s rules when in international waters. Occupancy peaks at Christmas, when many guests invite their families and friends on board. The residences are owned by residents who must have a net worth of $10 million. At least.
I guess many people live there only part of the year, which would be rather nice. I wonder where you register yourself if The World is your primary residence? What happens when the ship and your apartment become too old to be liveable, and need to be scrapped?
This is the itinerary for 2022