There is one ship in particular that I've followed with interest since it's launch in 2002--The World.
The World is quite literally a floating condominium. The ship is divided into 165 apartments, all owned by the ship's residents. It travels the world year-round, stopping in ports for stints of two to five days. While some residents live aboard year round, most come "home" several times throughout the year, much as they might visit any second home. It's an elite experience. The smallest units, studios that are about the size of a regular cruise ship room, start at $600,000. Then there are the monthly maintenance fees, which now start at $20,000 (according to Wikipedia) and go up from there. But for those than can afford the price of admission, The World offers a completely unique experience.
I'm a little unclear on the exact history of the ship, my memory (and articles from the time she was still under construction) indicate that her smallest apartments were around 1,100 square feet and prices started at $2 million. Articles from that time (one HERE) indicated an additional 88 guest suites were to be included. We can only assume that those guest suites have since been hoisted on the market, perhaps to offset those soaring monthly maintenance expenses. There is a great list of FAQs HERE that explain a bit more about the ship.
The original owners could choose between apartments by four top designers: among them Nina Campbell and Juan Pablo Molyneux--whose designs for The World were featured in Architectural Digest. (A slideshow is located HERE) Judging by some of the pictures I've seen over the years of resale units, many owners opted to create one-of-a-kind homes. In fact, some owners bought multiple units!
One of the original two-bedroom plans.
I can't think of a better vacation home than one that circles the world. Imagine a new locale every week, and after the site seeing was done being able to return to one of these apartments:
A One bedroom studio unit.
Some of the apartments are HUGE by city apartment standards, and unheard of at sea.
Private dining room, in case dining at the onboard restaurants proves boring.
The private kitchens are fully equipped.
A Juan Pablo Molyneux designed unit. Check out the millwork!
What a view to wake up to!
(photos taken from current listings)
As a personal aside, shortly after she was launched I saw The World in port in San Francisco. I had, by that time, read all about her and seen the Architectural Digest spread, but I didn't even realize she was already at sea. I was more giddy than I care to admit at seeing her! Here's the pic I snapped of her in port in San Francisco:
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