Have you been hoping to eat cake by the ocean?
The cruise ship Storylines, dubbed a “residential community at sea,” sets sail in 2024 as a “more affordable” alternative to other luxury marine residences, according to CNN Travel.
Storylines’ debut ship boasts suites starting from one to four bedrooms, as well as studios and a few two-story penthouses, starting at $400,000 and up to an eye-popping $8 million.
The vessel, dubbed the MV Narrative, also features 20 restaurants and bars, a microbrewery, three swimming pools, a bowling alley, movie theater and spa for lounging and recreation, plus a solar-powered hydroponic garden, and 10,000-book library and education program for children to feed the mind during long days at sea.
It would seem like a tough sell during a pandemic. Just last month the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised travelers to avoid cruise ships for now, even if vaccinated for COVID-19, amid the global outbreak of the Omicron variant. The health agency is currently investigating and monitoring at least 86 cruise ships amid the surges.
Meanwhile, cruise giants such as Norwegian and Royal Caribbean have recently canceled trips as the industry struggles to keep up during this pandemic now two years running. Last summer, Carnival reported $2 billion in losses since the start of 2020.
But most of the Narrative’s 547 units have already been sold outright, according to founder and CEO Alister Punton, though a limited number have been set aside for one- and two-year rental leases.
And that’s just the beginning — as every resident is also charged a “living fee” in the range of $65,000 to $200,000 per unit, annually, to cover their all-inclusive living experience.
“Once you pay your fees, you can pretty much put your personal wallet or credit cards away and save for the rest of the year if you choose to,” Punton said.
The Narrative is currently still being constructed in Croatia, and scheduled to begin its first 1,000-day maiden voyage in late 2024, with plans to touch down on six continents during that time.
“What a typical cruise line might do in one month or three weeks, we will take three to four months to do,” Punton said. At each port, residents will get three to five days to roam before returning to the ship. “So that’s how much we extend the experience out. And they [residents] have opportunities to have input into where the ship goes next.”
Despite its long association with sun-loving seniors, Punton also claimed that interest in the cruise lifestyle has skewed younger, especially with the “digital nomad types, in recent years — adding that their residences will make for smart investments at any age. Owners are insured as their purchase includes a “perpetuity clause, which means they are able to roll over into a new residence on a future ship without an additional purchase, making this a long-term investment,” he explained. They’re also free to rent or sell their units “just he same as any other real estate investment.
Storylines was launched with sustainability in mind, Punton claimed. “We will definitely be the greenest cruise ship out there,” which runs on liquefied natural gas, “one of the cleanest-burning non-electric marine fuels,” he said.
“But there’s also all the other parts to it as well,” he continued. “It’s how we source our food, how we store food in bulk, growing it onboard the ship, converting waste to energy, limiting use of plastics and all those kinds of things.”
Storylines is a steal compared to other sea-faring communities, such as the World, where quarters cost up to $14 million for purchase with yearly fees of $1.4 million, or the 721-foot-long superyacht named Somnio, where condo units start at $11 million. Also launching in 2024, Somnio has billed itself as “the only residential superyacht in the world.”