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The residential cruise ship offering a “more affordable” life at sea

Tamara Hardingham-Gill, CNN

For many cruise enthusiasts, living on a ship all the time is a long-held dream, albeit an extremely unrealistic one.

While extended world cruises have become more popular, future new trips announced despite the effects of the pandemic, and various luxury offshore residences have entered the market in recent years.

However, such experiences tend to come with an incredibly high price tag, which ultimately means that many cruise enthusiasts simply cannot afford to get on board.

But a new “offshore residential community” named Storylines is hoping to change that by providing a “more affordable” opportunity to live on a cruise ship for an extended period, if not permanently.

Launch in 2024, Scenarios offers fully furnished one- to four-bedroom residences, as well as two-story studios and penthouses, aboard its next ship, with prices starting at $ 400,000 and reaching $ 8 million.

The homes are available as buy-in, although a limited number of 12- and 24-year leases are also offered.

According to founder and CEO Alister Punton, an undisclosed number of the 547 units have already been sold and residences are on track to be sold by the end of 2022.

Those who find a home aboard Storylines’ upcoming MV Narrative ship, currently under construction in Croatia, will enjoy all-inclusive sea life with a host of impressive amenities in return.

The ship is expected to feature 20 restaurant concepts and bars, a microbrewery and three swimming pools, as well as a 10,000-book library, a cinema hall, a state-of-the-art wellness center, a bowling alley and a solar-powered park. hydroponic garden farm.

The tale is set to begin a 1,000-day maiden voyage across six continents at the end 2024, with the ship spending an average of three to five days in each port.

“What a typical cruise line could do in a month or three weeks, we’ll take three to four months to do,” Punton told CNN Travel.

“So that’s how much we extend the experience. And they [residents] have the opportunity to have a say in the ship’s next destination. “

In addition to the scheduled stops, there will also be a number of “Resident’s Choice” days throughout the month where those on board can choose the port of call.

Those with a lease contract are given rights of occupancy for a certain length of time until the full life of the ship – 12, 24 or 60 years – says Punton.

“With an outright purchase, resident owners benefit from a perpetuity clause, meaning they can move into a new residence on a future vessel without additional purchase, making it a long-term investment. “, he adds, before explaining that the houses can be rented or sold” like any other real estate investment “.

In addition to the purchase price, residents will have to pay “living expenses,” which range from $ 65,000 to $ 200,000 per unit per year and cover expenses such as food and maintenance.

While it is certainly not affordable for everyone, the fees are considerably lower than at other floating resorts such as The world, where houses can cost around $ 14 million and annual maintenance costs up to $ 1.4 million.

“Once you’ve paid your fees, you can pretty much put away your personal wallet or credit cards and save for the rest of the year if you want to,” Punton adds.

Although cruising has long been associated with the older generation, that has changed in recent years as more and more young people are drawn to the world of cruising.

According to Punton, the age ranges of those who have already deposited deposits are incredibly wide, and entry-level residences sell as well as those at the top of the scale – the current average starting price is 897. $ 000.

“We have retirees, kids and everyone in between, including younger types of digital nomads,” Punton says.

“And a lot of families are joining us. In this area, it is the 30-40 year olds with young children. We have the whole range.”

In order to meet the needs of people with children, Storylines offers a comprehensive educational program, as well as numerous educational spaces. There will also be a team of medical personnel, including doctors, nurses and physiotherapists, on board the ship, as well as a pharmacy and post office.

As potential Storylines residents are surveyed to ensure they are “well suited to the community” and “understand all of the founding principles,” Punton points out that there is no typical resident as such. .

“Storylines is a real community, and a community needs everyone,” he says. “You need different types of people from all walks of life to form this community. “

Owners are welcome to invite guests on board and have the option of renting out their residences when not in use.

The environmental impact of cruising has been a hot topic in recent years, and Punton points out that the ship is designed with that in mind.

Storylines will implement various sustainability initiatives once launched, such as an on-board solar-powered hydroponic unit that will grow some of the products used on board, as well as waste-to-energy technologies.

“We will definitely be the greenest cruise ship on the market,” Punton said. “It’s not just the fuels we use [the ship will run on liquefied natural gas (LNG), one of the cleanest-burning non-electric marine fuels].

“But there are all the other parts as well. So it’s how we source food, how we store food in bulk, grow it on board the ship, convert waste into energy, limit the use of food. plastic and all that sort of thing. “

When the project was first launched in 2016, the original plan was to turn an older vessel into a residential vessel.

However, after a few false starts with existing ships that weren’t quite suitable, it was decided that building a new ship would ensure the best possible outcome.

Although Storylines has been in the works for a few years, the team has noticed a shift in demand in the wake of the global pandemic, with an increasing number of families, as well as executives, showing interest.

Some modifications have since been made to the design plans, with the addition of new residences specifically adapted to this market.

“Over the past three months we’ve released a new round of updates to the original patio plans, which include five new types of complete residences with offices, larger and deeper balconies and more space. entertainment, ”adds Punton.

Storylines has already built up a strong community of followers, and some of its early supporters are now known as Founders Circle.

According to Punton, the team is constantly checking with those who have purchased a unit, especially the Founders Circle, regarding the design plans, as well as the onboard facilities, to make sure they are happy with the end result.

“It’s a very important element for us,” he explains. “Because the ship is truly theirs at the end of the day. They are the ones who will be living in it, and it has to be built for them.”

A condo aboard the 728-foot ship will cost buyers a minimum of $ 11 million, with sizes ranging from 1,600 to 6,500 square feet.

Measuring 643 feet, The world is currently the world’s largest private residential yacht, with a combination of studios and one- to three-bedroom apartments available on board.

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