Several cruise lovers have always had an impossible dream of living on a ship permanently.
Despite the pandemic’s effect on cruise lines, extended world voyages have continued to become more popular as well as several luxury residences at sea have entered the market in recent times.
Nevertheless, these experiences can be quite pricey, which means that many eager cruise fans simply can’t afford to get on board.
Well, Storylines, a new “residential community at sea” is aiming to change that by offering an affordable opportunity to live on a cruise ship for more than a few months, or perhaps even permanently.
Slated to launch in 2024, Storylines is offering up fully furnished from one-to-four-bedroom residences, as well as studios and two-story penthouses, onboard its upcoming ship, with prices starting at $400,000 (AED 1m) and rising to $8 million (AED23 m).
The homes can be purchased directly or alternately a limited number of 12 and 24-year leases are also offered.
As per the founder & CEO Alister Punton, several of the 547 units have already been sold, and the residences are on track to sell out by the end of this year.
Those who buy Storylines’ upcoming MV Narrative ship, will receive an all-inclusive life at sea with a variety of impressive amenities in return.
The vessel is set to feature 20 dining concepts, three swimming pools, as well as a 10,000-book library, a movie theater, a state-of-the-art onboard wellness center, a bowling alley, and so much more.
The Narrative is slated to begin a 1,000-day maiden voyage across six continents towards the end of 2024, with the ship spending an average of three to five days in each port.
“What a typical cruise line might do in one month or three weeks, we will take three to four months to do. So that’s how much we extend the experience out. And they [residents] have opportunities to have input into where the ship goes next,” Punton said.
In addition to the scheduled stops, there will also be several “residents choice” days, throughout the month, when those on board get to choose the port of call.
Those who have a leasehold agreement receive occupancy rights for a certain term up to the full life of the vessel — 12, 24, or 60 years said Punton.
“With a full outright purchase, the resident owners get a perpetuity clause, which means they can roll over into a new residence on a future ship without an additional purchase, making this a long-term investment,” he added, before explaining that the homes can be rented or sold “just the same as any other real estate investment.”
Aside from the purchase price, residents will be charged a “living fee,” which ranges from $65,000 (AED238,744) to $200,000 (AED734,598) per unit annually and covers expenses such as food and maintenance.
“Once you pay your fees, you can pretty much put your wallet or credit cards away and save for the rest of the year if you choose to,” added Punton.
While potential Storylines residents are interviewed to ensure they’re a “good fit for the community” and “understand all the founding principles,” Punton stresses that there isn’t a typical resident as such.
“Storylines is a true community, and a community needs everybody. You need different types of people from all walks of life to make that community,” he said.
Owners are welcome to invite guests on board and have the option to rent out their residences when they’re not using them.
The environmental impact of cruising has been a hot topic in recent years, and Punton stresses that the ship is being designed with this in mind.
Storylines will have various sustainability initiatives in place once it launches, such as an onboard solar-powered hydroponic unit that will grow some of the produce used on board, as well as waste-to-energy technologies.
“We will be the greenest cruise ship out there. That’s not just the fuels that we use [the ship will run on liquefied natural gas (LNG), one of the cleanest-burning non-electric marine fuels].
“But there’s also all the other parts to it as well. So it’s how we source our food, how we store food in bulk, growing it on board the ship, converting waste to energy, limiting the use of plastics and all those kinds of things,” said Punton.