The residential cruise ship offering a ‘more affordable’ life at sea

CNN  — 

For many cruise lovers, living on a ship permanently is a long-held, albeit extremely unrealistic, dream.

While extended world cruises have become more popular, with future new voyages being announced despite the effects the pandemic, and various luxury residences at sea have entered the market in recent years.

However, such experiences tend to come with an incredibly high price, which ultimately means that many ardent cruise fans simply can’t afford to get on board.

But a new “residential community at sea” named Storylines is hoping to change that by offering a “more affordable” opportunity to live on a cruise ship for an extended period of time, or even permanently.

Launching in 2024, Storylines is offering up fully furnished one-to-four-bedroom residences, along with studios and two-story penthouses, on board its upcoming ship, with prices starting at $400,000 and rising to $8 million.

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

Community at sea

A  rendering of the upcoming MV Narrative ship from Storylines, a "residential community at sea."

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

Those who snap up a home onboard Storylines’ upcoming MV Narrative ship, currently under construction in Croatia, will receive an all-inclusive life at sea with a host of impressive amenities in return.

The vessel is set to feature 20 dining concepts and bars, a microbrewery, and three swimming pools, as well as a 10,000-book library, a movie theater, a state-of-the art wellness center, a bowling alley and a solar powered hydroponic garden farm.

The Narrative is scheduled to begin a 1,000-day maiden voyage across six continents in late 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,” Punton tells CNN Travel.

“So that’s how much we extend the experience out. And they [residents] have opportunities to have input into where the ship goes next.”

In addition to the scheduled stops, there will also be a number of “residents choice” days, throughout the month, when those on board get to choose the port of calls.

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 – says Punton.

All-inclusive life

The residences were devised by leading interior design company  Tillberg Design of Sweden.

“With a full outright purchase, the resident owners get 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 adds, 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 to $200,000 per unit annually and covers expenses such as food and maintenance.

While this certainly won’t be affordable to everyone, the fees are considerably less than other floating complexes such as The World, where homes start at $2 million and go for as high as $15 million, with undisclosed annual fees on top.

“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,” adds Punton.

Although cruising has long been associated with the older generation, this has shifted in recent years, with more and more younger people becoming drawn to the cruising world.

According to Punton, the age ranges of those who’ve already put down deposits is incredibly wide, and entry level residences have been selling just as well as those at the higher end of the scale – the current average starting price is $897,000.

“We have retirees and children and everyone else in between, including younger digital nomad types,” says