What would you give up to travel the world? Would you drop everything if given a chance, given all the money you'd need and the promise of security once you return? What if there was a future where you wouldn't need to do any of that, where you could journey around the world without sacrificing a thing?
That appears to be the goal with the latest residential cruise ship named the MV Narrative, where people can buy a luxury apartment and spend their years on the water, with every necessity and amenity aboard the same ship.
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The desire to travel the world is one shared by many. There are tons of beautiful countries with breathtaking scenery, rich culture, delicious foods, and amazing people, most we'll never get to see in our lifetimes. Traveling can be hard, after all. Between the money and the major disruption of your life, being able to spend a long time traveling the world is simply not feasible for most people.
Some companies have clued into this and are coming up with solutions, finding ways that allow people to travel while still earning money and having a regular schedule and home life. Not only are these solutions promising, but people are already buying into them.
A Whole New World
Austin Wells, 28, didn't want to sacrifice his job in Meta's virtual reality division, Reality Labs, to chase his passion for traveling the world, so he found a solution that married both values for him.
For the foreseeable future, he will be living aboard the MV Narrative, a luxury mega cruise ship that's semi-designed for long-term, live-in residence alongside standard cruise passengers. He will be working remotely from the ship and will live there for at least three years.
All You Need And More
The boat is filled with every amenity you could imagine. There's a farmer's market, bank, library and private kitchens, a 10,000-square-foot gym, a 24-hour spa, multiple swimming pools, three schools, 20 restaurants and bars, and more.
The ship contains more than 500 private rooms and apartments which will house over 1000 residents. There are 11 types of residence styles, which vary from small, standard bachelor units to two-level, four-bedroom apartments.
Wells' own apartment is the entry-level, 237-square-foot unit. He spent ~$300,000 on a 12-year lease.
Many of the apartments are designed for longer leases, either 24 years or 60 (the approximate life of the ship), and at those higher-length leases, buyers could expect to spend between $1 million and $8 million.
Still, that's considered 'affordable' when it comes to buying a unit on a residential cruise ship. Another luxury ship, The World, has apartments that cost nearly $20.5 million, and only house 150-200 people.
There are also 'all-inclusive living fees' on top of the unit purchase that helps cover things like food and drink, fitness classes, laundry, and additional medical services. Unit owners will also get the option to rent out their units when they're not aboard.
When asked about the move to working at sea, Wells said, "My working hours will be shifted towards evenings, nights and very early mornings. But that does open up the ability for me to […] maybe see a city midday to afternoon and then start my workday around six or 7 p.m."
“This is probably the first time ever that there is even the ability to have a standard job and even consider working and living from a floating apartment complex."
Plenty Of Time
The MV Narrative will be docking at ports for three to five days at a time, a little longer than average for most cruise liners. According to Storylines (the company behind the ship) CEO, Alister Punton, this longer stay time will allow residents to truly explore the locations they stop at.
"Most people […] will be out in the local cities and doing day trips and overnight trips, hiring a car and going out for three or four days and meeting the ship at its next destination," he told CNBC.
Around The World
The ship plans on traveling the world over the course of three years. The full itinerary has yet to be released. Some potential stopping locations include Rome, Naples, and Venice in Italy, before they move on to other countries such as Slovenia, Croatia, Greece, and Turkey. The ship will also be heading to the Arctic Circle.
Wells' plans consist of more than just working aboard—he wants to spend time in every location they visit. "Revisiting all of Europe, I think, is what I'm particularly keen on," he said. "So much of the interesting parts, in my opinion, of Europe are towards the center."
Passengers Of All Ages Are Welcome
The ship's residences are open to purchase by all age groups, but Wells expects he will be one of the youngest adult residents on board. The ship is suited for families, as they have a "world schooling" program for children that will make frequent use of field trips into the countries they visit.
However, it's expected to largely be retirees or those close to retirement, all looking to spend their free years doing something innovative and exciting.
Punton wants the ship to be welcome to those who both want to relax entirely as well as those who want to keep working in a lesser capacity or just as a hobby. He believes there's career potential all over the ship.
A Decade In The Making
The ship is still a few years away from officially setting sail, but Punton already can't wait, planning to move aboard himself with his wife and two children.
"For me, I'm, you know, pretty much seven years into this project already. And by the time we hit the water will be a decade. It’s a long portion of my life. And of course, I want to live this lifestyle as much as anybody else," he said.
"The goal is to actually have a community of residents on this ship. And so you will establish new friends, you will largely travel the world with them, which is potentially a way to create some of the deepest friendships you've ever had."
The opportunities presented by the MV Narrative are not only astounding, but they're seemingly unmatched. Other residence ships seem reserved for the uber-wealthy, so having one that's even a fraction more accessible is quite the stepping stone towards common, commercial cruise living.
Not to mention the journey that living on a ship like this would take you on. Travelling to other places is the best way to open one's mind to all our beautiful Earth has to offer, to really gain new perspectives and learn about every incredible culture people have built. Being able to do so while also having a home to go back to every night is nothing short of a blessing.
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