The World was launched in 2002 as the world’s most exclusive floating city, and “residential yacht” on earth. The concept of the ship was to “see the world without ever leaving home”. You could buy a slice of this lifestyle, your very own luxury apartment, at a cost of $3 million for a studio. A three-bedroom apartment came in at $15 million but to buy into this dream of ownership of 165 exclusive apartments, residents had to prove they had a net worth of $10 million.
Today, The World is sold out to residents who all have undergone a strict vetting process before being allowed to buy. Around half of those on board are North American, about 45 are European and another 20 are South African. The average age is 64 years old.
According to General manager Sandra Mooney, on average, most residents spend about six months a year on board the ship. Occupancy peaks at Christmas, when many guests invite their families and friends on board.
Luxury real estate is currently spiralling upwards and we have already looked at the cities in America with the fastest-rising luxury real estate prices (& why they are hot spots). These ships are gnawing at a tiny corner of this luxury market.
But do not fear, there is another similar luxury residential ship launching in 2021. Named Utopia, it will have cost an estimated $980 million to build, with 190 residences which will be listed for between $4 million to $36 million. The ship’s route will be tailored to tie in with key events on the global calendar, such as Cannes Film Festival, Monaco Grand Prix, the Olympics, fashion weeks, the Melbourne Cup, and Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival.
It is said that the The World, is a unique floating city of like-minded individuals with a passion for travel and learning, which has become home to a bonded family. Utopia will be trying to replicate this story. Unlike The World, however, there will also be 165 hotel rooms on board.
If you prefer to river cruise, you can buy into the Marquette, which will launch in 2019. This residential-only river cruise ship, will have more modest prices with apartments on board selling for between $310,000 and $1.9 million.
Are there any disadvantages of owning an apartment on The World or Utopia?
One major disadvantage is that, unlike buying a Four Seasons Residence, ships age and your residence is unlikely to go up in value in the longer term. Even with good maintenance, most cruise ships are decommissioned after 25 years, but The World and Utopia, are of much higher quality than any of those mass market ships. The technical team behind The World had it built to a 60 year specification, with a guarantee of 50 years. Given she is now approximately 14 years old, that means she only has approximately 36 years left of guaranteed useful life. With Utopia, the quality of the build specifications will be even higher, with building specifications based on 80 years of useful life (with a guarantee of 60 years of useful life).
Should I Buy An Apartment On Utopia?
Bearing in mind the human life span, thess high spec ships are a lifestyle choice, a better investment than a vacation (where your money is gone after just one trip) and are the ultimate home for those who like to be in the centre of the action at all the major events around the world.
This luxury traveller loves the concept. A home that takes you to the best events in the world, keeps you (mainly) in the sunshine. A travelling home where you can invite your family, and you will never get bored. Yes it is expensive, but if you have the funds and a wanderlust, I cannot think of a better way of spending your time and cash!