Life at sea: superyachts that make permanent vacations on the water a reality


Taking a long luxury cruise or renting a house on the water represents rest, recreation and escape for the well-heeled. Yet when the massive ship returns to port or the rental of the oceanfront home expires, the realities of home life return. Now, those with an affinity for the sea can unite the concepts of saltwater escape with everyday life by residing in a new floating hometown.

Competing community yacht designers are building the equivalent of cruise ships for a group of private owners. Meanwhile, developers of floating house communities are creating water house bases of the most stationary variety. Either way, living on the sea offers tired city real estate buyers a chance to buy a home without buying the dirt.

Rather than offering cabins for temporary guests looking to get away from it all for a few weeks, residential ships offer condominium suites as permanent residences, giving buyers the option of living at sea and never calling a port home. .

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Explore the world before settling in

Scheduled to launch in 2023, the Storylines MV Narrative will be a 741-foot-long, 98-foot-wide community yacht with 547 residences on board, ranging from 237 to 1,970 square feet. The average starting price for buying an indoor studio is $ 1 million. The $ 8 million Residences are 1,970 square foot penthouse suites with access to a private terrace. These penthouse units have two to four bedrooms on two levels that can accommodate up to 10 people.

Exterior rendering of Storylines’ Narrative MV.

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Homes ranging from 909 to 1,417 square feet offer purchase options starting at $ 2.45 million.

Alister Punton, CEO of Miami-based Storyline Cruises, describes life aboard the Narrative as an endless exploration shared with like-minded comrades.

“A Narrative resident is someone who seeks adventure, but has a sense of community,” said Mr. Punton. “We give these people a chance to make this adventure their own with our equipment and our opportunities to explore the world. “

The Narrative’s journey crosses six continents on a 1,000-day maiden voyage around the world. Residents will be given several days to explore most of the ports of call and will have the opportunity to vote on their stay or navigation to the next destination.

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The ship will include 20 restaurants and bars; a microbrewery; marina landing stage; three swimming pools; a terrace ; pet exercise area; business centre; beauty salon; a library of 10,000 books; movie theater; art studio; Bowling alley; outdoor running track; Gym; yoga studio; golf simulators; and youth education programs. Storyline offers assistance with questions regarding citizenship, medical needs, communication resources, and other practical matters.

Render of the pool at Storylines MV Narrative.

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“If you want to take a cruise, you can take a cruise,” Punton says. “But, after maybe a month of this, you’ll want to come back to your own bed and the comfort of your own home. We provide that same convenience so that people can take it home.

Residency rendering at the Storylines MV Narrative.

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The Residences at Sea, headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, own The World, the only “residential mega yacht” currently at sea. The World units originally sold in 2006, but brokers retain a small selection of residences available for resale. At 644 feet long and 97 feet wide, the 12-bridge World takes its 150 to 200 owners around the world every two to three years with a route chosen by the residents themselves in a community vote.

Onboard resale prices range from $ 2 million for studios to $ 15 million for three-bedroom homes, not including annual ownership costs. There is still a waiting list for some specific sizes.

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Pamela Conover, CEO of Residences at Sea, highlighted the feeling of friendship aboard The World as the main attraction.

“The world is an international community of 150 families from 20 different countries,” says Conover. “On board, there is a deep sense of community. It’s a welcoming and friendly environment, and I think the residents really look forward to spending time with each other.

The yacht’s amenities include a spa and fitness center; a series of lectures by Nobel Prize winners; personalized destination experiences with exclusive private tours; six restaurants and cafes; five cocktail lounges; a delicatessen stocked with regional dishes purchased by the ship’s executive chef; and a wine cellar with a capacity of 16,000 bottles.

According to Ms. Conover, The World hosts two or three special expeditions each year. Recent courses have traversed the Northwest Passage of Canada, the Russian Arctic National Park and the 80 islands of Melanesia.

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“The houses on board the World are second homes,” she adds. “Many of our residents are former or former owners of yachts or superyachts who are drawn to the hassle-free lifestyle of owning a home that travels the world where they are pampered and live in luxury. It is a perfect alternative to individual yacht ownership, offering services and facilities that would be difficult to achieve on your own.

Ms Conover adds that many residents of The World are retired entrepreneurs or still run their businesses with the option to travel. Satellite communication enables those on board to conduct business from their homes.

“I would say our residents love to be active and enjoy the varied fitness and wellness programs on board,” she said. “Many are avid divers, golfers and photographers.”

Residency rendering at the Storylines MV Narrative.

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A unique and united community on the sea

Beyond community yachts, the construction of interconnected residential marinas and other floating house communities is gaining momentum as those who can afford to escape metropolitan existence seek a non-suburban alternative. International Marine Floatation Systems, based in British Columbia, designs everything from single-family houseboats to the marinas that join them.

Mathias Tobias, Director of IMFS, insists that most people seek life in houseboats because they want to be close to nature and feel like they are escaping to this other world while living near nice people.


“The houseboat communities are a tight-knit group that really care for each other,” says Tobias. “If you travel and leave your houseboat, you know your neighbors will be keeping an eye on it. In a floating community, personal relationships are nurtured and people have a sense of personal responsibility for one another.

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Tobias believes that floating house developments are no different from traditional houses in terms of investment.

“It always has to do with ‘location, location, location,” he says. “But because this is waterfront living, if you have a desirable location the prices are comparable to other local waterfront homes. In North America, there is such a shortage of water space available for houseboats that the homes that are coming onto the market tend to get a lot of attention.


Of course, in the shadow of Covid-19, the concept of a pandemic both adds to and subtracts from the allure of life at sea, especially aboard community yachts. A shipboard condo takes the owner as far away from major city hot spots as possible, while setting them up close to their neighbors for a potentially endless journey. Along with this, the experience of life on board a ship is accompanied by medical facilities and constant cleaning of the air, water and surfaces.

“During Covid, people discovered they could work from home,” adds Mr. Punton of Storyline. “Once they realize that home can be anywhere, living aboard the Narrative with full connectivity becomes an option. Since this is not a cruise, but a house, our medical staff design the Narrative Wellness Center and Hospital, while deciding on the necessary vessel cleaning procedures to ensure that all world be safe.


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