Spending your retirement cruising around the world? It’s possible with a new ship setting sail in 2024.
Living At Sea
The company Storylines is behind the ship and is aiming to offer luxury community-style living at sea. There are 547 living units onboard, ranging from studio apartments to multi-bedroom apartments and two-story penthouses. Each apartment is fully furnished, including a television with stereo speakers and mood lighting. Some apartments also come with private balconies.
The ship — named the Narrative — will have 20 dining options, bars, three swimming pools, a bowling alley, a movie theater, a microbrewery, and a library with 10,000 books. The ship will also grow its own produce thanks to a solar-powered hydroponic garden. The state-of-the-art wellness facility will include a spa, salon, juice bar, and fitness center.
Worried about healthcare? The ship will be staffed with a team of doctors, nutritionists, and physiotherapists who can do wellness checks as well as tend to any medical issues while you are onboard. There is also a pharmacy and a post office so you can send that postcard from far away places.
Aside from all the amenities you’d enjoy on a normal cruise ship, the Narrative will stand out for its commitment to education and enrichment for residents. The ship will feature guest lectures on local habitats and cultures as well as programs on finance, art history, and philanthropy. Or join fellow hobbyists to play chess, bridge, paint, or do arts and crafts.
Cost (And Perks)
Storylines is positioning itself as a more affordable option for living at sea, especially compared to its competition. Unit prices begin at $400,000 and go up to $8 million. You are purchasing the unit for the life of the ship, but it also comes with a perpetuity cost. That means your purchase will roll over to a new ship in the future without any additional purchase required. If you are not interested in that long of a commitment, there are a select number of 12-, 24-, and 60-year leases available.
After you purchase a unit, there is a yearly living fee, which covers miscellaneous expenses like food and maintenance. Think of it like a homeowner’s association (HOA) fee. The living fee runs from $65,000 to $200,000 annually, depending on your unit’s size. Storylines predicts the units will sell out by the end of 2022 but has not announced exactly how many have already been sold.
Owning a unit comes with perks. Residents will have input on where the ship will sail next as they participate in monthly “resident choice” days. They will also be able to rent out their units if they don’t want to use them for a period of time and can invite guests on board to sail with them for a daily guest fee. Owners will also be able to sell their units, as they would any other property they own.
The Narrative is on track to make its maiden voyage in late 2024. It will cover six continents over 1,000 days, spending an average of 3 to 5 days in each port. The goal for the Narrative is to take a slower approach to exploring the world. “What a typical cruise line might do in one month or three weeks, we will take three to four months to do,” explains Storylines founder and CEO Alister Punton.
In this sample itinerary on its website, the Narrative will spend three months exploring the Mediterranean, with scheduled stops in Italy, Croatia, Albania, Greece, and Turkey. There are sea days built into the itinerary, and don’t forget about those “resident choice” days, which will allow residents to decide which ports they’re exploring next.
Storylines prides itself on giving residents the freedom to explore at their own pace. Spending several weeks along the coast of one country allows residents to disembark, rent a car to explore, then rejoin the ship a few days later at a different port.
Not Just For Retirees
If you are starting to consider this ship for retirement, know that not everyone onboard will be retired. While that was perhaps the idea when the company started building this ship, the COVID-19 pandemic definitely shifted the focus. As more companies are allowing for remote work, Storylines reconfigured some of the units to offer more office space and ensured there is enhanced Wi-Fi onboard. Families with kids will love the full education program onboard that works in conjunction with online distance learning. What better way to learn than immersive field trips and local workshops?
And don’t forget about your pets! A limited number of pets (that aren’t considered service animals and will be considered on a case-by-case basis) will be allowed on board. There is even a specific dog-walking area, groomer, boarding facility, and vet on board.
It’s important to note that all residents are interviewed before purchasing any unit to ensure the community onboard shares the same founding principles. To get started, request more info here.
Ready to cruise? Check out all our cruising content here.