Residential cruise ship startups promoting condos at sea for over $100,000 are struggling for a similar purpose

  • All through 2023, residential cruise ship startups have delayed their launches.

  • Corporations like Storylines and Life at Sea Cruises haven’t got their respective ships but.

  • There is a checklist of difficulties that include buying an outdated ship or constructing a brand new one.

Buzzy residential cruise ship startups like Storylines can not seem to keep on with their timelines.

In recent times, a number of firms have capitalized on the rising demand for longer cruises by saying plans to launch everlasting or semi-permanent condos-at-sea. However these startups’ debuts appear to be inevitably adopted by delays of their plans.

As of now, the one residential ship in operation is The World. However even it has confronted roadblocks: Launched in 2002, residents needed to pool $71 million to purchase the $280 million ship themselves in 2003. And about 10 to 12 of The World’s 547 cabins are resold yearly between $2 million and $15 million.

From there, the checklist of successes is small. Whereas hardcore cruisers are anxious to begin their lives at sea, firms like Storylines, Victoria Cruises Line, and Villa Vie Residences are struggling to remain true to their timelines. It is easy to seek out individuals who wish to dwell on a cruise ship — however these startups are discovering that really launching a condo-at-sea idea is tough.

Storylines is a major instance

Storylines residential cruise ship

Storylines delayed the development of its MV Narrative residential ship no less than twice.Storylines

Since launching in 2016, Storylines has promised patrons onboard facilities like hydroponic farms, an anti-aging clinic, and 20 eating and bar venues. The corporate has pledged to construct its personal ship, named the MV Narrative, after initially weighing the acquisition of a used ship. Over half of the long run ship’s 530 condos — which vary in worth from $875,000 to $8 million — have been reserved, Storylines CEO Alister Punton stated in July.

Constructing a residential vessel from the bottom up is a herculean effort, which requires securing funding, designing the ship, discovering the shipbuilder, and really executing the construct. It is “like constructing a metropolis,” stated a guide who labored with Storylines however requested to stay nameless to talk freely with out concern {of professional} repercussions.

To carry cofounders’ imaginative and prescient to life, Storylines introduced in 2021 that it had tapped Croatian shipyard Brodosplit to construct the roughly $900 million vessel. Nonetheless, trade consultants questioned this resolution: The Croatian shipyard seldom builds cruise vessels of this proportions. Storylines instructed Enterprise Insider the shipbuilder had the “ultimate experience” for the job. A 12 months later, Brodosplit filed for provisional chapter amid Russian sanctions.

A rendering of a residential cruise ship cabin with a made bed and a sunset in the background.

Storylines says its ship will launch in December 2026.Storylines

Whereas Brodosplit’s chapter proceedings have been canceled in March, Storylines’ launch has now been pushed again twice, from 2024 to December 2026.

Nonetheless, 9 former staff, consultants, and buyers instructed Insider that they doubt the ship will likely be constructed, citing considerations in regards to the startup’s unrealized targets, damaged contracts, and funding, in addition to cofounders’ lack of understanding.

“No one provides out a mortgage for close to a billion {dollars} to a man who’s by no means constructed a ship” or who “has by no means executed a deal this dimension,” the guide stated, calling Punton and Lee’s lack of expertise within the trade “the cherry that sits on prime of this entire shit sundae.”

As many potential clients excited by condo-at-sea ideas are retirees, startups like Storylines haven’t got infinite time to satisfy patrons’ goals. At the least one Storylines purchaser has died amid these delays. One other retiree Mike Kasperzak, has asked for a refund after putting down his deposit two years ago. He instructed Insider he discovered himself asking: “Is that this going to occur in my lifetime?”

Constructing a brand new ship is difficult – however so is buying an outdated one

Inside Victoria Cruises Line's residential cruise ship

Victoria Cruises Line chartered its residential ship of alternative.Victoria Cruises Line

Whereas points with Storylines’ shipyard have contributed to delays, buying used vessels creates its personal set of monetary and logistical difficulties. Bidding on, buying, and refurbishing a big ship takes vital time and sources. And a few older vessels might wrestle to fulfill more and more strict sustainability regulations.

A number of current startups that purchased or chartered older vessels are dealing with their very own sequence of delays.

Victoria Cruises Line is chartering its Victoria Majestic, previously Holland America Line’s MS Veendam. In February, the corporate introduced the 27-year-old ship would depart on its circumnavigation of the globe simply three months later in Could. Its launch has since been delayed to late July 2024.

A rendering of Life at Sea Cruises' MV Lara

Life at Sea Cruises says its unending around-the-world journey will launch on November 30. Life at Sea Cruises

In March, Miray Cruises’ new Life at Sea Cruises subsidiary opened reservations for its three-year around-the-world crusing, initially set to embark on November 1 aboard the roughly 30-year-old MV Gemini.

However, simply weeks earlier than the ship was imagined to depart, Life at Sea announced it was going to delay its launch because it still did not have a ship for residents to live on. The corporate additionally introduced it will ditch its three-year itinerary. As a substitute, Life at Sea now guarantees a unending cruise.

The corporate has stated it can substitute the Gemini for the MV Lara, which has nonetheless not materialized. Life at Sea has but to shut on the ship as of writing.

Fares at the moment begin at over $115,500 per individual for a minimal three-year dedication on the ship.

The most recent startup hasn’t acquired a vessel but both

A balcony cabin rendering on a cruise ship.

Villa Vie planes to set sail in Could 2024.Villa Vie Residences

In 2023, a handful of former Storylines and Life at Sea staff began Villa Vie Residences, one other floating rental idea with cabins beginning at $100,000. The newcomer says it plans to set sail in Could 2024.

However like its predecessors, Villa Vie would not have a vessel but. In October, Mikael Petterson, its founder and CEO, stated he anticipated to shut on a ship by the tip of 2023, including that he had “constructed greater than sufficient time” into the schedule to account for hiccups. “We do not want as a lot of a runway that Life at Sea did.”

Learn the unique article on Business Insider


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