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by Stella Ong


Torn between seeing the world and buying a home? There's a way to combine both.

Cruise line corporations like Carnival Corp ($CCL) and Norwegian Cruises ($NCLH) offer a unique experience. During your trip, you can help yourself to unlimited food, enjoy shows and activities, choose between multiple activities anytime and, of course, most importantly, stop by different parts of the world. It’s a fleeting holiday many people wish was longer. 

Well, it’s actually possible to make that desire a reality: residential cruise liners do exist.

The World’ was the pioneer. Launched back in 2002, this ‘condo cruise liner’ is nearly 200m long and houses 165 apartments that have sold for between US$3 million and US$15 million. Like a floating suburb, the ship contains several amenities that residents pay an additional annual fee to run. Residents also decide where the ship goes – since launching, it’s been to over 1,000 destinations across 120 countries.

If that sounds appealing, you’ll be glad to hear The World is no longer the only one. Set to depart in 2024, ‘Storylines’ is selling 547 residences at prices starting from a more affordable US$400,000. Meanwhile, the Somnio is launching next year as the ‘world’s first yacht liner’, housing 39 apartments at a minimum price of US$11 million. This one will have a wine cellar with a 10,000-bottle capacity, customisable interiors and seven-star hotel service.

And here’s an interesting tidbit about living in international waters: the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) states that the nationality of a ship (and therefore the rules governing it) depends on the flag it’s sailing under. This makes residential cruise ships a potential tax haven for ongoing income earners. It’s no wonder The World, for example, sails under the flag of The Bahamas. 

Not ready for the long-term commitment? Royal Caribbean ($RCL) has recently unveiled the record-breaking Utopia of the Seas cruise liner, which offers a mix of both long-term residences and holiday cabins. When you add the alternatives of taking fractional ownership or experiencing a three-year, round-the-world journey, you have a few ways to test the waters (no pun intended).

Portrait photo of Stella Ong, Markets Analyst at Stake.

Stella Ong

Markets Analyst

Stella is a markets analyst and writer with almost a decade of investing experience. With a Masters in Accounting from the University of Sydney, she specialises in financial statement analysis and financial modelling. Previously, she worked as an equity analyst at Australian finance start-up, Simply Wall St, where she took charge of the market insights newsletter sent out to over a million subscribers. At Stake, Stella has been key to producing the weekly Wrap articles and social media content.


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