Utopia Residences and Samsung Heavy Industries have signed a letter of intent to build a 105,000-ton ship combining the best features of a private residential vessel with those of a cruise ship, explained Captain Ola Harsheim, senior vice president of shipbuilding and operations. The construction cost is estimated at $1.1 billion, and plans call for a contract to be signed next summer and delivery in 2013.

The new ship will have 200 private residences, as well as 204 staterooms intended for sale to cruise guests. The residences range from 1,400 to 6,600 square feet and cost from $4 million to $15 million each, Captain Harsheim said. The owners will have their own private club and facilities onboard, including their exclusive own pool and sun deck area, gym, bar and restaurant, in addition to six private elevators.

The ship will also be family-oriented and feature a rock-climbing wall, water slide and outdoor theater.

Itineraries will be event-driven, according to Captain Harsheim, who said the ship will spend 250 days a year in port while tracking events around the world.

There has been strong interest in the ship and many reservations for residences, Captain Harsheim said. He explained that until the letter of intent was signed, Utopia could not actually sell residences, according to U.S. laws. However, with the signing of the letter of intent, Harsheim said he expects the reservations to be turned into sales.