The World seems to have encouraged a trend, and if all goes according to plan, a number of residence ship operators hope to set sail in 2010, with construction expected to start as early as the end of this year and into 2008. One company is even optimistic enough to hope for a launch of its vessel by this coming New Year's.
Plans call for Aker Yards to start construction on the Four Seasons by the end of 2007 - scheduled for a 2010 delivery.
The vessel, designed by Tillberg Design U.S., will be 48,600 tons, 726 feet long, with 112 wholly owned private residencies, offering one, two, three, and four bedrooms, ranging in size from 800 to over 7,000 square feet, including floor-to-ceiling windows, spacious living room areas with sea views, expansive terraces, walk-in closets, a full-size gourmet kitchen, and a private entrance for staff. Apartment prices range from $3,750,000 to $39,000,000.
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts will be responsible for the residential management, including all guest services and amenities, and Ocean Development Group will be responsible for marine services.
Residential Cruise Line, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Aker Yards to build the $750 million dollar, 860-foot-, 15- deck-, 210- unit-condominium Magellan, which also slated to set sail in 2010.
"The :finalization of the project is subject to the completion of the financing," according to a company press release.
A spokesperson for Residential pointed out that the vessel "keeps getting larger. We recently added a U.S.-Open-style tennis court. That said, we can't say when the contract will be signed - but we are thinking sooner rather than later."
The Magellan offers fractional and full-ownership. Private residences range from $1.875 million to $8 million for penthouses, and from $156,250 for fractional ownership residences.
According to plans, the ship will be designed by Petter Yran & Bjorn Storbraa Ten Arcidtects; Deltamarin will be doing the engineering and consulting work; and V. Ships will recruit and manage the crew.
The Orphalese is a proposed ship by Orphalese Global Strategies. According to Steve Cid, director of sales worldwide for Orphalese, construction for the 90,000-ton, 967-foot-long vessel will be done at Aker Yards, and is expected to start in early 2008, with the inaugural cruise slated for 2010.
"We will begin construction once we have reached the 120th residence sale; right now we are in pre-launch. We expect to go public on October 15," Cid explained. ''There is a long and extremely interested list," he added, noting that he expects to reach the 120th sale before the end of 2007.
The Orphalese will have 192 permanent residences, ranging from 1,000 square feet to 4,000 square feet, offering two, three, and four bedrooms. Prices range from $1.8 million to $10 million. She will also boast an 80,000-square foot mall with retail venues. The ship is expected to spend an average of 200 days in port per year.
Condo Cruise Lines
"We are different from other companies in this sector simply because we are not building from scratch. The goal is to gut and renovate boutique vessels, which ends up saving millions of dollars," said Robin Stewart, CEO of Voyage Partners, marketing arm for Condo Cruise Lines International, "the ship developers responsible for putting all of the operations systems in place," Stewart said.
"Our business model is to buy smaller - 350 to 600 passengers," she added, pointing out that the company's goal is to have five or more ships within the next three years.
"We sold out the residencies on the first ship we were looking at - the 1972-built Omar 3 (ex-SuperStar Sagittarius, ex-Sun Viking). We had 100 resident suites designed for that ship. There was an overwhelming interest. But about three months ago, another ship became available that we felt was bigger and better - the Dream Princess (ex-Song of Norway, ex-Sundream). We have offered to buy the ship and we expect things to be finalized within the next month or so - then she will go into renovation."
Tillberg is designing and renovating the ship, which Stewart said will have a "contemporary, luxury look."
"We expect to be fully sold in about three months, and hope to launch the ship by the end of 2007," she added.
Stewart would not comment on the specifics of the residencies or how many have currently been sold, only saying that "sales are doing well."
Emilio Freeman, vice president of operations for Residensea, which launched the World, the first and so far only private residence ship, in 2002, commented on the aspiring new operators, noting that "they have great websites, but no ships out there."
The World had a difficult birth, however, going from some 80,000 to 40,000 tons in size and changing ownership, before settling into service.