A Home that Floats

by Chelsea Allen:

This year, the Logan family will spend Thanksgiving in Papua New Guinea, Christmas in Australia, and Easter in India, all without leaving the comfort of their home.

William and Devon logan own an apartment on The World, a 12-deck cruise liner that touts itself as “the first and only private residential community at sea.” The ship circles the globe every two years, stopping for a few days at a time in exotic port cities. This year, residents will begin their travels in Melbourne, Australia, and end with an Antarctic Expedition in the South Pole. In the interim, they will spend two to five days in destinations that include Bali, Buenos Aires, Dubai, Dublin, New York, Nice, and Rio de Janeiro.

Residents of The World enjoy an onshore party while in port. (Courtesy Lou Hammond & Associates)

Like a traditional condo, interested buyers can purchase apartments on the ship and are free to live in them for as long as they wish. The World was originally owned by a private company, but was sold in 2003 to its 165 residents, giving them complete authority over the affairs of the ship. That means that the residents and captain chart the course for the ship and vote on proposed itineraries. Because of their joint ownership of The World, residents report a strong sense of community. “Some of my best friends are from The World,” shared the college-aged daughter of a resident. “Over Christmas, you get to go home knowing that 15 of your closest friends will be there…and you’ll all get to celebrate in the Caribbean!”

According to William logan, The World is “about luxury, but it’s not about status.” Though there is a strong sense of community, he does not know what most of his neighbors do to maintain their lavish lifestyles. In fact, many residents are attracted to The World because of the anonymity and privacy it provides. The one thing Mr. Logan does know about his neighbors is that they can afford to spend between $1.4 and 7.7 million for their apartments. These fully-furnished and decorated apartments come complete with 24-hour room service from five gourmet restaurants, access to a pool, driving range, gym, movie theatre, spa, library, tennis court, and, of course, an unbeatable ocean view.

The luxuries offered by The World extend beyond mere animal pleasures. Each year, a committee of the ship’s residents works to create the world’s most unique travel experiences for themselves and their neighbors. In October 2009, The World made a historic journey through the Bering Strait, visiting remote communities and wildlife preserves in the North Pole. It was the first foreign-flagged ship to do so since the 1920s. Residents of the ship were welcomed by local tribes who rarely interact with the world outside the Arctic. “We would go to islands where there was nothing but a church from the 15th century,” said one resident, who enjoys that The World brought “people to educate you about the significance of what you see there.” By inviting local lecturers, exhibitions, and musicians to perform or give talks about the region, The World does more for its residents than merely entertain: It also educates.

Living on the ship is costly, but The World makes sure that the environment foots none of the bill. It is the first ship of its size to burn marine diesel instead of heavy bunker fuel, allowing it to dock in ports with stringent environmental standards like Monterey, California. The World is also the first cruise liner to use a system called Scanship that cleanses wastewater so it can be reused. Perhaps the most creative green innovation aboard The World is the golf balls. Residents can use the driving range on the roof of the ship to swing dissolvable golf balls as far as they can into the surrounding ocean.

The World gives new meaning to the concept of having it all. Its residents want to combine constant exotic travel with the comforts of a close-knit neighborhood, lavish living conditions with respect for the environment, Caribbean vacations with educational missions to the Arctic. For members of this cutting-edge community of the superrich, life is not just about what you have or how you live, but where: Or in their case, everywhere.

Chelsea Allen’12 is a Political Science major in Trumbull College.