A life at sea is something which has tempted many a sailor in to the maritime industry, now there are several plans to launch floating communities. As every other blog is full or NCL’s stock market listing and Royal Caribbean’s ‘Royal Advantage’ refurbishment program (which we covered here), we thought we would do something different!
In 2002 ResidenSea launched The World, the first ocean-going community, the ship cruises the world and spends longer in ports. The ship has all the main functions of a cruise ship, with five restaurants, movie theatre, grocery store, casino, putting green, and library, the ships cabins benefit from private kitchen facilities. The World’s capacity varies from 100 to 300 passengers due to the residents having guests. The ship is 196 meters long and 30 meters wide, being 12 decks high, there is 250 crew members onboard.
The ship has not however been the great success that was hoped for, with disputes between the vessel management company and the residents and sales of the residences on the ship have fallen, due to worries about fuel prices, terrorism and the economy in general.
This however has not stopped rivals organisations trying to build similar vessels, the cruise ship Magellan and Utopia are two of the most developed projects. However Magellan appears to have stalled and the website has been taken down, if constructed Magellan would have been almost twice the size of ‘The World’.
Utopia is planned to be a Hybrid cruise ship/floating community with the ship having cabins targeted at the traditional cruise market, this keeps restaurants busy and stops the ship from appearing to be a ghost ship. It is planned to be built in South Korea.
In addition there has been the suggestion that a cruise ship could be converted for the elderly as a retirement residence. The American Classic Voyages, which collapsed after 9/11, the Cape May Light and Cape Cod Light, which have been laid up for several years following the bankruptcy of AMCV, a business case is being developed for the conversion.
There is of course the required ‘Pie-in-the-sky’ scheme, which in our case is the Freedom ship, development of the project started in the 1990’s, and calls for a ship over 1300 meters long, with an airstrip on the top deck, and accommodation for 50,000 people.
The ship would be three times larger than anything to have ever sailed the seas before.
The ship would be composed of several floating barges as the stresses would cause the ship to break up if constructed conventionally. Initially the ‘in service’ date was intended to be 2001, however no construction has started.
We think river cruise ships would actually provide interesting floating homes due to the smaller size, and the lower start-up cost, especially the new Viking longships project vessels. (Check out our blog on River Cruises & the Viking Longships project)