You know what a cruise ship is — a small floating city packed with people, all-you-can-eat buffets, frosty umbrella drinks and a few families wearing matching T-shirts that say things like, “Thompson Family Reunion.”
But have you heard of a “community at sea”?
Imagine, if you will, a luxury community where residents have access to the best amenities. Now imagine that luxury community on water and you have The World residential ship.
That’s right, you can buy an apartment on The World and travel the world. You must have a minimum net worth of $10 million just to apply to buy one of the exclusive residences, which range from 357-square-foot studios to 4,200-square-foot, six-bedroom apartments. Besides the crew and staff, the only ones onboard are owners or their guests. The ship is managed and staffed by ResidenSea Management out of Miramar, Fla.
Although capacity on the ship is 600, rarely are more than 300 people onboard at one time. Main thoroughfares and community spaces are often vacant, especially when the ship is in port. That’s when residents are off exploring solo or participating in ship-facilitated group activities on land such as Pretty Women Day, a nine-hour shopping spree on Rodeo Drive.
The World is for those who love luxury travel. But it’s not for everyone. The quiet, reserved vibe, neutral interior design of common areas, and strict dress code help create a community culture that doesn’t seem to fit anyone with mildly eccentric tastes.
While rock stars and other nonconformist types aren’t found here wearing the standard pantsuit, there’s another breed of folks who are plentiful — business people.
Take Richard Reed for example. He is founder and chairman of a company and one of the many World residents who hasn’t hit retirement yet.
Reed lives onboard about four months every year, winters at his penthouse in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and spends the rest of his time in Scottsdale. Despite this jet-setter lifestyle, Reed manages to stay well connected while on the high seas.
“It is just as easy to do business in our apartments onboard as it is on land,” says Reed, a resident of The World since its maiden voyage in March 2002.
Every apartment has Internet access and a private fax and telephone line (a Miami area code makes it convenient for domestic callers to get in touch with residents). A conference room equipped with cutting-edge technology and a library offering an array of daily newspapers make doing business at sea easy.
With two networked computers and an all-in-one printer in his condo, Reed has everything he needs to check on business, pay bills and manage his stock portfolio online.
“Just last week I was able to purchase a piece of real estate in Mexico, complete all the paperwork and close — all while the ship was sailing in the Bering Strait, far from civilization,” he says. “Frankly, it’s a lot more fun doing business from the ship than anywhere else I can think of.”