3 min read

Would You Live On A Cruise Ship for 3 Years?

Just when you think you’ve heard of all the types of residential living arrangements:

A 28-year-old tech worker believes he has found the perfect way to see the world while working remotely – by buying a studio on a cruise ship. Austin Wells, from San Diego, has bought a 12-year lease on the MV Narrative (for $300k), purchasing a 237-square-foot apartment.

It features 20 restaurants and bars spread across 18 floors; a 10,000-square-foot gym and spa open 24 hours a day; three swimming pools; a school, library, bank, and office spaces.

Residents will have to pay a monthly $2,100 per person in an 'all-inclusive living fee,' which covers food and drinks from the ship's restaurants and bars, laundry, fitness classes, and medical checkups.

Wells' studio works out a $2,083 a month for the 12-year lease, so with the living fee included, his total cost will be significantly lower than renting a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan. – Daily Mail

First of all, what a unique train of thought to live at sea for a few years. The guy works at Meta’s Reality Labs division – their XR team – which I guess fits the build for someone working on/in the metaverse.

Most of all, I’m fascinated by the unique value proposition that MV Narrative is offering and the angle they’re taking. The company behind this cruise, Storyline, calls it a Luxury Residential Community at Sea. Instead of selling vacations, they’re selling a new way of life at sea for the ~500 condo owners, costing anywhere from $300k to $8M.

Cruise ship companies have always had a solid understanding of persona marketing. Princess cruises for couples and romantic getaways, Carnival for families with young kids, Norwegian for the older adventurers, etc. Every cruise has its audience.

Remote workers and millennial travelers could be a new persona for cruise liners. At least, that’s what MV Narrative is looking to prove. Formally called digital nomads, this is a very well-defined persona of traveling remote workers numbering in the millions. Given that it’s all-inclusive and with a set cruise schedule, this would be more like Digital Nomad Lite. But still, the ability to work remotely while traveling the world, starting at $50k a year, is pretty enticing.

Adding on the fact that condo owners on the MV Narrative have the ability to rent it as a short-term rental like Airbnb adds some upside to the asset.

Nonetheless, its first three-year trip around the world is set to start in 2025, making it one of the first successful seasteads on the water.

The Rise of Seasteading

This is probably the first time ever that there is even the ability to have a standard job and even consider working and living from a floating apartment complex. – Daily Mail

In a way, this cruise ship is helping people test the waters of living on a seastead:

​Seasteading is the concept of creating permanent dwellings at sea, called seasteads, in international waters outside the territory claimed by any government. Some of the proposed seastead structures include modified cruise ships, refitted oil platforms, and custom-built floating islands. – Can Seasteading Save 600 Million People

This cruise isn’t technically a seastead – a term championed by The Seasteading Institute – because it’s not permanently at sea, nor is the cruise making strides toward being ecologically symbiotic with nature.

However, it’s familiarizing people with the idea of exclusively living on the water – something many of us may be forced to do in our lifetimes.

More than 44% of the world’s population lives within 150 kilometers of sea coasts. Researchers estimate that rising sea levels may put as many as 634 million people at risk of losing their living situations.

Seasteading is not just a theoretical solution. There are many projects in development as we speak, including Arktide in Tampa, SeaPod in Panama, Atlantis Sea Colony in Mississippi, FlexBase International in Singapore, and Ventive Floathouse in San Francisco. – Everydays

Overall, Austin Wells’ decision to live on a cruise for the next three years may sound bizarre today, he’s likely a couple of decades ahead of a very common living choice for millions of people. With that in mind, would you live on a cruise ship for an extended period of time?