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Aboard The World your residence changes every day

Imagine waking up to giant icebergs, glancing down from your balcony to find a colony of penguins on the ice or the beauty of the most far-flung inhabited island on Earth — Tristan da Cunha! From the snowy surrounds of Antarctica to Mexico’s tropical West coast, for the residents of The World, Residences at Sea — the largest privately-owned residential ship — the location of their home changes every other day.

Measuring 644 feet long and a width of 97.8 feet with a total of 12 decks and 165 residences ranging from studios to three-bedroom homes, The World has a diverse group of more than 150 residents from 20 countries who own the homes onboard.

Since its launch in 2002, The World has travelled around the globe, calling at over 1,000 ports in 120 countries — a thoughtfully curated itinerary selected three years in advance by a resident committee and the Captain, who is chosen via vote. The ship is operated by ROW Management, headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA.

Exploring the Indian coast

This summer, the ship’s route brought it to the East coast of India for the first time. The visit is part of The World’s 2024 journey to five continents, including Antarctica, Africa, Australia, Asia and America.

During its sojourn along the Indian coast, it embarked on a tour of Chennai to explore the cultural heritage of Tamil Nadu, the flavours of Chettinad cuisine, shopping at street markets and a visit to the home of a Tamil family for a cooking demonstration and dinner.

A view of the residential luxury ship The World in Indonesia
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A highlight of its visit to India was a stay in Visakhapatnam for the first time. “It’s the hometown of our food and beverage director Sai Kumar, who was thrilled to organise a culinary experience for residents and hosted a special Andhra meal at his home as well as an elaborate traditional dinner for a group of the ship’s residents,” says Eddie Wong, residential director of The World, Residences at Sea.

Anchored along the new International Cruise Terminal in Visakhapatnam, at first look The World resembles a cruise ship; but it is not one. “The World is the only ship of its kind in operation today where people live on it,” says Eddie.

During a short two-day stay in Visakhapatnam, the residents were welcomed with traditional dances, gifts of local sweets and Araku coffee and a mini tour of the city with visits to the Simhachalam Temple, Kailasagiri and the maritime museum circuit. From Visakhapatnam, The World will set sail for Port Blair before heading towards Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

A close-knit community

Currently, there are about 150 families onboard. While most assume owners are predominantly older couples with more time to spare, there are young families too with the youngest being 21 years old.

“On an average, residents travel around three to four months onboard each year. Some residents choose to live on board full-time while others visit periodically throughout the year. The average duration of ownership is approximately six to seven years. It’s a close-knit community where the people share interest in world cultures, history and adventure, and exploring fascinating destinations,” says Eddie.

Interiors are customised based on the residents’ individual tastes and feature everything from contemporary to traditional decor.

A view of the wine vault at The World

A view of the wine vault at The World
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The ship’s highly personalised services include gastronomic offerings from six diverse restaurants helmed by award-winning chefs, a gourmet deli, wine cellar with a capacity for 16,000 bottles, celebrity guest chefs and world-renowned winemaker visits.

The ship also has a Call-A-Chef programme where meals are prepared in the privacy of an owner’s residence by one of the ship’s chefs for an intimate dining experience or special dinner party. Visiting guest chefs include Curtis Duffy, Vicky Ratani, Kiko Moya, Soenil Bahadoer, Jonas Andre Navik, Harpal Singh Sokhi and wine makers Grace Family Vineyards and Tsushima Kitahara. For nine consecutive years, The World has been awarded Best Ship Wine List by The World of Fine Wine magazine.

Other amenities include an art gallery, biking, billiards, a medical and fitness centre, a helipad, tennis court, children’s play area, a hobby room, conference centre and game room.

Naturally, such a novel luxurious lifestyle comes at a price, which ranges from $2 million to $15 million. “The annual ownership costs are additional and are based on square footage and contribute to operational expenses, fuel, food and beverage, and administrative expenses,” says Eddie.

The World has a small selection of homes available for resale and a waiting list for certain categories. Its Guest Stay Programme, which is by invitation only, is available for those who are interested in experiencing the ship before purchase. “Those interested in ownership have a discussion with a residential adviser who explains more about net worth requirements for purchase,” says Eddie, adding that prospective residents are required to have a net worth of at least $10 million.

A view of the pool area on board The World, the luxury residential ship.

A view of the pool area on board The World, the luxury residential ship.
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Most of The World’s residents are self-made entrepreneurs and retired or semi-retired. “In fact, some are still involved in their companies and philanthropic endeavours and can manage business affairs from the ship where they can hold meetings from conference rooms,” adds Eddie.

But why choose to own an apartment on a ship rather than having a privately owned superyacht? “For a private yacht, it would likely be cost prohibitive and inefficient based on logistics, security considerations, and fuel and other transportation expenses,” he says.

As The World continues its journey in 2024 circumnavigating the globe, it will sail across five oceans, visit six continents and stop at more than 90 ports of call.

We explored the East coast of Africa before our arrival in India and have two more spectacular expeditions planned for the remainder of this year: Australia’s Kimberley region and a deep exploration of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands,” adds Eddie.

Its arrival in India came after an expedition in January to Antarctica and the Falkland Islands including an overland journey to the South Pole, followed by South America where it covered the volcanic islands of Tristan da Cunha, one of the most remote places on earth.


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