Condo Ships on the Horizon (part 2)

| Tuesday, 05 Mar. 2013

Editor's note: This is part two of a series of article covering a new trend in cruise ships, condo ships where the staterooms are more akin to apartments owned by the residents. Only one ship is currently sailing, The World from the company ResidenSea, but two other ships are in the development stages and both promise to be beautiful ships, The Magellan, a project with the ship currently construction, and a ship from the Four Seasons hotel company.

The World, managed by ResidenSea (see part 1), will soon have company. Currently, that 43,524-ton luxury vessel - launched in 2002 with 165 residences - is the only luxury condominium ship plying the world's waters.

But three other unique projects are on the horizon. One, involving a renovated ship to be called Murano, is still a bit sketchy, but could be launched late this year or early in 2008.

Two other projects -Four Seasons Ocean Residences and the much larger Magellan - will use newly built ships, expected to be launched by 2010.

Here's a look at the three projects and what CruiseMates.com knows thus far.

Magellan

Arizona-based Residential Cruise Line Ltd. plans to launch its own $750 million condo-ship-at-sea, The Magellan, in mid-2010. Boasting 210 residential units, it too will be built by Aker Yards.

The luxury residential ship project is the brainchild of Randall B. Jackson, a prominent Arizona real estate developer and luxury motor yacht dealer. He serves as the line's owner and CEO. The new ship's name was picked because Jackson decided to build a luxury residential vessel while he and his family were sailing on a holiday cruise through the Straits of Magellan!

What's different about The Magellan? First, it's sheer size. This 76,000-ton ship is larger than any other existing or planned condo ship. At maximum capacity it will carry 1,100 passengers and a crew of 350.

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Magellan - Sports Deck   Garden Area   Helipad - Magellan

The Magellan will be 860 feet long, 106 feet wide and 15 decks high -- closer to a medium-sized cruise ship than the other condo-at-sea projects. V. Ships will professionally staff and manage the ship.

Greater size should deliver greater more onboard activity options for residents and guests. This ship will feature a full-service spa, multiple restaurants, executive helicopters for guest use, an observatory, indoor golf simulators, a tennis court, greenhouse, 24-hour concierge service, indoor and outdoor pools, a casino and a retractable marina.

In addition, there will be a 450-seat, broadcast-satellite-capable theater featuring Broadway quality entertainment. Public areas - with the exception of a smoking lounge and some designated outdoor areas - will be nonsmoking.

Residences will feature stunning sea views, custom wood cabinetry, stone surfaces, gourmet-quality appliances, lavish baths and more. Owners of residences on Decks 7, 9 and 11 are even permitted to have two pets of less than 15 pounds each. Pets must be crated in public areas. Magellan will have a veterinarian and kennel onboard.

Another difference between this project and the others is the method of ownership. You can purchase a Magellan home in three ways.

The Platinum Decks (10 and 11) will have restricted access and will be available for purchase only to those buying full ownership of the condominium, priced from $1.875 million to $8 million. Annual condo fees start at $60,000, varying by unit size.

Homes on Decks 6 through 9 will be sold in either monthly fractional or full ownership. Fractional pricing for one-month ownership starts from $156,250 for the one-bedroom Madrid unit; from $255,000 for the two-bedroom Barcelona model; from $380,000 for the three-bedroom St. Tropez unit; and $500,000 for the four-bedroom Cannes residence.

Participants in the line's newly formed Magellan Club can buy ownership in two-week increments. That allows club members to sail for 14 days per calendar year for 20 years.

Magellan Club pricing starts in the $90,000s, and the club will lease condos from the Magellan Owners' Association. Members may transfer their club membership to a third party any time after the inaugural sailing. Jackson says that the Magellan Club was created specifically for those who want to travel the world in the most luxurious surroundings without the worries and expense of managing a full-time vacation home.

Owned residences may be rented through the owner's own agent or through the ship's office for a fee. However, sublets from U.S. ports will be permitted only after the line has complied with the usual Federal Maritime Commission financial regulations designed to protect consumers in the event of casualty or non-performance issues.

This ship is projected to have a 100-year life and a vigorous ongoing maintenance program is planned. After 50 years, though, the line said it's possible the ship could be permanently docked as a floating hotel (like the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA).

V. Ships has developed worldwide itineraries for the ship's first two years of operation; The Magellan is expected to travel to 150 countries and 300 ports annually. The itineraries may repeat ports every four years, the line said, with new ports and excursions added annually.

For more information, call 480-497-8833 or visit www.residentialcruiseline.com

Four Seasons Ocean Residences

The buzz has already begun in the travel industry about the launch of the 48,600-ton Four Seasons Oceans Residences in 2010. A huge carrot for buyers of the 112 private residences is that the ship will be managed for hospitality and non-marine services by Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.

This new 719-foot "residential" ship will be built by Europe's Aker Yards for BV International Ocean Holdings, a joint venture between Bayview Financial and Ocean Development Group, both based in Florida. Ocean Development Group will handle marine operations. Bayview is one of Florida's largest financial institutions with more than $10 billion in assets.

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Four Seasons Exterior   Pool Area   Sky bar

Designed by Florida-based Tillberg Design U.S., the ship's one- to four-bedroom residences will range from 800 to 7,860 sq. ft. All units will be wholly owned, with no "fractional" ownership. Ownership is based on a 50-year leasehold, with the owners able to renew or sell the lease at the end of that term.

There are several standard floor plans and three penthouse plans. Sales prices for a one-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath condominium (800 sq. ft.) will begin at $3.8 million. Each residence will receive a $12,000 annual credit for food, beverages and spa services.

A spokesperson told CruiseMates.com that "we are currently lining up interested parties and will be selling and going to contracts in August."

Right now, there is no program in place for homeowners to rent out their residences. However, the Residents' Association has the right to approach Four Seasons to consider the possibility of such a rental program once the developer has sold out all inventory.

Owners will choose from three design packages: Marine Yacht, Contemporary and Traditional, each with color and fabric selections for customization. Residences and penthouses will feature private entry halls, floor-to-ceiling windows and spacious living room areas with sea views. All residences will have terraces accessible from the bedroom and living room areas.

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Living Room Four Seasons   Lobby - Four Seasons

Master bedrooms will have walk-in dressing rooms and en-suite bathrooms. Homes will also boast expansive terraces, walk-in closets, a full-size gourmet kitchen and a private entrance for staff.

In addition, 18 guest suites and 11 butler suites will be available for purchase/rental for the exclusive use of residence owners and their guests.

Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts will provide most of the 240-person crew, serving a maximum of 550 residents and guests. The hospitality group's concierge service will be available 24 hours a day. Also, if guests wish to spend time at home and don't want to cook, a Four Seasons chef will prepare an "in-residence" dining experience.

Encompassing 13 decks, this ship will deliver 70,000 sq. ft. of public space, including an 11,000 sq. ft. Four Seasons Spa and fitness facility. A Grand Lobby will feature a grand piano and a dramatic waterfall. An Observation Lounge will deliver panoramic ocean views.

Expect a European-style promenade with high-end retail stores and boutiques; four restaurants; a wine cellar; gourmet market; business center with secretarial and videoconferencing services; theater; walking and jogging track; children's facilities; and swimming pool with cabanas, among other venues.

Golf aficionados will relish the ship's golf simulator, driving range and putting greens. An onboard marina will take guests from ship to shore, offer scuba expeditions and launch jets skis or sailboats. And yes, the ship will have a heli-pad.

In its first year, the ship will sail to Antarctica, the Amazon, the 2012 Olympics in London, the British Open golf tournament and the Grand Prix in Monaco, among other destinations. The pace will be leisurely with Four Seasons Ocean Residences averaging 250 days in port each year.

"As far as The Four Seasons, I do think the name will attract people especially since The World is sold out and the prices for its re-sales are holding," said Sally Goldwasser, a top luxury seller and owner of Unique Travel, Delray Beach, FL. "I think Four Seasons [the ship] has a very good chance of being successful."

For information, call 877-507-3393 or 242-327-8014 or visit www.oceanresidences.com.

Murano

A new player preparing to enter the condo-at-sea market is Condo Cruise Lines of Florida LLC, based in Destin, FL. Mark Boyd, the line's president and CEO, says his line plans to launch a renovated ship -- sailing with the name Murano -- in late 2007 or early 2008.

Additional specifics about the vessel and its planned itineraries are still under wraps, but Boyd told CruiseMates.com in late June that an announcement with more detail will likely be made within the next 60 days.

Boyd said his group is now selling the condos, arranging financing for purchases, negotiating with the ship owners and preparing for the ship's renovation. The group's condo ship was originally set to launch with an Asian itinerary in June, but that did not occur.

"What has delayed us in our launching of the project and announcing the new itinerary is the fact that we changed ships," said Boyd. "We sold out the first ship so quickly we decided to change to a larger ship that would accommodate the first batch of buyers and the overflow of additional sales. We did that and are currently around 60 percent sold out on the new ship."

Boyd says the group hopes to renovate the larger vessel [the specific ship to be acquired has not been revealed] and begin sailing in late 2007 or early 2008 from a yet-to-be-announced Mediterranean port. "The new ship will be grand," he said. "We are spending over $25 million to upgrade it to five-star luxury."

Boyd said he could not reveal more until the planned announcement. CruiseMates.com will update this story once Condo Cruise Lines is ready to provide more details. The line can be reached at 888-897-0690.

go to Part 1


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