Piles of money have bought happiness for a group of multimillionaires who spend most of their time on a floating tax haven cruising the globe.
The World is a unique ship – part cruise liner and part home that has some of the most expensive apartments that extreme wealth can buy.
The cruise ship has 165 apartments with prices ranging from $4,300 to $6,200 a square foot, which makes space on the ship more expensive than buying property in London or New York.
At any one time, the owners say 10 to 15 apartments are for sale, but not just anyone can buy one.
The owners decline to comment on how living aboard a cruise liner that has no permanent dock impacts their tax status.
Passengers have no permanent home
They say the ship is a lifestyle more than a way of facilitating tax avoidance.
To qualify, purchasers must show they have a personal wealth of at least $10 million, have references from at least two people living on the ship, pass background checks and have up to $900,000 a year available to cover food and maintenance each year.
The price for a cabin ranges from $1.8 million to $15 million.
Facilities on the 644-foot-long ship over 12 decks include a tennis court, golf simulator, billiards, spa, a library and theatre.
The World constantly circumnavigates the globe, spending around two-thirds of the year at sea. Every three years, she is confined to dry dock for maintenance and repairs.
44,000 miles sailed in a year
In 2017, The World visited 100 ports in 20 countries and sailing 44,000 miles. The criss-cross voyages included trips to Australia, the Asia pacific, Canada and Central America before sailing through the Panama Canal to celebrate the New Year in Miami.
The World’s condo owners have shares in the company that owns the ship and meet every year to decide the itinerary three years ahead.
Logistics are a constant headache for the 280 crew of the 43,000-ton ship. One deck is given over to storing vast quantities of food, wine and other supplies shipped by land, sea and air which are sometimes ordered a year in advance.
Utopia, a second similar cruise condo ship is also under construction.