A 28-year-old tech worker thinks he’s found the perfect way to see the world while working remotely — by buying a studio on a cruise ship.
Austin Wells, of San Diego, bought a 12-year lease on MV Narrative, buying a 237-square-foot apartment.
The cruise ship will be launched in 2025, and Wells, who works for Facebook parent company Meta, plans to take up residency for at least three years as he travels around the world while he works.
“The most exciting thing for me is that I don’t have to change my daily routine, in order to go see the world,” Wells said, speaking to CNBC.
Austin Wells, 28, bought a $300,000 studio apartment on a cruise ship, on a 12-year lease
The MV Narrative is scheduled to sail from Croatia, where it is being built, in 2025
Wells’ apartment is 237 square feet, with a Murphy bed and a small bathroom
The bathroom inside Wells’ cruise ship studio is similar to those in upscale apartments
Wells’ apartment is the cheapest real estate available: the high-end real estate is for sale for $8 million
I’m going from that paradigm where you want to go somewhere, pack a bag, get on a flight, and rent a room; So far, my apartment, gym, doctors and dentists, and all my groceries travel with me around the world.
The MV Narrative will contain 547 floating residences, the most modest in Wales.
Top of the range is a two-story, four-bedroom apartment measuring over 1,970 square feet, which is on sale for $8 million.
Most apartments are offered for a 24-year or lifetime lease (60 years), but Wells got a shorter term as part of a promotion to entice new residents.
Wells said he had always been fascinated by large ships, calling them “marvels of engineering and economics”, and was excited to try it out.
The ship features multiple lounges and workspaces spread over 18 decks
More expensive apartments have balconies, like the ones advertised in this computer-generated image
There is a library and meeting area inside the ship
He said he was looking forward to exploring “destinations that are difficult to reach or sea destinations such as beautiful diving spots”.
Wells added: “It’s like owning an apartment. You can sell it and you can rent it.
The company behind the project, Storyline, has a team that will assist with sales and rentals – something Wells said is important, to ensure the ship “looks alive.”
A studio apartment like the one Wells bought can bring in about $4,500 a month, according to a calculator on Storylines.
The ship will have a deck with a champagne and whiskey bar, cigar lounge, and a small swimming pool at one end.
It features 20 restaurants and bars spread over 18 floors. a 10,000-square-foot gym and spa open 24 hours a day; Three swimming pools School, library, bank and office spaces.
One of the three swimming pools was photographed aboard the MV Narrative
The ship will also have a theater for shows and movies, but it doesn’t plan to stage the extravagant entertainment typical of regular cruise ships.
The company hopes people from all walks of life, including families, will join in.
Residents will have to pay $2,100 per month per person in an “all-inclusive living fee,” which covers food and beverages from the ship’s restaurants and bars, laundry, fitness classes and medical exams.
Wells’ studio works out to $2,083 per month for the 12-year lease, so with living fees included, its total cost will be much less than renting a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan.
Wells works in Meta’s augmented and virtual reality division, Reality Labs, and his job is completely remote.
He plans to continue operating US West Coast hours while the ship visits European cities.
“My working hours will shift to evening, night and early morning,” he said.
“But it does open up for me the ability to maybe see a city from midday into the afternoon and then start my work day around six or seven in the evening.”
The most expensive apartment is an $8 million two-story property with four bedrooms, which retails for $8 million
The 741-foot cruise ship will dock at ports for three to five days—longer than average for cruise lines.
“Most people will go out to local towns and do day trips and overnight trips, rent a car and go out for three or four days and meet the ship at its next destination,” CEO Alastair Bunton, a former construction and property executive, explained. who have never taken a cruise before founding the company.
He plans to move to the ship – as all directors do – with his wife and children.
Ponton said a model itinerary might include three days docking in Rome, then three days in Naples, followed by stops in smaller places like the coastal towns of Sabri and Marsala, and eventually arriving in Venice before sailing to Slovenia, Albania, Croatia and Greece. Then Turkey.
The ship will also go to the Arctic Circle during its three-year voyage around the world.
Wells said he’s excited to start the journey.
“This is probably the first time ever that there is even the ability to have a normal job and even consider working and living on a floating apartment complex,” he said.
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