For the uber rich, traveling the World and chronicling their exquisite journey is nothing new. But recently they have been given the privilege of taking their luxurious homes along with them on their trips.
Own a luxury apartment on a cruise ship?
The richest people in the world can now buy permanent luxury apartments on Utopia, a 971-foot (296m) long cruise ship that will travel the world for months at a time and stop for global cultural and sporting events such as the Olympics, Wimbledon, and Carnival in Rio de Janeiro.
The ultra-luxury cruise ship ‘Utopia’ is expected to be launched in another three years. Utopia’s luxury residences are designed to be comparable to luxury condos in major cities such as New York or London.
David Robb, founder and chairman of the Utopia project and Harvard Business School alum said, “The floating residences cost between US$4.4 million and US$36 million (NZ$6.7m-$55m) – and many of the largest apartments are already purchased. We describe it as the largest private yacht in the world. Cruise ships are built to last approximately 25 to 30 years. We’re building Utopia to a 100-year specification. There’s nothing like that in the world”.
Artist’s impression of one of the living rooms
Mr.Robb added, “The team went to great lengths to design open floor plan kitchens so that someone with a beautiful apartment in New York would say, ‘This kitchen looks just like what I have in my luxury apartment’, but you can look out at the ocean. You can be preparing drinks while you’re watching the islands go by outside and every bedroom has an ocean view”.
A rendering of the Regatta Dining Room
Elegant and timeless architecture
The ship’s 190 apartments come in a variety of sizes and floor plans, ranging from about 1500 square feet up to 6200 square feet (139-576 square meters). Robb noted that they told their naval architects that they wanted the ship to look “like a gorgeous luxury apartment in Central Park South”.
What one of the bathrooms will look like
He added, “It has to be elegant and timeless. We can’t be chasing fads because this is going to last a long time. We also told the architects that if it looks like a cruise ship anywhere on the inside, they’re all fired”.
Entertainment on board the Utopia will include a theatre, a nightclub, jazz lounges, a casino, an art gallery, and a putting green. Residents will have plenty of ways to stay fit aboard the ship, including a walking track, a complete gym, multiple swimming pools, and a multi-deck waterslide, paddle tennis, and fitness classes. There will also be a luxury boutique hotel on board with 160 rooms so residents can invite in-laws, children, grandchildren, and other guests on board without having to invest in a larger apartment.
A mock-up design of a kitchen aboard Utopia
Robb said, “Most of the buyers so far are business people and philanthropically-minded individuals, including artists and fine art collectors. I think what [Utopia] does is attract people who want to find something unique that they wouldn’t otherwise see in a normal travel experience. You can’t buy experiences. They’re going to places and doing it in a way they wouldn’t otherwise”.
The Utopia Outdoor Pool
The team behind the Scenes
Utopia is being created by some of the same team that developed The World, a similar condo cruise ship launched in 2002 that only accepts buyers with at least US$10 million in assets. But Robb says Utopia has improved upon The World in terms of design, comfort, and economics for the residents.
Robb said, “With Utopia, we have provided “the ultimate answer” for people who want to see the world but don’t want to abandon the luxuries and comforts of home.”
“That’s kind of a revolutionary concept, traveling to remote parts of the world and having all of the infrastructures that you have at home. Beyond its residential focus, Utopia sets itself apart from traditional cruise ships by traveling the globe in one direction instead of making round trips in and out of ports. The ship will also stay in one port for up to a week as opposed to most cruise ships that stop for fewer than 24 hours. The most luxurious way to travel, I think, is to go into the heart of the country, to get out of the big cities and see what the countryside’s like and how people really live, that’s what we’ll be able to do with this kind of itinerary, and that’s unique”.
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