scorecard3 people share why they're paying as much as $4 million to live on a cruise ship
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3 people share why they're paying as much as $4 million to live on a cruise ship

Zoe Rosenberg   

3 people share why they're paying as much as $4 million to live on a cruise ship
LifeThelife5 min read
  • The Storylines MV Narrative luxury cruise ship is poised to set sail in 2025.
  • Cabins range from $598,000 for use a few months a year to around $8 million for a penthouse.

A new luxury cruise ship promises to deliver its residents to ports worldwide in style.

The Storylines MV Narrative will have 547 floating condominiums spread across 18 decks, with staterooms ranging from 237-square-foot interior studios with Murphy beds and virtual windows selling for $1 million for the life of the ship to 1,970-square-foot, two-level, four-bedroom suites selling for $8 million for the life of the ship.

Buyers have the option of choosing between purchasing a share of a stateroom from $598,000, which would entitle them to three consecutive months on the ship a year, or purchasing a stateroom for the life of the ship. Storylines also offered lease options of 12 and 24 years, but they're sold out.

To live aboard the MV Narrative, residents will pay an annual fee that will include most food and drinks in restaurants throughout the ship, housekeeping, Wi-Fi, laundry wash-and-fold service, and access to the gym and three pools, among many other perks.

But like a commercial cruise ship, residents of the MV Narrative will have plenty to do. Twenty restaurants and bars, a hydroponic garden, a 10,000-square-foot wellness center, a movie theater, lounges, and even an 800-liter brewery will help residents pass the time between ports worldwide.

It isn't just retirees signing on for life aboard the ship. A 28-year-old Meta employee signed on for a $300,000 12-year lease (which are no longer being offered). The 753-foot ship will also have a school for young residents.

The MV Narrative isn't due to set sail until 2025, but has already wooed many buyers excited to leave their life on land behind. Insider spoke with some of them about choosing to live at sea, how they're preparing, and how much it's costing them to live their dream.

He's funneling a lifetime of savings into a 377-square-foot studio

Jim Holt admits he's "not a rich guy." The 67-year-old Army veteran, who served for 20 years and now works as a government defense contractor, is in contract to buy a 377-square-foot studio with a queen-size Murphy bed for $1.9 million.

"I'm putting pretty much everything I have into this," Holt told Insider. "I'm just a retired Army guy with a 401(k) and IRA."

Holt is purchasing his studio for the life of the ship and intends to stay on board for as long as he can physically manage living at sea. He suspects that'll be three or four trips around the globe, each of which will take the MV Narrative three years, with stops in ports around the world, from Palermo, Italy, to Istanbul.

"I'm kind of banking on the fact that when the ship is finally built, and all the cabins are sold, these residences' value will go up," he said, noting that he's already seen similar cabins to the one he purchased selling for $2 million before the ship's even been built.

Holt is viewing the cabin as an investment for his three children, who can either decide to keep it when he's no longer using it or "sell it and make some money."

For day-to-day expenses, Holt plans to use his pensions from the Army and from a prior job.

Holt said when he signed on in 2021 to live aboard, the annual fee for a single guy like himself was $72,000 a year.

Holt plans to give up his Virginia rental and live aboard the ship full time. As such, he's working with his accountant to figure out the state where he'll claim residency.

"Right now, it's kind of looking like Missouri. They're very friendly towards social security and military retirement and things like that," Holt said.

The 'bag drag' from place to place got old — now their home will travel with them

Myle Hammond is used to working, and sleeping, in unusual places.

In the Marine Corps, which he retired from in 2014 to become a financial trader, Hammond said he used to sleep on the ground. He's trading that in for a level of comfort he's looking forward to as a part-time resident aboard the MV Narrative.

Hammond, 50, his wife, and their two high-school-aged kids are avid travelers and like to do it in style.

"We love to travel, but doing the bag drag from destination to destination can get tiring," he said. "When we travel, I don't want to spend my vacation in something that's not as nice as my home."

He and his wife saw an opportunity to travel the way they like with the MV Narrative. Hammond is in contract for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom cabin for $4 million for the life of the ship.

The couple might continue working from the ship, but are waiting to see how the chips fall over the next few years as it's built. Hammond said the annual fee he was cited, around $132,000, is comparable with how much he and his family spend on travel each year already.

There was no hesitation for Hammond committing to such a large purchase sight unseen.

"You always realize that there is a risk to things, but life is too short to not go for what you want," Hammond said. "Because this is something that I want to succeed, it's something that I'm willing to put my money behind."

They sold their 6,000-square-foot Florida mansion for a 721-square-foot stateroom

The MV Narrative won't set sail until 2025, but Angela Nuran and Paul Cosentino are ready.

The couple has already traded in their 6,000-square-foot South Florida mansion — and sold almost everything they owned — and are awaiting the ship's maiden voyage in a Boca Raton rental. They plan to live on the MV Narrative full time.

Nuran, 62, and Cosentino, 72, are cruise enthusiasts who knew they wanted to retire to a life at sea. When they found out the MV Narrative would let them bring aboard their beloved cats, Sammie and Bentley, they were all in.

The couple is in contract for a one-bedroom cabin with either two full bathrooms or 1 ½ bathrooms with an extra closet. They're opting for a 24-year lease for $2.5 million, with an annual all-inclusive fee of $135,000.

Nuran and Cosentino are excited about the community they foresee the ship offering, down to socializing over meals.

"A lot of the other residential cruise ships have kitchens in the cabins. The Narrative has 20 restaurants and bars, and most of the food is provided and cooked for you," Cosentino told Insider. "Why would we want a full-blown kitchen that just takes up space in a stateroom when we're not going to be in our stateroom cooking?"

The couple are also ballroom dancers who are excited to teach aboard the ship.

"There are those of us that have things that we can do to enhance the life experiences of the other people on board," Nuran said. "We are all very eager to contribute what we can."