Travelers who fantasize about owning a luxury yacht may be able to turn their dreams into reality – at a much lower price.
Residential yachts, as they are called, are basically apartment buildings on the sea. Buyers are buying apartments on mega yachts, rather than owning and operating their own small vessels.
Once most of the apartments are sold, the yacht operates like a luxury cruise line, traveling the world with staff on board and access to restaurants, spas, wine cellars and gyms.
One residential yacht is SomnioAnd The 728-foot superyacht is currently being built by the Norwegian shipbuilder Vard. It will be the world’s largest yacht once completed in 2024, according to Vard’s website.
Somneo co-founder and captain Eric Brede said Somneo has 39 apartments, and prices start at 9.5 million euros ($11 million). He pointed out that prices depend on the size and location of the apartment, with higher units costing more.
While $11 million is more than enough to purchase a private yacht, it doesn’t come close to the cost of a luxury yacht.
Yachting influencer Dennis Sokka — known as “The Yacht Mogul” to his more than 550,000 followers on Instagram — told CNBC that he’s helping design a 295-foot luxury yacht called the Mogul.
When complete, it will cost about $150 million with just one buyer, he said.
Somnio is more than twice the length of the Mogul.
Apartment in front of a private yacht
According to Bredhe, complete privacy is not necessarily what every yacht buyer wants. The main selling point of residential yachts, he said, is the ability to “mingle with like-minded members of the community”.
“The single biggest factor is the intimate community that you share a truly global itinerary with,” he told CNBC, adding that “the beauty of owning your own apartment is that you don’t have to worry about the maintenance and planning that comes with a private yacht.”
According to Somnio, the yacht’s staff will handle maintenance, repairs, fuel and food supplies, as well as shore tours. Staff will also plan itineraries, although residents can recommend destinations as well, according to the company’s website..
Entry-level apartments in Somnio (photo shown) sell for $11 million for 1,960 square feet of space.
Somnio | design winch
But this does not come for free. Bredhe said buyers must pay an annual fee, which covers expenses related to maintenance, fuel, food and personal services. However, there is a “no-tipping policy” on Somnio, he said, which can range from 15% to 20% of yacht charter costs.
Brady said ownership on the boat is by invitation only. He added that some buyers contacted the company directly while others came from personal recommendations.
Unlike most boats, the value of residential yacht apartments may rise over time, Bredhe said.
This is true for another residential yacht called The World, which was launched in 2002.
“The value of all accommodation types has increased significantly since the ship was launched, driven by demand from potential buyers globally,” a company representative told CNBC.
The world yacht contains 165 private apartments, some of which are currently for sale.
However, owners can’t make money by renting out their apartments, although family members and guests can use the apartment if the owner isn’t on board, Bredhe said.
At 644 feet Long ago, in the world there are more than four times the number of apartments in Somnio.
A company representative told CNBC that it has studios and one- to three-bedroom apartments ranging from $2 million to $15 million, a small number of which are currently for sale.
“When we saw the world sail to Rio de Janeiro and got to know its unique concept, we knew we had to be a part of it,” said a current resident who asked to remain anonymous to protect his privacy.
The resident lived on the yacht for four years, during which time he discovered Madagascar, Indonesia and the Mediterranean, he told CNBC.
Residential yacht, Globe.
“We love the serene nature of being able to go our home in the world whenever we want, and only having to carry our handbags – we have both summer and winter wardrobes on board,” he said.
He said he had never considered buying a private yacht because “our friends who have private yachts have nothing but staff issues or mechanical issues, which seem to spoil their enjoyment somewhat.”
Since its launch, the scientist has traveled to places such as Greenland, the British Isles and the “White Continent” – Antarctica.
Another superyacht – 948 feet long – is due for completion by 2025. He also plans to sell onboard apartments to buyers who want the thrill of ocean travel without the responsibility of yacht ownership.