Come see the World

Posted: Friday, July 25, 2003

On the WaterfrontBy Elton Engstrom

You thought you had it rough. But what if you were sailing on one of these great ships that come into the harbor every day and there were only about thirty other passengers aboard. Even if you could use the swimming pool or the tennis court who would you play with? Who would you say hello to in the morning? It would be mighty lonely. Such a ship arrived Saturday night and departed Sunday at 11 p.m. It is called the World, home-ported at Nassau.

My son talked with a couple who were traveling on the World. They were from England, and a sister living in Seattle accompanied them. They bought a condo on the World about a year ago. They said that a condo on the ship sells for between $2 million and $6 million, with the annual fees ranging from $80,000 to $300,000, depending on whether you have a one-, two- or three-bedroom unit.

The people said that they enjoy most of the amenities of a regular cruise ship, including three restaurants, a full-size swimming pool, tennis court and elaborate spa. All the condos are set up with a complete kitchen and there is a grocery store to furnish your supplies. If you don't feel like cooking, the chef will come to your room to prepare a really nice dinner.

You can sell or rent your condo. However, the market, according to these folks, is very small in terms of people who can afford it. They said that most of the passengers do not rent out their condos, but they do.

The tenants are from all over the world. Most use the rooms for only a few weeks of the year. Recently, the tenants became unhappy with the management, so they decided to buy the ship themselves, and run it as a cooperative. The couple talking to my son said that they own four other homes located at different spots around the world as well.

They flew to Seattle from England and met his sister there. They then flew to Anchorage and boarded the ship in Seward. They plan on departing in Vancouver, returning to England. The last time they were on the ship was at Rio de Janeiro, where they spent a week.

There are 110 units aboard the ship with 80 percent sold. The tenants of course determine where the ship travels. When the ship was here, they said there were 30 people aboard. This is the only such ship in the world, although they said there is another being planned.

No, this is not the Flying Dutchman, aimlessly circling the globe. This is the World and there are 22 condos still available. Juneauites, the line forms at the new $5 million dock next to the Alaska Steamship pier.

• Elton Engstrom is a lifelong Alaskan, retired fish-buyer, lawyer and legislator (1964-70) who lives in Juneau. He can be reached at 586-1655.

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