At first glance, The World looks like an average cruise ship: smokestacks and a Bahamian flag top off a 12-story, window-dotted, white titan. However the liner, which is anchored about half a mile from the Santa Barbara Harbor, is home to about 250 full-time residents from 40 countries across the globe. It is the largest privately owned residential yacht on Earth according to The World’s management, ResidenSea.
The World has, along with the traditional cruise amenities, six restaurants, a spa, recreational facilities, shops, a movie theater, high-speed internet, and a library. The average age, according to ResidenSea’s website, of homeowners is 64. With 12 stories, marble entryways, and construction costs estimated at around $500 million, The World is built with the height of luxury in mind.
Residents of The World need to be worth at least $5 million to own a unit — what ResidenSea calls “pentamillionaires” — but the mean wealth is much higher, according to a Travel Channel documentary. There are three types of living spaces for purchase: Ocean Studio, Ocean Residence, and The World Suite. Their respective list prices are $600,000, $2,950,000, and $13,500,000. Upwards of $20,000 is also billed in monthly expenses.
The Santa Barbara coast is more of a cruise ship destination these days; 29 visits are scheduled between now and December 2013. The World will be docked offshore the rest of the day Thursday then head out to sea Friday.