See The World without leaving Nelson
What else to call a luxurious ship that continuously travels around the globe? The World, of course - and you can see it tomorrow without leaving Nelson.
Owned by its residents, The World is expected to come through the Cut into Port Nelson at around 6am. It will be berthed at Main Wharf South for around 36 hours, booked to depart for Lyttleton at 7.30pm on Saturday.
Officials and tourism agencies aren't giving out any information on what the residents might get up to during their stay. When it made a weekend call in 2006, many reportedly visited the World of WearableArt and Classic Cars Museum and some also travelled by car to Golden Bay.
Described as the largest privately-owned residential yacht in existence, the 12-deck, 200 metre ship imposes hefty costs on the owners of its 165 apartments, all of whom have a say in a voyaging itinerary that can take it to more than 30 countries in 12 months, typically docking for no more than three days.
Its website says their experiences " both onboard and off, are far beyond current luxury travel standards".
The ship's Florida management company doesn't provide a public price list showing what the pleasure of ownership costs. Various figures are quoted by others in the travel business, ranging from $700,000 for a studio to $10 million or more for a penthouse, and annual fees of roughly 10 to 15 per cent of the apartment sale price.
The ship, launched in 2002, has six restaurants, a gourmet deli and grocery store, fitness centre, billiard room, golf simulator and putting greens, the only full-sized tennis court at sea, a jogging track, a spa, swimming pool and cocktail lounge.
In 2012 it made a 26-day voyage from from Nome, Alaska to Nuuk, Greenland, becoming the largest passenger vessel to transit the Northwest Passage, following the path of Captain Roald Amundsen, the first sailor to complete the journey in 1906. Its voyage to Nelson is a more modest trip from Wellington, where it berthed on Monday.
The website says the "resident community" has an average age of 64, with 35 per cent under 50, and comprises 130 families from 19 countries. Some live on board year-round, the majority spend three to four months on board and there's an average occupancy of 150, looked after by 250 crew.
It's rumoured that Arnold Schwarzenegger and Madonna are two of the ship's apartment owners - and there is no apparent shortage of well-heeled voyagers keen to join them. The website says that 19 "residences" were sold in 2011, the last year it shows figures for, with "currently a select number of residences available for resale".
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