Villa Vie Residences’ unique vision of residential cruising, where passengers own their staterooms on a ship that circumnavigates the globe every 3.5 years, is coming to fruition.

The residential cruise line has secured funding just as its flagship vessel, Villa Vie Odyssey, has entered dry dock to complete a multi-million dollar transformation ahead of its first voyage. 

Villa Vie Odyssey, formerly known as MS Braemar, has already had an extensive career at sea. The 924-guest vessel sailed under Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines from 2001 until she waspurchased by Villa Vie in December of 2023. Villa Via officially took possession of its one and only ship in March of 2024. 

Villa Vie Odyssey During Dry Dock (Photo Courtesy: Villa Vie Residences)

As of April 28, 2024, the 24,344-gross ton ship has entered dry dock in Belfast, Ireland, to undergo a big transformation, in which it will become a luxury residential cruise ship complete with 480 villa-style staterooms that are available to be owned outright by passengers. The remodel is expected to take just under a month, with the ship currently scheduled to exit dry dock on May 21.

“We are excited about our latest accomplishments and our upcoming launch of Villa Vie Odyssey and the enhancements we are making to ensure an exceptional experience for all our residents,” said Mikael Petterson, Chief Executive Officer of Villa Vie Residences.

When the renovation is complete, the new and improved ship will feature eight passenger decks, cascading aft decks, a wrap-around promenade, three restaurants, four lounges, eight bars, an extended pool area with two jacuzzis, a state-of-the-art fitness center, a library, a business center equipped with Starlink internet, and even an onboard golf simulator. 

The vessel, which last underwent major renovations in 2009 and 2019, has also previously received a 31-meter (about 102 feet) hull extension, which will enable her to navigate smaller waterways and rivers that other ships can’t reach. 

A maiden voyage is a rite of passage for all new ships, but typically, these only last for a week or two at most. When Villa Via Odyssey sets sail on her inaugural voyage at the end of May 2024, she will be embarking on a 3.5-year journey. 

With the entire cruise lasting for more than three years, the idea is that passengers will become “global residents,” who own their onboard residence like they would own their home on land. Ownership options, which begin at $99,999 for inside cabins, allow cruisers to own their staterooms for a minimum of 15 years and ultimately nets out to be more affordable than average homeownership costs on land. 

So far, interest in the new ownership model and the ongoing world cruise has been extremely high, with the new residential cruise line marking its best single-day sales record in the first quarter of 2024 – in which 6% of the ship’s capacity was sold in a single day.

Villa Vie Odyssey Cruise Ship (Photo Courtesy: Villa Vie Residences)

“Excitement over our upcoming cruise is growing – with over 80% of our available cabins sold – and continues to increase everyday as we near our departure,” said Kathy Villalba, Chief Operating Officer of Villa Vie Residences. 

Read Also: Living on a Cruise Ship: What You Need to Know

Owners are also permitted to rent out their cruise cabins, allowing residents to generate income from non-owning guests who may only want or be able to join the cruise for shorter segments, which span from 35-131 days. But whether passengers are onboard for the long haul or a brief segment, they will have many exciting ports to visit.

Over the course of 1,301 days, the cruise ship will visit 425 ports within 147 countries spread across all seven continents. The sailing will begin on May 30, 2024, from Belfast, Ireland – which is a postponement of the cruise’s originally planned embarkation from Southampton, UK, on May 15.

Divided into 17 distinct parts, the cruise will begin in Northern Europe, visiting 17 countries and 22 unique destinations. The ship will then sail onto Greenland, Canada’s eastern shores, and the northeastern United States during its second segment. 

As the voyage progresses, cruisers will get the chance to visit a variety of bucket-list cruise destinations throughout the Caribbean, the Panama Canal, South America, Japan, the Philippines, the South Pacific, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Bahamas. 

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