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We Snagged Our Dream Home on a Luxurious Cruise Ship With $8 Million Residences. Here's What Sold Us on the Investment. We'd always loved the cruise lifestyle — so we decided to make it more permanent.

By Amanda Breen Edited by Jessica Thomas

Key Takeaways

  • We're excited to join this brand-new venture that's shaped, in some ways, by the participants.
  • It's a legitimate investment — those managing the community on board have our interests and theirs at heart.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Martin Buggy and Melissa Edyvean, owners of Australian company Bondi Chai Latte and future residents of the MV Narrative's Storylines community.

As the owners of Australian company Bondi Chai Latte, we've had many opportunities to travel and spend time on cruise ships over the years. We were so enamored of the cruise ship lifestyle — though perhaps, sometimes, not of the company we were keeping on board.

Image Credit: Courtesy of Martin Buggy and Melissa Edyvean

So, we began to look for ways we might live on extended cruises. We're interested in living on a ship with like-minded people, not necessarily from the same socioeconomic background, but those who share a certain worldview — because it takes a certain type of person to want to live the way we're going to live.

We originally came across a ship that was already sailing, MS The World. We were excited about the prospect of joining that ship; we proceeded down that path and spoke to the ship's Australian salesperson. We were looking forward to the day we would ultimately sell our business to purchase a cabin on The World.

"We were very excited about the prospect of joining a brand-new venture that was, in some ways, able to be shaped by the participants."

We discovered Storylines, the innovative residential community aboard the MV Narrative ship set to sail in 2026, purely by chance. For some reason or another, we continued exploring other ship options and happened to stumble upon The Narrative. That was on a Wednesday afternoon, and by Saturday morning, we'd signed up for an apartment on the ship — we put down a $10,000 refundable deposit for a 12-year lease that begins once we can access the ship. We were one of very few early adopters offered this lease term; now, there are only life-of-vessel leases available.

Image Credit: Courtesy of Storylines

Related: I'm Working Remotely on a Cruise Ship for 3 Years, Maybe Longer

We wanted to secure our spot so badly. Having spoken with the salesperson, we knew there was no ship yet, but The Narrative will have 530 residences with many amenities, including 20 restaurants and bars; a vertical farm; an organic farmer's market; a bowling alley; a marina with watercraft such as jet skis; a 10,000-book library; a movie theater; and more. We were very excited about the prospect of joining a brand-new venture that was, in some ways, able to be shaped by the participants. The people who joined early became Founders Circle members with an opportunity to be included in some of the decision-making, and the deeper we got into it, the more excited we got.

Image Credit: Courtesy of Storylines

Somebody once said, "There's nothing more exciting than somebody who's in pursuit of a dollar who believes they have a good chance of catching it," and this apartment became a much more real option for us. We didn't have to wait until we could sell our business and fund our retirement. We could even continue running our business from the ship if we wanted to, so that was a real bonus.

"We can rent out our apartment when we're not using it."

The Narrative's residences, which range from $1 million to $8 million for the lifetime of the vessel, are anywhere from 237 to 1,970 square feet — so from a shoebox to a three-bedroom, two-story apartment. We're on the lower end of the scale but not in shoebox territory. We can rent out our apartment when we're not using it. That's giving access to so many more people who can buy a residence as an investment and spend some time on it themselves but get help paying for it by renting it out. In the early days, while our business is still growing, we'll probably spend three months on the ship, then three months off.

Image Credit: Courtesy of Storylines

Related: Digital Nomads Are Changing the Entrepreneurship Landscape

It's a legitimate investment. It's being managed by people on board the ship who have our interests and their interests at heart. So we've both got skin in the game when it comes to renting the apartment to the appropriate person, which is very important to us. We rent property around Australia already and know the value of having good managers running your properties for you when you can't. We've got properties up and down Australia that are five- to six-hour flights away, and there's no way we could fix things if they need fixing or make sure that the tenants are doing the right thing when they're in there. So that side of our investment is very important to us, and we couldn't be happier with the fact that Storylines' office will be on the ship's top deck.

"Basically, you're traveling from home, which is really, really appealing."

In addition to being a financial investment, joining Storylines is an investment in how we travel. We love cruise ships, but typically you're up early and off the ship as quickly as you can be alongside thousands of other people, and then you've got a tight itinerary to get back on the ship before it leaves to go to the next port. So you never really get to see anywhere you visit. You've got maybe six to ten hours at the most. The Narrative will be in port for three to five days in many places.

Image Credit: Courtesy of Storylines

So there's no rush. If you don't feel like getting off one day — if you've got something else you want to do — you stay home. And that's the thing: You stay home. You've got your toothbrush. You've got your wardrobe. You don't have to try to pack and decide what you need. If it's suddenly cold and should have been hot, you'll have the clothes you need anyway. Basically, you're traveling from home, which is really, really appealing.

Image Credit: Courtesy of Storylines

Related: How to Plan a Luxurious Trip Without Breaking the Bank

We also look forward to spending time with our fellow Storylines residents. We recently traveled to Spain to meet some of the other Founders Circle members, and it was a real test for us: These are the people we'll be living with on The Narrative. And it was just fabulous. We met people who were younger than us. We met people who were older than us. We met people who are world travelers — we consider ourselves well-traveled, but some of the people on the trip live with a backpack on; they're basically permanently living out of their suitcase. We've already made great friendships with people.

Amanda Breen

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior Features Writer

Amanda Breen is a senior features writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate of Barnard College and received an MFA in writing at Columbia University, where she was a news fellow for the School of the Arts.

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