Man pays €279,000 for cruise ship apartment to travel while working remotely

Residents will have the opportunity to visit six continents during the ship’s 1,000-day circumnavigation

Storylines at Sea. Photo:

Meredith Clark

A Meta employee has paid $300,000 (€279,000) for a 12-year lease on a cruise ship apartment so he can travel the world while working from home.

In an interview with CNBC, 28-year-old Austin Wells revealed he leased a condo onboard the luxury cruise ship, MV Narrative. The vessel is being built by Storylines, a luxury travel company led by co-founder and CEO Alister Punton.

The 741-foot luxury boat includes 20 restaurants, medical services, an exercise centre, a farmer’s market, a 10,000-square-foot gym and spa open 24 hours a day, three swimming pools, a school, bank, and co-working office spaces spread across 18 decks.

The ship even has a “world schooling” programme for children aboard the vessel, according to the Storylines website, which combines real-world learning, academics, exploration, inquiry, nature immersion and interest based learning.

However, residences onboard the MN Narrative come at a hefty price, with some units starting at around $1m (€930,000) and reaching as high as $8m (€7,444,000) – on top of monthly “all-inclusive living fees” starting at around $2,100 (€1,954) per person.

Wells’ 237-square-foot studio is just one of 500 private rooms and apartments onboard the ship, which around 1,000 residents will call home.

Most leases are either for 24 years or for the life of the vessel — around 60 years — but according to CNBC, he was offered a shorter option as an early customer.

Wells, from San Diego, told CNBC that he decided to lease his cruise ship studio for $300,000 a year so that he can travel the world from the comfort of his home.

“The thing that most excites me is I don’t have to upend my daily routine, in order to go see the world,” said Wells, who works remotely for Meta’s augmented and virtual reality division, Reality Labs.

“I’m going from this model where you want to go somewhere, you pack a bag, you get on a flight, you rent a room, to now my condo, my gym, my doctors and dentists, all of my grocery stores travel the world with me,” he continued.

Wells added that he plans to continue to work west coast hours as the ship embarks on its travels, which begins in Europe in 2025.

“My working hours will be shifted towards evenings, nights and very early mornings. But that does open up the ability for me to maybe see a city midday to afternoon and then start my workday around six or 7pm,” he said.

His 237-square-foot “Discover” studio apartment consists of a foldaway bed, bar area, computer desk, full size closet, and separate shower room. Passengers also have 11 different residence styles to choose from, including the two-story “Global” penthouse ranging from 1378 to 1970 sq ft and priced at $7,900,000.

“This is probably the first time ever that there is even the ability to have a standard job and even consider working and living from a floating apartment complex,” Wells said.

According to Storylines, the luxury travel company spearheading the MV Narrative, residents will have the opportunity to visit six continents during the ship’s 1,000-day circumnavigation, spending an average of three days in each port.

A three-month sample itinerary shows the MV Narrative spending 31 days in Italy, docking in both Rome and Naples for three days, followed by one-night stays in the towns of Sapri, Vulcano Piano, and Lipari Island. From there, the ship will eventually reach Venice before sailing off to Slovenia, Albania, Croatia, Greece and Turkey.

The MV Narrative is now under construction in Split, Croatia, where it will set sail in 2025.