It's not that often that "The World" comes to your door step, but that is what happened this week as the cruise ship named "The World" made a port call on Charleston, South Carolina.
The World arrived from Hamilton Bermuda on Sunday Morning, and departed for Cape Canaveral, Florida just before 6 PM Tuesday evening, heading south for the winter.
The World is a floating residential community owned by its residents. The World flies a Bahamian flag and has a gross tonnage of 43,524 tons. The vessel is 644 feet long, 98 feet wide, and has a 22 foot draft, 12 decks, and a maximum speed of 18.5 knots. The crew numbers 250.
AIS Screen Shot of The World departing Charleston bound for sea on November 11, 2008
The ship has 165 residential units all owned by the ship's residents. The ship carries between 100 and 300 residents and their guests.
The World has many facilities similar to those on board a regular cruise ship but are unique due to the residential nature of the vessel. Her amenities include a small grocery store and delicatessen, a boutique, complete athletic facilities that include a golf simulator, putting green, casino, full-sized tennis court, jogging track and fully equipped gym.
There are five restaurants that supplement the full kitchens in all apartments and the ever-changing variety of dining ashore as the ship travels. For on-board entertainment there is a movie theatre, library and music performances. In addition to shore excursions, classes have been offered on board in dance, navigation, language, cooking, arts and crafts, music, computers, and photography. In addition, The World provides high-speed Internet access in each residence.
Planned upcoming ports of call are, Nassau, Ochos Rios, and Cartagena Columbia. But residents are fond of surprise ports of call, which are called "captain's choice" where residents are often surprised to wake up in a port or off an island they never imagined.
Christmas Eve 2008, will be such an event.
The World is for sale but with prices ranging from 1 to 8 million plus monthly fees, it is not your typical retirement home. In years past residents have argued among themselves regarding "temporary" guests who have rented homes owed by absent owners. The guest's who where often accused of being rude as they ran wild on a ship they treated as "just another cruise ship".
The World is the idea of Knut U. Kloster Jr., whose family has a long history in the cruise ship industry. I had the pleasure of taking a trip aboard one Mr. Kloster ships the SS Norway years ago.
Mr. Kloster is a close friend of my father's and arranged an invitation to the bridge by Captain Odg Hodivick. As the SS Norway left St. Thomas, we had a close up view as he directed the departure from the bridge and side wing decks.
Sadly, the Norway has since be scraped on the ship breaking beaches of Alang India.