In August, The World travelled so far north that it almost kissed the North Pole. The resident-owned ship, with 165 apartments and 16 years under her belt, remains a delightfully unique achievement, merging genuine exploration – next year’s itinerary includes the Northwest Passage, while last year the ship set the record for the most southerly sailing – with the extravagances of a superyacht and the exuberance of a small community curious to explore.
Old ships can lose a bit of their grace, but when I stepped aboard The World in Trondheim, as the ship pottered down the coast of Norway in late August, her age was impossible to discern. Every hard surface gleamed like a Gilded Age ocean liner – there is a team of 280 staff continuously at work – and as I later learned the ship spends a month in dry dock every third year for major refits (in May 2019 it’s the spa, gym, deli and one of the five restaurants).
Apartments are individually designed by the owners and many are absolutely stunning: two- or three-bedroom expanses of up to 389sq m with their own kitchens and sea-facing balconies. The restaurants collect ingredients from every port, so seasonal and local dishes are always an option, and the wine list goes well beyond any reasonable expectation.
At Trondheim, a Nobel Laureate spoke about his research to about 50 residents, though so frequent are onboard expert lecturers that there may have been more people attending a resident’s birthday party that evening.
The World’s chairman, Trevor Rowe, said that he’s spent most of the last five years on the ship’s continuous journey, going back home to Australia from time to time each year. “And I’ve only sat by the pool once – just once,” he tells me. “That’s how much there is to do, both on board and at each stop.” It’s an enviable life and one available to a select few at the moment, as a handful of apartments are now for sale. aboardtheworld.com
Centurion, Q4, 2018