Reports from Croatia indicate that start-up Storylines has entered into a formal construction contract with Brodosplit for its future resident ship. The value of the new construction is set at $1.5 billion with a delivery date of 2025.
The company previously announced that it had selected Brodosplit to build what it promises will be a revolutionary take on the residential cruise ship concept. The ship, known as the Narrative, has been in engineering and development for a few years as Storylines markets its residents. Reports say the starting price is $1 million and can go as high as $8 million for individual residences. A limited number of rental apartments are also available with a starting price of $647,000 for a 24-year lease.
Only one ship has successfully launched the concept of residence at sea, although several others have explored the idea or attempted to market the concept. The world (43,000 gross tons) entered service in 2002 with 165 private residences, although the company requires all owners to have a full-time residence ashore. Several cruise lines, including Crystal Cruises when it was owned by Genting Hong Kong, offered to incorporate residents into their next generation of cruise ships, only to later drop the idea. Currently, however, MSC Cruises is launching the concept of residence as an onboard element of its new Explora cruise brand. The company recently said it would increase the number of residences on its third and fourth cruise ships and order two more cruise ships, all built by Fincantieri. The inaugural cruise Explore I is scheduled for May 2023.
The storyline approach calls for a large passenger ship increasing both the number of residences and the amenities that will be available. The ship will be at least 55,000 gross tons and 741 feet in length. There will be a total of 547 residences on board each with a private balcony. The crew would number 450 to provide a full range of services. The design is that of a dual-fuel vessel that will run on LNG.
The stern incorporates a marina and platforms for craft and harbor sports (Storylines)
Storylines emphasizes that their concept has all the features of a modern cruise ship, but also unique amenities designed for the residence concept. They say the ship will include 20 bars and restaurants, a theatre, common areas for residents and a marina to provide a sports platform and dock for watercraft while the ship is anchored in port. Other reported cruise ship-style amenities include pools, a fitness center, a spa, a running track, and even a bowling alley.
To support residences, Storyline says the ship will have similar characteristics to a small town. This includes everything from an aging clinic to a hospital and school. There will be office space available for workers who are in residence as well as a library, bank and post office.
“We are delighted to partner with such a respected European shipyard that has a long history of building high quality passenger vessels,” said Storylines CEO Alister Punton in the company’s press release.
The order comes at a critical point for Brodospilt. The shipyard found itself this spring caught up in European sanctions against Russian financial institutions. They had a construction finance loan for new expedition cruise ships underway in the yard, but they couldn’t pull the lines due to sanctions. The company requested government assistance and was forced to undertake a pre-bankruptcy process. The yard has suspended employees working on the projects until financial issues can be resolved.
The Narrative is said to be the largest and most complex cruise ship built by Brodosplit. They have recently built smaller cruise ships for the expedition market. They have also built assembly blocks for some of Fincantieri’s major cruise ship projects. These blocks were sent to Fincantieri to be incorporated into the construction of the cruise ship.
Reached by Croatian media, management confirmed that the construction contract had been signed, saying it hoped Brodosplit would soon be able to withdraw its bankruptcy petition. Tomislav Debeljak, CEO of the DIV Group’s parent company, confirmed that the order had been signed. He said technical work was continuing and he believed construction work would begin shortly.