NEW YORK -- ResidenSea Ltd., the Norwegian-owned and Bahamas-based
company that plans to build a seafaring condominium ship for the
super-rich, is dealing with travel agents in the sale of the
vessel's apartments, which range in price from $1.8 million to $6.6
million, an executive of the company reported.
Although sales of the apartments are being channeled mainly
through real estate brokers and Christie's auction house,
ResidenSea is eager to work with agents in arranging sales, said
Robert Burnett, president of ResidenSea U.S.A., the New York-based
sales office for the Americas.
"We've been dealing very successfully with travel agents," he
said. "A half-dozen agents have introduced us to buyers." Burnett
declined to disclose the remuneration involved or whether it was in
the nature of a brokerage fee or finders fee. "We've worked with
travel agents on a selective basis this year, and we'd like to
expand that in 1999," he said."
Burnett also reported that the planned vessel's 86,000-ton,
286-apartment specifications have been downsized to accelerate the
vessel's financing and permit its delivery by early 2001. Plans for
183 guest suites on the vessel, to be available for use by
apartment owners or others, are being downsized to about 80 such
units, he said. A final plan for the ship, which will be called the
World of ResidenSea, is expected to be ready in 30 days, whereupon
bids will be invited from several yards, Burnett reported.
The executive said the decision to downsize the ship was not
determined by soft demand. "Sales are ahead of schedule," said
Burnett. "There would have been no difficulty selling the original
apartment inventory before delivery of the ship." Rather, he said,
the downsizing of the ship was to reduce the original $500 million
price tag for the vessel, enabling the company to step up the
timetable for ordering it.
"The financing for the vessel is not based on proceeds from
apartment sales but debt and equity of the investors," he said.
"With less capital requirements, we can get the ship built
Additional dealings with agents are expected to take place once
the vessel is in operation, according to Burnett. Since the project
was announced last year, 65 of the units have been sold for a total
of $131 million, said Burnett.
Plans call for the vessel to pursue a round-the-world itinerary
each year, with approximately 250 days in port, timed for high
season in many leading destinations. The vessel's designers are
finalizing plans for a ship just over 35,000 tons with 100 to 125
apartments, he disclosed. The size of individual apartments, which
range from 1,000 square feet to several thousand square feet,will
not be reduced in the new design, Burnett said. "If anything, the
apartments are being enhanced in response to many suggestions of
the buyers," he added. Apartments will have two or three bedrooms,
each with a bathroom, as well as living and dining areas, equipped
kitchens and a terrace with whirlpool.
Buyers pay a 10% deposit and are required to pay a second 10%
deposit in 12 months, he noted. The remainder is payable upon the
delivery of the vessel. All funds are deposited in an
interest-bearing escrow account with Chase Manhattan Bank, he said,
adding: "If the ship isn't delivered, the down payments are fully
protected." About half of the buyers are from the U.S., and the
other half are from Europe, principally the U.K. and Scandinavia,
The principal investors in ResidenSea are Norwegian, led by Knut
Kloster Jr., whose family was the principal investor in Norwegian
Cruise Line for many years. ResidenSea maintains two phone lines:
(800) 799-9792 and (212) 332-1660.