NEW YORK -- The World, the ship that executives call the only existing residential community at sea, is sold out, with the final few available residences recently purchased. But in a press event here, executives said that travel agents will still play an active role in selling cruise vacations to renters, as well as in the re-sale of residences.

The World, which was launched early in 2002, was sold to its owners more than two years ago; since then they have controlled itineraries and operations.

James St. John III, president of ResidenSea Ltd., the management company behind the vessel, said, While were excited that The World is sold out, there will still be ways for agents to sell the experience to clients by booking residences on the rental market.

Agents, he added, are also eligible for referral fees if a client buys a residence; and if a client takes a vacation on The World and subsequently buys a unit, the agent will be paid the referral fee as well.

Although the ship is sold out, said St. John, there will still be an average of 5% to 10% of units available at any given time for re-sale as owners die, get divorced or simply change their plans. There are 165 residences on board, but only 109 owners because many owners buy more than one unit.

Niki Upshaw, senior vice president-sales and marketing for ResidenSea, Ltd., said the company had created an Ambassadors Club of 50 travel agents, yacht brokers and other intermediaries who regularly book the ship; about 30 are agents.

The potential earnings are substantial because nightly rates range from $1,200 to $5,000, depending on season and residence. Currently, residences are on sale at prices ranging from $850,000 to $7.3 million; annual maintenance is currently $150 per square foot.

In 2007, The World will begin the year in Argentina before moving to Antarctica, several stops in Latin America, and then Europe for much of the year. The itinerary is designed so the ship is in port for major events like Carnival in Rio and the Cannes Film Festival.

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