Villa Vie Residences has raised millions of dollars for its residence cruise start up and hopes to have an agreement in place for a ship soon, said Mikael Petterson, founding partner and CEO.
The company, which was incorporated in July, has raised $10 million in equity and has $4.5 million through customers signing up for its Founder’s program, where they get shares in the company.
“The ships we are looking at are not officially for sale,” said Petterson in an interview with Cruise Industry News. “There are ships on the market, but no one wants those. We hope to acquire a vessel before the end of the year and will have have a memorandum of understanding in place in the next three to six weeks. At that point, we can create a 3D model and sell cabins.”
The company hopes to take possession of a ship next spring ahead of its May launch.
Petterson said the concept was unique in that the company will be majority-owned by the residents themselves.
Guests sending in money for the three-and-a-half year world cruise have their deposits held in separate escrow accounts in a U.S. bank, said Petterson.
“Everyone appreciates the level of transparency,” he continued.
For those worried about a long commitment, the company has a guaranteed buy-back program. If a customer’s ownership duration is between one and two years, the company will buy back their cabin for a guaranteed 50 percent of their purchase price, for example.
Bookings so far have been about 85 percent Americans, said Petterson., with a mix of digital nomads and business owners, pre-retirees and retirees.
The ship will have Starlink internet plus the latest Viasat system, and plans call for a large business center to be retrofitted to the vessel, with private offices, conference rooms and more.