Villa Vie Residences is well on schedule for a May start up with its residential cruise ship concept, according to CEO Mikael Petterson.
The ship is about 50 percent sold, with the average booking being 26 months, he told Cruise Industry News.
The company announced the acquisition of the Braemer from Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines in December after negotiating on multiple ships.
The 1993-built ship is scheduled to move to Germany in March for a two-month wet and drydock, where it will emerge as the Odyssey.
“We were able to raise $5 million debt, and we’re increasing that in the next two weeks to $6.5 million,” Petterson said. “We’re leveraging loan to value for a debt facility for a bank that will hold the first lien on the vessel.”
Petterson noted the company was averaging about four bookings a day and could announce a second vessel sometime in the first quarter.
Currently laid up in Edinburgh, the Braemer was last drydocked in 2019.
“We’re going through the whole ship in a few days with designers and technical staff,” Petterson said.
Tomas Tillberg has come aboard the project to help with interior design, along with Makinen, who will play a key role in the interior refit.
Among major planned work is a cabin refresh, the installation of a business center, and a complete revamp of the pool deck.
On the technical side, the ship needs steel work and a complete class recertification, Petterson said. Other plans include polar certification for cruising in Greenland and Antarctica, and galley updates for United States Public Health compliance.
A new observatory area is planned for Deck 9, which Petterson described as a yacht-like lounge venue with telescopes on both sides.
Anglo-Eastern has come aboard to manage marine operations for the ship, while Reliable Maritime Solutions has been named technical superintendent. The hotel aspect of the operation is still being bid out.
So far, about 85 percent of the bookings are from American guests. The company is offering a reduced deposit for Life at Sea passengers, as their three-year world cruise never happened.
“We are not a three-year world cruise,” Petterson said. “We are a never-ending cruise that can start with any segment.”