Wednesday morning, Dec. 28, a 43.5 ton white ship was spied anchored just beyond Cruz Bay. A call was placed to V.I. Tourism.
Good morning, Im calling from the St. John Tradwinds newspaper and would like to speak to someone about the cruise ship outside of Cruz Bay.
A transfer, another voice, the same query.
Thats the Wind Spirit.
Yes, the Wind Spirit was indeed moored out there, but its a faux sailboat that couldnt contain more than 200 passengers.
No, I mean the midsized cruise ship thats anchored beyond Cruz Bay.
Thats the Wind Spirit.
OK, thank you.
A call is placed to the St. John Tourism department.
We dont know anything about a ship.
Theres a big white ship out there.
I dont know anything about a ship.
The Port Authority should knowvessel clearance is called for in these maritime matters. Its suggested that the Port Authority should be called back after 3 p.m.
Next stop, the V.I. National Park (VINP). Surely they must know something about the mystery vessel. After all, it was parked just around the border of the VINP, which would have jurisdiction over this type of territorial encroachment. A message is left.
Steve Clark, the VINPs chief ranger, calls back. Yes, there is a ship out there. He gave it instructions on how to avoid the rocks that it was close to kissing. But, no, he didnt know what the ship was. Clark was sincere and in no way attempting a runaround, but he could shed no more light upon the mystery ship. However, his following sentence proved to be illuminating.
Theyre still shuttling passengers as we speak. You should go down to our finger pier and talk to somebody.
A capital idea.
A member of the ships security detail and a passenger were chatting near the foot of the pier.
It is learned that the name of the ship is The World. It is also learned that it is not a cruise ship, but a floating residency. It is not a cruise ship. People live on it. It is not a cruise ship.
The last piece of information was emphasized in the same way that Count de Moneyin History of the World, Part1insisted that his name was pronounced de Monet, de Monet.
Fine. Where did the ship come from? I cant tell you.
Where is the ship going? I cant tell you.
So, how many passengers are onboard? I cant tell you.
This line of questioning wasted no ink. In the interest of wasting no newsprint, this went on for another minute.
Then, out of earshot of the security officer, who sauntered away in worldly ennui, the passenger slipped up.
It is run by ResidenSea. Residen, then, SeaS-E-A.
And then, risking a long walk off of a short gangplank, the passenger divulged that The World travels around the world He is asked if hes on a worldwide cruise.
I cant tell you.
So, what exactly was this alabaster enigma floating in the blue water off of St. John? What secrets lay within its hulking steel shell that reduced men to quatrosyllabic jelly and flummoxed bureaucratic beasts?
Perhaps the Web address www.residensea.com could provide a clue.
According to the site, ResidenSea Ltd., headquartered in Miami, is the management company of The World, the only private community at sea.
The ship contains 165 private residencesranging in price from $825,000 to $6.3 millionwith more available for rental, beginning at $1,200 per night, including dining (meals and select beverages, port charges and gratuities).
The ship has a continuous world intinerary, luxury amenities, four major restaurants, two swimming pools, a full-size tennis court, golf facilities, private dining rooms, a casino, as well as X-ray and emergency facilities, among many other humble offerings.
Its six-bedroom apartment is no longer available to purchase, but is available for a rental stay, which needs to be at least six nights.
Laundry Is Covered
According to Luxlist.com, annual maintenance fees start at $96,586, and go as high as $239,567. The fees, though, do cover maintenance, shuttle buses, laundry and $20,400 worth of food and drinks.
The World started last year in South Africa, and cruised to Malaysia and Thailand, before embarking on a tour of Europe, Canada and, finally, the Caribbean. Somewhere between those stops, it squeezed in the Maldive and Seychelle islands, and New York.
The Worlds fact sheet proudly states that the ship has a refined atmosphere for people who enjoy a lifestyle of adventure and discriminating luxury.
Just keep it under your Americas Paradise straw hat.