Something about The World makes my heart beat faster than usual. A combination of terror and excited curiosity, I think. When it docks in Portland in October 2012, I might be more interested in seeing the inside of the ship than its residents are in exploring Portland (yes, that's right, RESIDENTS -- people who LIVE on the ship, who OWN apartments ON THE SHIP). See, The World is a residential cruise ship, the ultimate vacation home, with 165 apartment units plus normal cruise-ship ameneties. The apartments range from studios to three-bedrooms. Resident cruisers can come and go as they please, based on the year's itinerary.
I've been fascinated by this floating luxury apartment complex since I read this article in The Believer* while on a cruise vacation of my own. Even the language on The World's Web site -- all "we do this" and "we do that" -- is a bit creepy. There are a lot of oddities inherent to the concept of wealthy long-term vacationers traveling the vast seas together -- the isolation, the scale of grandeur.
*Unfortunately the Believer article is not available in full unless you purchase the issue (October 2009). BUT, coincidence of coincidences, the article was an excerpt from JC Hallman's new book, In Utopia: Six Kinds of Eden and the Search for a Better Paradise, which happens to come out this month, and which Eugenia Wiliamson, my esteemed colleague in Boston, happens to review in this week's issue.