There have been several failed retirement-at-sea concepts. Victoria Cruises Line still owes hundreds of thousands to passengers, promising the dream of being able to sail the world.

However, Villa Vie Residences, the organisers of the 15-year cruise, is a week out from sailing, and all things considered, it may offer a cheaper lifestyle alternative than living in a major Australian city. 

The offering of Villa Vie Residences’ 15-year cruise is for an upfront cost plus monthly fees, you are guaranteed 15 years of sailing onboard their ship. The 15-year cruise will encompass four, three-and-a-half-year-long circumnavigations of the world. Once onboard you’ll be on an all-inclusive cruise, with the following included. 

a Balcony Villa on Villa Vie Odyssey 15-year cruise
Villa Vie Odyssey is currently undergoing a refit in a Belfast shipyard.

Inclusions of Villa Vie’s 15-year cruise

  • Select Free Portage Excursions Designed For Purposeful Exploration
  • High-Speed Internet: Seamless Global Connectivity
  • Creative Hubs For Arts, Crafts, And Other Pursuits
  • Complimentary Wine And Beer During Meal Hours
  • Mixology And Culinary Lessons For Foodie Adventurers
  • Complimentary Healthcare Consultations
  • Access To Dining Venues Of Global Cuisine
  • Facilities For Health And Wellness
  • Two Weekly Complimentary Regular Laundry Service
  • Onboard Live Entertainment
  • No Hidden Fees Or Extra Gratuities
  • Sustainable Enrichment Programs Onboard And Ashore
  • Two Weekly Professional HousekeepingServices
  • Complimentary Wellness Sessions To Rejuvenate Mind And Body

There are also three key policies to ease the minds of those who want to invest in the 15-year cruise but are nervous about its long-term nature. 

  • A buyback guarantee: You can sell your villa back to the company, with your percentage based on ownership duration
  • A trade-in option: You can upgrade or switch ships, again with the percentage of your purchase returned to you depending on the duration
  • Rent or sell: You can lease or sell your villa privately at any time, meaning you can manage this sale or lease individually. 

The recent history of Residential Cruising

‘The World’ a luxury residence at sea has been sailing successfully, but the reality is that it’s out of the majority of people’s price range. Even its cheapest condos will start from well into the millions.

However, three other companies previously emerged, each promising not only residential cruising but affordable cruising as well. 

Perhaps the most high profile of these, Life At Sea cruises, faced a range of controversies and delays until eventually being cancelled. 

Two other companies have begun selling cabins with similar promises, Victoria Cruises Line and Storylines. However, both have faced significant delays.

Storylines ship MV Narrative was originally slated to start cruising in June 2020 and is now set to begin sailing in 2027. 

Victoria Cruises Line is set to start sailing in July of this year, having been originally scheduled to sail in May 2023. However, it doesn’t yet have a confirmed ship for its sailing. 

Despite all of this, as far as we know, Villa Vie Residences is all set to start cruising in the coming weeks and finally put an affordable, yet endless, style of cruising to the test. 

Is the 15-year cruise cheaper than living on land?

However, is it cheaper than living in Australia?

While individual financial situations are always going to differ greatly, for a bassline, we’ve put in a comprehensive breakdown of the average costs of living comfortably in Sydney, versus buying a residence with Ville Vie.

How much does the 15-year cruise cost?

If you were to purchase an interior cabin with Ville Vie, you’d be set back $151,078, this guarantees your cabin for fifteen years of sailing. However, you also have to pay monthly fees of $2643 per person. An advantage is that these are fixed rates, meaning they are protected against inflation.  

To put these costs into a bit more context, $151,078 comes out to $27.60 per day for two people over 15 years of sailing. The monthly fees come out to $86.9 per person per day or $173.8 for two people. 

In total, for two people this equates to a cost of $201.4 per day. For references, this comes out to $1409.7 per week for two people and $73,304.6 per year for two people

Now, depending on the type of lifestyle you wish to live, there are plenty of other expenses you could incur such as additional dining, additional shore activities, shopping, and more, but that’s a bassline. 

How much does it cost to live in Sydney?

While one could argue that the price of living in Sydney is like asking the length of a string, here are some estimates. 

  • The median house rent in North Sydney is $1290 per
  • The average cost of groceries, internet, water, and electricity for a two-person household is $213 per week according to
  • The average cost of owning a car in Sydney is $347.59 per week per
  • BudgetDirect lists the cost of a three-course meal at a restaurant as $120 for two people, and an inexpensive restaurant meal as $40 for two people. If you did both of these once a week that would be $160 per week for two people.
  • If you wish to attend sports events, the cinema, bars, the theatre, concerts, or other events, you would need to allocate at least $100 more per week for two people.
  • To stay healthy, an average gym membership according to Muval is $88.92 per month, or $41 per week for two people.

All of this adds up to a grand total of $2151.6 per week for two people for an enjoyable, yet not exactly lavish Sydney life. This is $306.5 per day, or $111,883 per year

The verdict: A 15-year cruise or retiring in Sydney?

(For two people)Ville VieSydney
Per day$201.4 $306.5
Per week $1409.7 $2151.6
Per year$73,304.6$111,883
An interior cabin on Ville Vie comes out much cheaper than Sydney living

The cruise ship option is coming out significantly cheaper than the cost of living in Sydney. Another important factor to consider is that while the cost of living will likely continue to skyrocket in Sydney, Ville Vie protects its costs against inflation. 

However, another consideration is that the above numbers are for an interior cabin, and perhaps some guests would want to put their money towards a nicer cabin given the lengthy amount of time they’ll be spending in it.