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The World comes to Portland Thursday, June 18, 2009

I saw The World today. Literally.

Not the whole thing, mind you, but pretty much all of the outside.

You see, a couple of nights ago, when most people weren't even looking, The World arrived on Portland's doorstep. Or to be more precise, it's moored at Waterfront Park. But it's leaving tonight. You can't keep The World still for very long.

OK, enough of the corny puns, I'm talking about the luxury cruise ship The World, which describes itself as "the world's only private residential community at sea."

This 644-foot Bahamian-registered vessel is unique among cruise ships in that it is owned, condo-style, by its passengers. Since its launch in 2002 it has cruised the seas continuously, visiting ports of call on every continent (well, I don't know if they've visited Antarctica yet, but it's on the itinerary for 2010). After its three-day stop in Portland, the ship will stop in Astoria before heading up the coast to Alaska.

According to Wikipedia, there are 165 (non-crew) living units on decks 6 through 11, carrying a couple hundred residents and their guests. And an equal number of crew.

This is no mere Carnival cruise ship with bunks that would make a submarine look comfortable: most of the units are complete apartments with kitchens, living areas, and up to six bedrooms!

Want to get on board? You're in luck—their largest penthouse suite is for sale:
4,000+sq.ft., bow and port views. 5 dbl en suite bdr, 1 dbl en suite study bdr, 2 lr, 2 dnr, 2 ktn, w/d, 150 ft. veranda. Comfortably fits 12.

How much? Well, as the saying goes, if you have to ask, you can't afford it. But you can rent it for as little as $4706 per night (double occupancy) + $127/night for additional guests. Entertainment, housekeeping and luggage handling are included; meals are not.