Photo: Villa Vie Residences

At $89 a Day, This 3.5-Year Cruise Is Cheaper Than Living in Most US Cities

Cruises Budget Travel
by Suzie Dundas Mar 28, 2024

Around-the-world cruises — often synonymous with multi-year cruises and chances to literally live on a cruise ship — have been in the news quite a bit recently thanks to a cruise that was cancelled at the last-minute, leaving cruisers without places to live (or refunds). But despite that, cruising has never been more popular, and lots of the biggest cruise lines in the world are beginning to offer cruises that last six months, a year, or even longer.

However, unless you’ve got deep pockets (and very few social commitments), living on a cruise ship is likely not a very sustainable lifestyle.

villa vie odyssey - ship

The Odyssey ship is on the smaller side with a flatter-than-normal hull, allowing it to reach ports larger ships can’t access. Photo: Villa Vie Residences

But that’s changing in May, thanks to one new cruise ship that offers a taste of life at sea, without the need to sell your worldly possessions or cash out your 401K. In just two months, the new Villa Vie Residences will set out on its 3.5-year around-the-world cruise — and hopping aboard the Villa Vie Odyssey starts at just $89 a day.

The current plan is for the ship to circumnavigate the world every 3.5 years, with the first rotation making stops at 425 ports across 147 countries. The ship will start in northern Europe and Greenland before heading to the Caribbean, South America, Japan, the South Pacific, Australia, Asia, the Indian Ocean, and the Middle East, then make longer stops in Africa (68 days), and southern Europe and the Mediterranean (131 days). The final segment is a leisurely transatlantic cruise.

Included in the price for residents and guests is access to multiple dining venues, a gym, twice-a-week laundry services, high-speed Starlink internet, beer and wine, wellness sessions, culinary classes, housekeeping, a gym, a golf simulator, arts classes, entertainment, healthcare consultations, and volunteer opportunities on shore through partnerships with sustainability and community non-profits.

The newly renovated ship offers the chance for guests to buy in for a 15-year ownership period, starting at $99,999 for a stateroom. Owners will then have to pay a monthly fee (sort of akin to a homeowners association membership) of around $1,750 per person, with hefty discounts for singles.

But travelers hoping to test the waters, so to speak, can choose from one of 17 segments, ranging in duration from 35 to 120 days. The least-expensive inside room, which is still larger than most high-end rooms on other ships, start at $89 per day for shared occupancy during those segments. That means you can spend a month at sea for $2,670 per person — far cheaper than almost any other around-the-world cruise on the market.

Villa Vie Residences inside cabin 3.5-year cruise Villa Vie Odyssey

A balcony villa on the Villa Vie Odyssey, one of several cabin types available on the new around-the-world cruise. Photo: Villa Vie Residences

But oddly enough, it’s also cheaper than living in many of America’s most popular cities. According to the MIT Living Wage Calculator, residents in some cities pay far more per month for necessities like housing, auto loans, internet, utilities, and insurance.  Below is the average monthly spend on necessities per person by US cities, calculated by dividing the annual salaries listed by 12 (per month), then by two, reflecting that 50 percent of your income goes to basic needs like housing and utilities (as per the 50/30/20 spending rule).

  • San Jose, CA: $5,697 per person
  • NY, NY: $5,773.75 per person
  • Los Angeles, CA: $5,588 per person
  • Boston, MA: $5,203 per person
  • San Diego, CA: $5,1167 per person
  • Honolulu, HI: $4,996 per person
  • Seattle, WA: $4,975 per person
  • Newark, NJ: $4,860.25 per person
  • Portland, OR: $4,584 per person
  • Raleigh, NC: $4,281 per person

Even cities thought to be less expensive have steep monthly costs of living. In Houston, TX, you should expect to spend $3,129 per month on basic needs. In Milwaukee, WI, it’s $3,319 per month, and in Toledo, OH, it’s $3,229 per month to comfortably have your needs covered.

On the new Villa Vie Odyssey, excursions are not included, so guests should likely expect to spend extra on entertainment and travel, especially since the ship makes three-to-seven day visits in each port. Villa Vie Oddyssey hasn’t announced the excursions yet, but told Matador they’re expected to start as low as $30 per person. Extra costs could also include international cell phone plans, health insurance, or dining off-shore, plus travel to and from ports.

The ship is expected to set sail May 2024 from the UK, and renovations to “The Braemar,” formerly owned by Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, are almost finished. The ship will be able to hold 924 people at capacity, though actual numbers on board will depend on the particular segment. As of late March 2024, more than two-thirds of the state rooms are sold out. However, it’s likely that shorter segments will always be available, as owners can rent out their cabins for segments they decide to skip.

Cabins and single-segment sails are available at

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