Unlike fractional ownership of aircraft and houseboats, fractional owners of a cruise ship can all use the ship simultaneously. There is plenty of room for you and the other owners to live on the ship any time you want, or all the time. You can use it as a full-time residence, and so can the other co-owners.
The first obvious benefit of shared ownership is acquisition cost. There are many cruise ships on the market in all price ranges, sizes, ages, and conditions. There are many smaller and older cruise ships available for less than one million dollars. At the lower end, some smaller cruise ships in fair condition can be acquired for about $250,000. At the highest end, the biggest new mega cruise ships now cost about $500 million to build.
Do the math. If one hundred buyers pool resources in exchange for a percentage of ship ownership, the acquisition cost will be divided by that same number. One percent ownership of a $250,000 cruise ship would cost a mere $2500 for ship acquisition. At the other end of the scale, one percent ownership of a brand new mega cruise ship would cost five million dollars.
There are some other figures that must be tabulated into the total cost of ownership. Acquisition cost is first and foremost. The next figure is the cost to put the ship in service. On an older ship this cost may be higher than the acquisition cost. On the other hand, the cost to put a ship into service can be much lower if you were to get a good deal on a ship that already meets the international standards for ship safety, especially SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea). Maintaining compliance with Chapter II SOLAS 74 amendments is cost prohibitive for some older ships and they are typically scrapped instead of being refurbished at great expense. There is a very important SOLAS implementation date coming up on January 10, 2010. On that date all commercial international ships will be required to be in compliance with the new fire safety codes. The most important new codes deal with the use of combustible materials in the ship. It will be expensive to replace all combustible materials in ships with non-combustible or flame resistant SOLAS compliant materials that meet the new safety standards. This will result in many ships being sold for scrap metal.
The looming SOLAS 2010 implementation date sjöfart offers both perils and opportunities. The biggest peril is the possibility that the expense to bring a ship into full compliance with international standards will be greater than the value of the ship. However, there is a silver lining in this cloud. This pending SOLAS implementation date has already started to show up as a primary factor in the asking and selling prices of ships on the market today.
SOLAS 2010 also offers a tremendous opportunity for those who may prefer to have a very large houseboat instead of a commercial ship. Ships that are not in compliance with SOLAS 2010 are now selling for a song (inexpensively). A cruise ship can easily be converted into a megayacht with the stroke of a pen. Privately owned yachts, not in commercial service, and not carrying passengers or cargo for hire are exempt from many of the SOLAS requirements. Operating costs are also lower for a private yacht. It cost less to register, flag, and insure a private yacht. Megayachts can be flagged and classified for unlimited service. That means that a megayacht can go practically anywhere you want it to go. There is one major drawback to registering a cruise ship as a private yacht. You cannot use the yacht commercially. This cuts off a potential revenue source.