Cruise Line Purchases Vessel to Transform Into Residential Ship

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Villa Vie Residences, an innovative new cruise line revealed in September 2023, has announced acquiring the Braemar from Fred Olsen Cruise Lines.

The acquisition marks the beginning of a unique venture, transforming the Braemar into Villa Vie Odyssey, a residential cruise ship offering villa-style living on the high seas. 

Villa Vie Odyssey has a storied past, sailing for well-known cruise lines such as Norwegian Cruise Line, Cunard, and earlier Crown Cruise Line.

Villa Vie Residences Acquires Braemar

Villa Vie Residences announced today, December 13, the acquisition of Braemar, a vessel formerly part of the Fred Olsen Cruise Lines fleet. Rechristened as Villa Vie Odyssey, the 24,344 gross tons, the 924-passenger cruise ship will undergo a transformation into a residential cruise ship, with unique villa-style residences.

Mikael Petterson, CEO of Villa Vie Residences, shared his vision for the new ship: “The ship’s name symbolizes the company ethos of creating a community to share unforgettable moments of discovery on an extended journey, connecting people, places, and self.”

“Villa Vie Odyssey will be customized for her immersive, 3.5-year global circumnavigations, ensuring all the comforts and amenities of home.”

The transformation will focus on creating intimate and immersive experiences. With its flatter hull, Villa Vie Odyssey can access unique destinations, including navigating inland waterways and rivers, a feat demonstrated in October 2019 when it transited the Corinth Canal as Braemar, the longest ship to ever sail through the narrow passage.

Former Fred Olsen Braemar Cruise Ship
Former Fred Olsen Braemar Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Targa56)

Following the multimillion-dollar renovation, the ship will feature eight passenger decks, cascading aft decks, a wrap-around promenade, and numerous amenities.

Read Also: How Much Does It Cost to Live On a Cruise Ship?

Upgraded in 2009, which included a 31-meter hull extension, and refurbished in 2019, Villa Vie Odyssey boasts three restaurants, eight bars, four lounges, an extended pool area with Jacuzzis, a comprehensive fitness center, and a library. 

Unique Ownership Model

Villa Vie Residences adopts a unique approach, where residents, as majority shareholders, participate actively in decision-making, which goes as far as choosing the name of the vessel. 

Laura, a Founders Club member and resident: “Villa Vie isn’t like a regular corporation–it’s open and we feel a part of it.”

While living at sea has previously always been for the rich and famous, Villa Vie Residences is making all-inclusive living at sea an affordable reality. $89 per day covers rent, utilities, food, travel, and entertainment, significantly less than what it costs to live in various cities worldwide. 

This is why Villa Vie hopes to attract digital nomads, those people who can work from anywhere in the world. The ship will have a fully-equipped business center, private offices, and reliable internet access provided by Starlink and Viasat 3.

Transformed Residential Cruise Ship
Transformed Residential Cruise Ship (Photo Courtesy: Villa Vie Residences)

Additionally, an interactive culinary center and a golf program, including an onboard simulator and classes by a Master PGA Professional.

Villa Vie Odyssey will embark on a Continual World Cruise on May 15, 2024, from Southampton, UK, which spans 425 ports across 147 countries over 1,301 days, with port stays ranging from 2 to 7 days. From Southampton, the ship will sail to various European ports before making her way to Canada, the United States, and the Caribbean. 

Following her fall season in the Caribbean, by February 2025, Villa Vie Odyssey will sail to Antarctica, followed by calls to Brazil, Panama, Mexico, Hawaii, and Alaska, and making her way to Australia and New Zealand via Japan, the Philippines, and the Pacific Islands. Villa Vie Odyssey is scheduled to complete her circumnavigation and return to Europe by June 2027.

Braemar Becomes Villa Vie Odyssey

Originally built in 1993 for Crown Cruise Line as the Crown Dynasty, Villa Vie Odyssey was managed under a joint agreement with Cunard Line, sailing as the Cunard Crown Dynasty.

In 1997, the ship underwent several name changes and transfers, becoming the Crown Majesty under Majesty Cruise Line, as Norwegian Dynasty with Norwegian Cruise Line, and again as Crown Dynasty with Commodore Cruise Line. 

The cruise ship was eventually sold to Fred Olsen Cruise Lines in 2001, operating under the name Braemar. In 2020, Braemar went into a cold layup and was eventually put up for sale by Fred Olsen in 2022. 


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