Launch of Residential World Cruise Ship is Postponed Again

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Will the third time be the charm for Villa Vie Residences’ world cruise ship Villa Vie Odyssey? The cruise company has postponed, for the third time in two weeks, the launch of its only ship, a 929-guest vessel that can’t seem to find its way out of a dry dock renovation.

The latest launch date is confirmed to be June 21, 2024, over a month later than the ship’s original debut, which was set for May 15, 2024. The ongoing delays are problematic for guests who have already booked travel to, or have arrived in, Belfast, Northern Ireland, the starting point for the vessel’s first 3.5-year world cruise.

Under renovation since April 28, 2024, at the city’s Harland & Wolff shipyard, Villa Vie Odyssey was previously slated to exit dry dock on May 21, 2024, and depart on her inaugural voyage on May 30, 2024.

Villa Vie Residences Odyssey Cruise Ship
Villa Vie Residences Odyssey Cruise Ship

The ship was first delayed in Edinburgh, where the vessel had to undergo a dry dock until around April 24, 2024. At that time, the ship’s debut was shifted from Belfast on May 15 to Southampton on May 30.

The following delay, to June 4, 2024, stemmed from issues with the ship’s grey water tanks, which hold used water from the kitchen, showers, laundry facilities, and other sources (not toilets). The water is treated before being discharged into the ocean, in compliance with local rules and regulations.

The water tank problem was resolved, but then the line revealed another obstacle — a rudder stock problem, and announced a second launch delay, to June 15, 2024. A rudder is needed for navigation purposes; without a rudder, a ship cannot turn. Unable to quickly solve the rudder issue, Villa Vie Residences was forced to again postpone the ship’s debut, this time to June 21, 2024.

Villa Vie Residences is assisting guests who already arrived in Northern Ireland to board the ship, offering accommodations, transportation, and excursions.

Once the ship finally enters service, barring any further mechanical issues or other complications, Villa Vie Odyssey will begin her world cruise. Villa Vie Residences, whose business model is based on operating continuous world voyages, each with a duration of 3.5 years, bought the ship in March 2024. 

Villa Vie Odyssey, built in 1993, was formerly named MS Braemar and was last owned by Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines. Before that, it was operated by other lines, including Cunard, as Cunard Crown Dynasty.

World Cruise Cabin Costs Are Based on Stateroom Choice

Fort Lauderdale-based Villa Vie Residences revealed its residence-at-sea program in 2023, inviting cruisers to buy a cabin and live on the ship as it operates continuous world cruises every 3.5 years. Rates start at $99,999 (USD) for an inside cabin, rising to $299,999 for a balcony stateroom, and to $349,999 for a balcony suite.

Villa Vie Residences Odyssey Cruise Ship
Villa Vie Residences Odyssey Cruise Ship

Prices are inclusive of food and beverages; housekeeping and laundry; medical support; WiFi; use of all public spaces, and more. The ship’s world cruises will visit 147 countries and more than 400 destinations.

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

The cruise line’s latest pitch to prospective cabin owners was announced in early May 2024, when it introduced a special program for retirees — Endless Horizons, featuring a one-time cost of $299,999 (USD) for single occupancy and $499,999 (USD) for double occupancy. With the purchase, retirees can spend the rest of their lives aboard the ship, sailing continuous world cruises.

In addition to the Endless Horizons offer and the world cruise cabin purchase plan, the cruise line has another option for those not able to cruise long-term — a pay-as-you-go deal where cruisers can buy world cruise segments from 35 to 120 days.

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