We're paying $1 million to live on a cruise ship and sail around the world while we keep managing our property empire

Amanda Williams and Alex Cowham bought a $1 million apartment on the MV Narrative.
Amanda Williams and Alex Cowham bought a $1 million apartment on the MV Narrative.Amanda Williams
  • Amanda Williams and her boyfriend are spending $1 million to live permanently on a cruise ship.

  • She told Insider about their plans to reside on the MV Narrative when it sets sail in 2025.

  • The couple intend to keep managing their 25 properties while they voyage around the world.

This as-told-to article is based on a conversation with Amanda Williams, a real estate investor who has bought a 12-year lease on an apartment on Storylines' MV Narrative. Insider has verified her income and her place on the cruise ship with documentation. The following has been edited for length and clarity. 

My boyfriend and I love traveling, and one of my dreams is to buy a boat and go sailing around the world. We did a test run a few years ago with our friends' yacht in the Bahamas for a month, and fixing all the items that broke on it was more expensive than the trip itself.

We must have spent about $25,000 fixing the broken engine on the yacht, and fuel cost between about $15,000 and $20,000.

So instead, we decided to buy an apartment with a 12-year lease for $1 million on Storylines' MV Narrative, a cruise ship that will let us permanently live at sea, that launches in 2025.

I'm 39 and split my time between Raleigh, North Carolina, and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. I'm planning to keep running my property empire with my boyfriend while we sail the world.

Picking living on a cruise ship over a yacht

It was a lot of work taking care of our friend's boat. We'd spend all day navigating, and then we'd be exhausted when we got into a port. Having all that done for you on a residential cruise ship made sense.

After seeing an ad for Storylines, I booked a call and handed over a $10,000 deposit there and then — I make decisions quickly.

What really interested me about Storylines is that crew members do all the hard work for you. Maintenance fees are $4,800 a month, but at least you don't have to worry about paying $25,000 for a broken engine.

We're staying in a one-bedroom apartment. The walls are mostly glass, so it'll feel bigger, and the balcony is big, so we've got a lot of good outdoor-living space there, too.

I think the small space will be an adjustment, but I've stayed in a tiny home I own in North Carolina, and I love it.

Yes, $1 million in Raleigh could get you four or five bedrooms, but I don't want to be stuck there, or anywhere else for that matter.

We can't make many changes to the interiors — Storylines supplies everything because it has to be fireproof.

But I've asked for them to replace the couch with a Murphy bed so my mom can visit. We're also planning to let guests stay there. Storylines charges $70 a day for an extra guest.

We'll pay 40% of the costs before we get on the boat, and we'll pay the rest in installments. Hopefully, interest rates will have fallen by then and financing will be a little less expensive.

Managing our properties from the sea

The MV Narrative ship.
The MV Narrative ship.

The MV Narrative ship sets sail in 2025.Storylines.

I've been in some form of real estate since 2008. I started out helping a friend flip homes, then bought my grandma's home in 2013 after she died.

I got my real-estate license in 2013 and have been flipping ever since. My boyfriend and I have 25 properties in Raleigh and one in Belize — an overwater bungalow — that's under construction.

Each property brings us around $1,000 in cash flow a month. The last time I added everything up for 2022 numbers, it was about $680,000 in revenue.

My boyfriend does all of the day-to-day handling of the property and the guests and tenants that live there. We're hoping to hire someone to take that on, but we've got a couple of years to do that.

But I'm also planning to build out a new business. I partnered up with a company called eXp Realty, where I get a share of the commission from each agent I refer to the company. They're in 23 countries, so I'm planning to build out my business when I visit them on the cruise ship.

It really piqued my interest to be able to have a vessel that's going to take me from country to country and actually give me enough time in those countries to do presentations and host events. Right now, I'm building out contacts in Spain, Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico.

A new life

Beyond the appeal of building out my business, I'm just really excited about traveling and living on the boat.

We bought the 12-year package. Right now, I'm thinking we might sell it after six years, but that could change.

And as weird as it sounds, I'm actually really looking forward to still having a home base while traveling. You just get off the boat, go have fun, and you come back and everything's exactly the way it was when you left. To me, that feels comforting.

Read the original article on Business Insider