Sheffield entrepreneur helps launch $45m ‘homes at sea’ cruise ship business

Sam Owen
Sam Owen

A Sheffield entrepreneur has joined a new business selling ‘affordable’ cabins on a cruise liner set to be a ‘home at sea’.

Sam Owen, aged 27, has joined Storylines, which claims to be the first to target the affluent - not super-rich - with a 302-cabin boat set to visit at least 100 destinations in the first three years.

Cruising.

Cruising.

The vessel will undergo a $45m refit in April next year before launching in Malta in August 2019. Cabins are set to range from $255,000 to $1.1m.

Sam believes retiring baby boomers who have “done all right,” like doctors and lawyers, will account for about half of buyers.

Storylines was set up by Australian Alister Punton and Shannon Lee and is backed by an international group of investors.

Sam, who set up recruitment firm Meyer*Owen, got involved after being asked to recruit a board for the new firm.

'Home at sea' plan.

'Home at sea' plan.

As a maritime recruitment specialist, he says the venture caught his imagination and he has invested his own money and time in the business, in return for equity. He is Storylines’ vice president of corporate partnerships.

He said: “Something like this pops up every month in my business. People come to me with their dreams. But after ten years in recruitment, none has been as exciting as this.”

Headquartered in London and with offices in Manhattan, New York, Storylines officially went to market and launched globally in January.

The firm says that out of the 25.3 million people who took a cruise in 2017, none of them were offered a permanent residence at sea, yet 92 per cent of cruisers said that they would cruise again. Storylines offers the opportunity for people to live on a cruise ship permanently, and to experience life on and off board the ship as it travels the world.

Sam Owen and Alister Punton at Storylines Tower Bridge, London.

Sam Owen and Alister Punton at Storylines Tower Bridge, London.

Founder Alister Punton said: “Our residents will be able to live their dream life and tick off all of the items on the travel bucket list, in this unique experience at sea.

“It’s travelling on their own terms, where they are able to choose their own destinations, in their own time.”

The package includes food, alcohol, excursions, jet skis and scuba gear, the use of the support yacht, medical care and a running track.

Mr Lee, says “After inspecting dozens of vessels worldwide, we were able to secure the finest example of a classic ocean liner that is currently in service anywhere today.”