While the concept of the “digital nomad” worker has been around for years, research shows the trend is rising in a significant way. By 2025, it's estimated that 22% of the American workforce will be remote workers (that's 37.5 million people in the US alone!) As a part of this high demand movement, more and more people are going beyond just working from home and embracing the idea of not waiting until retirement to enjoy (at least part-time) global travel as a lifestyle.
However, such a blessed lifestyle requires highly flexible jobs that offer fully remote work. Or having freelance work or a business that can be run from anywhere. Such remote opportunities used to be few and far between, but all that has changed now. But where can you find jobs like this? Well, that's for another post.
In order to achieve location independence, it helps to have the following:
Fast internet speed (such as Google fiber), including:
Solid download speed
Decent upload speeds
Ability for conference calls (such as Google hangouts)
Videos and editing capability
Regular clients, customers or reliable employers
Discipline to work hard, autonomously and to a work schedule
We will discuss the work from anywhere revolution and whether it's possible to work remotely on a cruise ship.
The new, fully remote worker?
While in the past many employees of flexible jobs have found they can technically work from home, many have found it challenging to go fully remote, let alone work from somewhere across the world. If a company did offer remote jobs, the job description likely specified that staff could only work remotely within the borders of their city, state, or country (especially with entry-level positions).
This is why digital nomads have tended to be freelancers, entrepreneurs and small business owners who traveled part or full-time, often on a strict budget. These days, however, an increased number of high-net-worth corporate workers are getting more flexibility as companies realize the benefits that can come with offering remote options to attract top talent and reduce overhead costs.
“Bleisure” Trips and “Workations”
These sweeping changes have even altered the English lexicon, adding “bleisure” and “workation” (two of our favorite terms) to our vocabulary.
Bleisure (business + leisure) is when someone adds leisure time onto an existing work commitment (e.g. having a conference in New York and extending their stay to include a weekend of Broadway shows and dinner at Tavern on the Green).
These trips typically involve adding a weekend, a week, or more of leisure time to a business trip. Instead of workers only seeing the inside of a conference room, they can take time to explore their destination, wind down and relax.
A workation (work + vacation) typically involves someone taking a vacation while still working remotely. They still earn income without using paid vacation days and break away from the 9 - 5 grind with a fresh change of scenery. These trips can be anywhere from a few days to weeks at a time and are generally not scheduled around a pre-existing work commitment. Moreover, more young professionals are choosing to workation on cruise ships.
While these trends are causing many positive changes to the future of work and the tourism industry, blurring the boundaries between work and vacations can have downsides.
The Challenges of Blending Business and Pleasure
One of the potential problems with blending work and vacation is that attempting to fit both work and leisure time in on the same short trip can make it hard to focus on work on one hand, and on the other make it difficult to disconnect from work and get proper rest and relaxation. Many remote-work travelers find that the combination can actually become a stressor and negatively affect their well-being, causing burnout rather than the revitalization they’d intended.
Furthermore, the logistical requirements of travel (running through airports, lugging around heavy luggage, fighting jet lag, etc.) can result in both physical and mental exhaustion, which can harm one's productivity with work, increase the likelihood of making mistakes, and jeopardize one’s option for working remotely in the future.
But what if there was a way to remove all the logistical challenges of bleisure trips and workations so you could find the perfect balance between work, relaxation and play?
Can you Work Aboard a Cruise Ship?
Imagine waking up in the morning and having your “commute” to work be a leisurely walk out to the deck of a gorgeous cruise ship looking out over the tranquil ocean… no traffic to fight, no horns honking or angry motorists shouting… just you, the sky, and the sea.
While it may sound too good to be true, this is a very accurate picture of what a work day aboard the MV Narrative from Storylines would look like.
While many people in years past have already jumped at the idea of working remotely at sea by booking longer ’round-the-world cruises, those vessels were designed almost exclusively for leisure and are not equipped with the infrastructure for long-term working on board the ship. One of the central issues at hand is the cost of what are relatively average internet speeds. When working remotely, good upload and download speeds are essential, especially if you have to upload large files and take conference / video calls.
Most internet providers on cruise lines offer expensive packages even for just surfing the web and using social media. You'll have to be patient as the download speeds will not be as efficient as what you're used to at home (plus the more people using the internet on the ship simultaneously, the slower it will be) . While satellite internet technology is rapidly improving, internet capabilities on the average cruise ship still have a long way to go..
The other main downside of working aboard cruise ships is the lack of dedicated workspaces. As such, you will likely be working from the confines of your (relatively tiny) cabin or in one of the dining or recreation areas, complete with the distractions present from other passengers who are as far away from “work mode” as you can get. In other words, finding a comfortable and reliable working environment where you can establish a proper work schedule and focus will be challenging.
A New Residential Ship Designed for Working
Storylines has created a functional (and beautiful) solution to all of these challenges and more with the creation of our luxury residential ship, the MV Narrative, strategically designed for onboard living and working while circumnavigating the globe every three years.
Storylines' diverse residential community includes freelancers, entrepreneurs and remote corporate workers who want to travel the globe without sacrifices to their work or personal lives. With the flexibility to work from anywhere with an internet connection, these professionals of all ages are embracing the opportunity to reimagine what a well-lived life can look like: they want to see places they’ve only dreamed of, experience other cultures, expose their families to global education and be true citizens of the world. As residents of the MV Narrative, they can do all this while continuing their business endeavors and even potentially enjoying offshore tax benefits.
“I’ve set up my business to be able to work from anywhere in the world,” says Mark from England. “I need a dedicated space where I can concentrate and host meetings, and the business center and library will accommodate those needs so that I can continue doing what I love while seeing the world.”
The business center has a prime location on the stern of the ship, with floor-to-ceiling wraparound windows and dramatic views. It features shared workspaces, quiet areas and meeting spaces. Our resident business owners can enjoy the breathtaking destination or the passing scenery, even while working.
Reliable Internet Speed Anywhere in the World
The fastest ship-based wireless internet service available is accessible throughout the ship. Data access points are also available in each residence to work from home and in the business center for wired internet connection. A continuous speed test will be carried out to ensure you have no problem with video calls or live streaming, and additional speed can be arranged for those who require it.
There are many other places on the ship to set up a laptop and work as well, with 45 resident lounges and a plush 10,000-volume library with multiple desks and coworking spaces.
Work From Anywhere and Live Everywhere
“We created a life vision to live a ‘resort lifestyle’ and to travel the world while helping people live the life of their dreams,” said future residents Matt & Linda. “In 2019, we moved our business online and sold everything we had. We look forward to experiencing new cultures and finding ways to give back to our world. We will continue our business onboard and find a beautiful new life balance between experiences and contribution.”
Banking services, including currency exchange and personal and business banking, are available onboard. Residents and businesses on board can receive mail digitally or by express post.
“I’m going from this model where you want to go somewhere, you pack a bag, you get on a flight, you rent a room, to now my condo, my gym, my doctors and dentists, all of my grocery stores travel the world with me,” 28-year-old Meta employee Austin from San Diego says, the youngest to join our community and work from home on the ship.
Whether you own a business, work remotely as a company employee, or operate as a freelancer, your new home at sea provides you with the resources and uninterrupted access to the world in order to thrive in both your work and personal life. Through cutting-edge digital technology and a plethora of working space options,, you’ll get your work in before it’s time to play!
The Perfect Workation
Because Storylines understands that one size doesn’t fit all, if you feel that the thought of living on a ship full-time doesn’t exactly float your boat (excuse the pun), you can also consider shared purchase options which allow you to share a residence four ways seasonally with other members of the Storylines community, equating to three months of use per year.
We already have businessmen and women taking up fractional ownership to live and work remotely from the ship for a part of the year. Instead of repeatedly escaping to a beach house up the coast or spending hours on a plane only to arrive exhausted at their destination, these fractional owners will have a vacation home that transports them to a different part of the world every year, all while enjoying top-tier amenities, a great onboard community, and wonderful work/life balance.
Storylines is a luxury lifestyle ship with a like-minded community of globally-conscious citizens traveling the world. We seek unique experiences, cultural events, and community participation while practicing and promoting sustainable travel. To learn more, visit our website.