WfB: alternative living / coworking options

Hiya :grin:

Jeff Witt sent me this message as an alternative way for us to get together as a team: working from boats! So I thought I’d share it, in case it strikes anyone’s imagination.

I have a suggestion for a get-together venue that may be as affordable as any land option, and more personally rewarding for team members.

This guy Tynan (http://tynan.com) is an independent developer/entrepreneur with various small projects. One of them is http://cruisesheet.com, a search engine for cruises. He’s big on working while on transatlantic cruises. Originally he pitched this as a way to really get away from distractions, while also enjoying the amenities onboard the ship.

Since around 2016 many cruise ships actually have pretty good high speed internet (speed and latency depending on where you are in the world, and on what ship). Following his advice, I have done the same thing several times. My ideal cruise agenda is: port day = vacation, sea day = work and great food.

Royal Caribbean has the best internet at sea through O3b, and they are now rolling out StarLink. In the Caribbean or Mediterranean O3b gives about 70ms latency. In the middle of the Atlantic they use a different satellite and it’s about 220ms latency. So Zoom may work but the delays are a bit annoying.

Repositioning cruises (many ships move from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean and back, or across the Pacific, or through the Panama Canal seasonally) in April/May and October/November are the cheapest cruises you’ll ever find. 5-8 days at sea out of a 7-12 day cruise means plenty of time to get some work done, as well as goof off a bit during the evenings. For the second week (Europe or Caribbean), I find it easy enough to get an hour or two of email catch-up in on port days after getting back from a shore excursion.

A 2-week repositioning cruise (The Best Eastbound Transatlantic cruises Deals | CruiseSheet) may cost as little as $600 per person including taxes and fees. Add another $200pp for gratuities, a few $hundred for shore excursions, and a few $hundred for airfare to get back home. Depending on where you go, you may get the benefits of a 2-week vacation for the price of one on land. Pro tip: if you order an inside room and the ship isn’t full (which is very likely right now due to covid and the relative unpopularity of the repositioning cruises), there is a high probability that you’ll get bumped to a balcony room for free.

Similarly, if you want to do a one-week offsite with your company (particularly if you’re all remote most of the time anyway), this is probably cheaper than flying your crew to any big city.

The seminars-at-sea model was also well proven out by geekcruises.com, now renamed insightcruises.com. Geek Cruises’ business model was “compliance with multi-day seminar training (in depth seminars on PhotoShop, Linux admin, etc.) will be much better when you have a captive and entertained audience”. After a few years of success with that, they pivoted when they realized there are more rich educated retirees who want educational vacations.

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I have done a transatlantic repositioning cruise before (14 days with 7 of those at sea), and I loved it! It is extremely relaxing and productive as there’s no rush to be anywhere or do anything, and your food and accommodation is all taken care of. I think that week at sea was the most relaxed I’ve ever been in my lifetime. So I would be into that. Though I will say that not everyone likes cruise ships, and they’re terrible for the environment, and they do have a very blatant class system where all the officers and entertainers tend to be white and all the people doing service and cleaning are not - so I do feel a bit conflicted about it.

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