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Man who bought an entire cruise ship on Craigslist now lives there

Well played, Willson!
  • Chris Willson – an ordinary guy – stumbled upon an extraordinary opportunity on Craigslist
  • This vessel, originally named Wappen von Hamburg, was no ordinary ship
  • Renaming it Aurora, Willson started the restoration of the ship

Published on Apr 17, 2024 at 3:41PM (UTC+4)

Last updated on Apr 17, 2024 at 3:44PM (UTC+4)

Edited by Kate Bain
Chris Willson starts living in his purchased cruise

In a world where owning a home feels like a distant dream for many, one man captured the imagination by purchasing an entire cruise ship.

Meet Chris Willson, an ordinary guy who stumbled upon an extraordinary opportunity on Craigslist – a retired cruise ship up for grabs.

Yes, you read that right – a whole cruise ship for sale, not just a cabin or two.

READ MORE: Timelapse shows the construction of a huge cruise ship over six years

At first, Willson wasn’t even in the market for a cruise ship, and now he’s living there.

Willson was busy with his virtual reality projects when the post on Craigslist caught his eye.

Curiosity piqued, he decided to check it out, never imagining it would lead to his most ambitious project yet.

Despite the ship’s neglected state, he saw beyond its worn exterior to its hidden potential. This vessel, originally named Wappen von Hamburg, was no ordinary ship.

Built in 1955 at the prestigious Blohm and Voss shipyard in Hamburg, Germany, it held a storied history as Germany’s first significant passenger liner post-World War II.

But it was more than just history that drew Willson in.

The ship’s layout, with its grand staircases and sprawling decks, spoke to him in a way that no house ever could. It was like stumbling upon a vintage car in a neglected garage – the quality was undeniable, despite the neglect.

After much deliberation, Willson took the plunge and negotiated a deal with the owner in 2008, acquiring the 293-foot vessel for $1.2 million.

Renaming it Aurora, he started a level of restoration that would redefine his concept of home.

Moving onto the ship with his partner Jin Li, Willson poured his heart and soul into the project, devoting countless hours to its renovation.

From the dining room and salon to the outdoor swimming pool, no detail was overlooked in creating their dream home on the water.

Now in 2022, Willson’s vision has become a reality.

The Aurora, once a neglected relic, now stands as a beautiful house in the sea where Willson and his wife reside.

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