Retired Cruise Ships Could See New Life As Affordable Miami Housing

Miami residents could eventually find themselves living aboard repurposed cruise ships if the folks at a Washington-based architecture firm have their way.

Would You Live On an Old Cruise Ship?

CallisonRTKL explores converting decommissioned cruise ships for housing cruise Perspective Section
Rendering via CallisonRTKL

According to a Business Insider report, the firm CallisonRTKL did a study to determine whether decommissioned ships might, with the appropriate modifications, help fill the Miami area’s need for affordable housing.

“Currently, we are seeing cruise ships being decommissioned at one of the highest rates in history,” said the study’s creator, Abe Desooky. “Simultaneously, there is a growing lack of affordable housing in the Miami area.”

Of course, the huge uptick in ships being sold (largely for scrap) was due in large part to the industry-wide shutdown which saw cruise lines looking for ways to remain solvent. Carnival Corporation, for example, wound up selling 20 of their older ships, some of which would have met the same fate a few years down the line, even without the shutdown.

Major Changes Would Need to Be Made

carnival ecstasy exterior
Carnival Ecstasy is the latest Carnival ship being sold in 2022. (Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line)

Desooky noted that several major changes would need to be made in mocking up a potential design. For example, because most Miami residents drive, the lower decks would need to be converted into a parking garage. Also, the hypothetical ship would feature a courtyard in the middle (similar to the Central Park area on some Royal Caribbean ships) to allow more guests to have natural light.

The architect estimated that 900 single-person units could be rented at the cost of $1,250 per month. But before you whip out your checkbook to secure a stateroom, know that this is nothing more than a study, and there are no actual plans in place for the project to move forward.

“Maybe potentially down the road, this concept might come to fruition,” Desooky said, adding that eventually, cities like Miami would “need to start coming up with solutions that are atypical, and so I think taking decommissioned ships and not just using them for hospitality is something that should be happening.”

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