Six Years Aboard the World’s Most Luxurious Cruise Ship: A Real-Life ‘White Lotus’ Experience

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On one of the most exclusive, invite-only cruise ships in the world, one passenger claims to be dredging up the vessel’s deepest secrets.

Once a lawyer in his early retirement, Peter Antonucci, 64, spent a significant part of his lifetime aboard the luxurious floating residence, The World. The enormity of this floating residence can be imagined with its 12 floors and a length of 644 feet, similar to a fraternity house in experience – a bit contradicting though when its condo’s pricing starts from a whopping $2 million.

Living in such opulence, according to him, came with its own share of drama, drugs, and debauchery, an experience not dissimilar to the pockets of the real-life ‘White Lotus’.

Antonucci jokingly remarks to the Daily Mail that “The ship was powered more by rumors than diesel fuel”.

There are just 165 residences varying from studio apartments to grand multi-bedroom apartments in the ship named The World. This floating residential marvel takes its residents to more than 100 awe-inspiring places each year. Yet nothing can shake off the tag of the floating soap opera off The World, reveals the outspoken former lawyer.

Antonucci obtained unique understanding into the underhand affairs subsequent to his election to the ship’s Board of Directors. This board, similar to a notably active Park Avenue co-op board, had full knowledge of all the maritime mischiefs, he stated.

‘All extreme behavioral offenses are brought to the scrutiny of the board, that’s the gist of it,’ Antonucci conveyed.

‘I was aware of all concealed truths — I knew the details of intimate relationships, assaults, thefts… And obviously beyond that I have the ability to see and listen. You observe things and you understand things,’ he expressed.

Antonucci became a part of the ship in 2014 post tasting a sample cruise with his spouse Tami and instantly falling in love with the experience — their initial condominium cost them $1.6 million, and they resided there for up to eight months of a year.

In due course, the pair became established, transitioning across various apartments, offering them front row views to the ongoing long-term activities.

“The intrigues, narratives, and minor narratives didn’t materialize instantly – some took weeks or even years. As occupants, we audaciously witnessed them simmering. Numerous people on board were captivated by the rumors,” Antonucci reminisced.

“‘In this scenario, you witness a small assembly of highly accomplished, privileged individuals drifting around in a steel receptacle amidst the sea,” he expressed, describing the inhabitant demographic as “extremely international,” but leaning towards the age of retirement  — “exceeding 80%.”

Nevertheless, wisdom does not inevitably accompany age — particularly with this group.

“When you are at sea for six or seven days people just go from bar to bar…what could possibly go wrong? Did you have people getting smashed? Of course. Did you have people diving into the pool fully dressed? Yes. Did they stay fully dressed? Not always. Did you have people doing drugs? Of course you did. Any time you have a group of people, you’re going to have that stuff,” he revealed.

Antonucci said he was reminded greatly of HBO’s critically acclaimed comedy The White Lotus, headed into its third season.

The darkly funny drama follows a pack of privileged vacationers to sun-drenched, sexy locations around the world, playing their various dreadful behaviors for laughs.

“To be clear, people on the ship were not murdering each other… it wasn’t that bad,” Antonucci clarified.

“But you had entitled owners screaming at staff when they couldn’t get their way and you had guests come on who were inappropriate, barely dressed and grinding against each other on the pool deck,” he said.

“One of the things about the ship that is impressive, most of the residents are self-made. They’re not trust fund babies but that’s a good thing and a bad thing.”

“It’s a good thing because they understand what it is like to build a corporation and develop something. But it can be a bad thing because they’ve never been told no and when they have an idea they just go with it,” he pointed out.

Antonucci, who has written three novels about a fictional cruise ship filled with wealthy people emphasis on the fictional remembered numerous arguments, fights and torrid affairs that would go on for ‘months and years,’ even between the residents and the crew.

Because the occupants of the ship are its owners, they can’t be simply ejected at the next port, unlike on a Carnival cruise when passengers violate the rules.

“One can’t hastily expel people when they’ve invested $5 million to come onboard and are contributing $500,000 per annum in maintenance fees,” was the observation.

“However, there were formal procedures for handling such situations.”

A representative for the ship reported to the Daily Mail: “We had previously communicated with Mr. Antonucci, who has provided written confirmation that his works have no connection to The World or its residents, and that his writings are artistic fictional pieces about an imaginary ship.”

“We wish him well in his creative works of fiction, which we understand have no relation to The World or any of its residents.”

After nearly 6 years of life at sea, Antonucci and his wife moved back onto dry land.

“I left because of two things,” he said. “One, I had been on for enough years that I had seen the world a few times. Two, I personally was sick of the gossip and the rumors and the cattiness.”

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