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Man bought an entire cruise ship on Craigslist and now he lives there
Featured Image Credit: Christopher Willson

Man bought an entire cruise ship on Craigslist and now he lives there

He compared the ship's renovation as being like 'redoing 15 houses'

While most of us are struggling to buy a simple three-bed house, one guy splashed out on an entire cruise ship.

Chris Willson came across the huge liner on Craigslist... you know, because that's where everyone goes to sell their cruise ships.

The retired vessel was being held at the California Delta, so Willson thought he'd swing by and take a look at it.

Upon going to see it, he discovered how neglected the 2,496 tonne ship was and questioned if he was up for the task of renovating it.

But, following further inspection, Willson came across the five levels of the ship that were beneath the surface and hailed it as 'the most spectacular layouts of just about any ship I've seen'.

He then took it upon himself to do a deep dive (pun intended) into the cruise ship's history and discovered that it was constructed back in 1955 at the Blohm and Voss shipyard in Hamburg, Germany.

The ship, originally named Wappen von Hamburg, had been the first significant passenger liner to come out of Germany following World War II.

Chris Willson bought the ship for $1.2 million in 2008.

Willson thought through his plan of how a renovation might play out, and ultimately decided to purchase the boat after he was able to 'work out a really good deal with the owner of the vessel' in 2008.

He ended up buying the 293-foot cruise ship, which had three decks, 85 cabins with en-suite bathrooms, a dining room and salon, an outdoor swimming pool, for $1.2 million.

After buying it, Willson had the ship moved to the California river city of Rio Vista where he began a lease and kick started Wappen von Hamburg's restoration.

He has since renamed the ship Aurora.

Speaking to CNN Travel, Willson said: "I figured it was going to be a long project.

"The scale of it was massive. It's almost the same as redoing 15 houses all by yourself."

In a bid to devote more time to the ship's renovation, Willson and his partner Jin Li ended up moving onto the cruiser, and still reside there.

As of last year, 40 percent of the renovation was completed.
Christopher Willson

Fast forward to 2022 and Willson predicted that he'd spent an eye-watering $1 million on the boat's upgrades.

Speaking to Insider last year, he said the boat was 40 percent done and therefore still needs more cash to finish it all off.

Willson is wanting to raise $3 million to get it all completed.

"Once you have finished one end of the ship, you have to start all over again by the time you get to the other end," he told the publication.

"Even a brand new ship requires maintenance right off the bat."

Despite having previous hopes of making Aurora into a shoreside attraction, Willson now wants it to be a bed and breakfast and an events center, in addition to a working coastal cruiser.

Topics: Life, News, Travel, US News, Cruise ship