In 2020 Gelen Marine was chosen by Storylines to be their supervision team for their upcoming residential cruise ship newbuilding. The project was in its infancy and initially they appointed Gelen Marine Managing Director Dr Paul Read to take on the role of Construction Project Manager for the company.

Storylines is a start-up residential cruise line looking to corner the market on residential living at sea and open up the market to a wider audience than previously had been attempted. They focus heavily on onboard community building with a desire to encourage self-curation of a combined living and travel experience. They are particularly conscious of the impact their community may have on the world in their travels and so importance is placed heavily on sustainability and philanthropy. And all of this played a crucial role in the way the design was to be approached.

Gelen Marine´s role was to develop the design concept with Storylines for their first ship to be named MV Narrative. This entailed development of a statement of requirements and technical documentation to allow shipyards to be assessed for their capabilities in building the ship. After Brodosplit Shipyard in Croatia was chosen as the builder the Gelen Marine team helped develop the technical contractual documentation for the shipbuilding contract, including the technical specification, the general arrangement plan, etc. However, in his role with storylines he has provided much more, helping Storylines structure itself as it grows, helping with marketing events and developing marketing materials and assisting in keeping residents informed of technical developments.

The design concept for MV Narrative was markedly different from a usual vacational type cruise vessel. Consideration was needed in the fact that the ship is a home where people will live and work on a permanent basis and not a place to stay for the duration of a vacation. Furthermore, the operation of the vessel is to be markedly different with the ship making long stays in ports of 3 to 5 days and short sea journeys between ports, such that the ship will circumnavigate the world slowly once every 1000 days. This inevitable meant the design needed to allow for low passenger turn-over and variable occupancy situations and be able to function as a platform that spends up to 75% of its time in port and not at sea. These aspects needed to be further combined with the principal requirement for overall energy efficiency and sustainable, low impact design, all of which was drafted combining Gelen Marine´s expertise in the different fields and in close cooperative work with the shipyard´s experts, the Architect, Tillberg Design of Sweden and Storylines.

As the project moves forward, Gelen Marine will be working closely with all parties to further develop the detailed design and specification of MV Narrative, carrying out plan approval of drawings and documentation as it is produced and ultimately placing in the shipyard a comprehensive construction supervision team of shipbuilding engineers to carry out all owner’s inspections in the shipyard including steel and aluminium construction, outfitting, painting, piping, systems, electrical cabling, machinery, HVAC and hotel. The team will additionally attend factory acceptance tests at makers facilities and all harbour acceptance trials and commissioning of all ship machinery, equipment and systems and sea trials, in liaison with the classification society surveyor’s, Lloyds Register.