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This Shapeshifting, Floating Hotel Could Be The Future Of Cruises

The MORPHotel is designed to wander wherever ocean currents take it.

Cruise ships have remained relatively the same for decades. Take one giant hull, stack it with seaside suites, banquet halls, open bars and, more recently, a waterpark and voilà.

But one engineer has an idea that turns the concept of going on a cruise vacation into a totally different experience -- and his plans look straight out of a sci-fi flick.

The MORPHotel, still only a concept shown in artistic renderings, will "change the rules about sea trips," Gianluca Santosuosso, a London-based architectural engineer told The Huffington Post.

Santosuosso's ambitious design is a vessel-hotel hybrid, half a mile in length and designed to move with the ocean's currents. It would be built around a flexible spine made of connected capsules and held together by mechanical joints.

MORPHotel will be a self-sustaining ecosystem powered by solar and wave energy, where life on board will feel like a thriving, floating city. The concept differs from traditional cruises in many ways -- primarily that travelers would not take to MORPHotel with the promise of visiting multiple port cities within a certain timeframe. Instead, visitors would travel to MORPHotel for the purpose of staying on the structure.

Guests would be "tourizens," according to Santosuosso, blending together the role of tourists and citizens. The capsules located on the edge of the spine will consist of hotel rooms, some of which can detach as an independent boat and explore a fixed range around the vessel, while the central capsule will be the heart of the city with vegetable gardens, an animal farm, theaters, shops and restaurants.

And, unlike cruise ships, which move from point A to point B, the MORPHotel, in theory, will travel endlessly with the currents, docking at various harbors around the world, but with no end destination.

As Santosuosso describes it on his website, the floating hotel uses "the sea not only as a medium to move tourists from one place to another (as cruise ships do) but also to discover unknown places."

The vessel will have the ability to "plug in" to existing harbors, using a long dock that is connected to the center capsule (as seen in the second rendering below). Once attached, the dock acts as a pier that leads to reception where guests can check in or where area locals can board and explore the vessel while it's in town.

A rendering of the MORPHotel docked at a harbor.
A rendering of the MORPHotel docked at a harbor.

The structure's ability to withstand bad weather or rough waters remain unclear. And while Santosuosso's concept is lofty, it does offer a refreshing take on travel.

"I believe the idea of the journey itself, without a precise destination, is a dream shared among most people," Santosuosso told The Daily Mail.

For those of us who dream of leisurely wandering the world, the MORPHotel looks like a pretty nice way to do it:

The inside of one of the MORPHotel's indoor pools.
The inside of one of the MORPHotel's indoor pools.

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