One Guy Bought a Cruise Ship With Ties to James Bond on Craigslist

A longterm renovation project is underway

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Sometimes you can find interesting things for sale online.
Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

There was a time on the internet when the idea of strange things being bought and sold online could still inspire fascination. Stories focusing on bizarre sales carried out on eBay were once commonplace — including one on a grilled cheese sandwich that sold for a five-figure sum. But by and large in 2022, the notion that someone could stumble onto something weird online and buy it seems less newsworthy and more quotidian.

Still, there are exceptions. And when someone uses Craigslist to buy a cruise ship, well, that’s when people take notice.

A new article on CNN tells the story of one Chris Willson, who bought a 293-foot cruise ship on Craigslist in 2008. At the time, the vessel was located in northern California — though Wilson did some research and found that its history dates back to post-war Germany, where it had been built in 1955.

That isn’t the only intriguing historic detail about the vessel, which Wilson named the Aurora. It was also used as the location for scenes in From Russia With Love and helped inspire The Love Boat.

Since his purchase, Wilson has been at work restoring the boat, with the end goal of turning it into a museum. Given the project’s origins in online sales, it’s serendipitous to see that Wilson has funded it in part by selling objects on eBay.

CNN also notes that Wilson drew inspiration for a YouTube channel documenting the restoration from a similar project being run by a couple who purchased a cruise ship of their own on eBay. Could you build an entire vintage fleet using online online marketplaces? Stranger things have happened.

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