MS THE WORLD is a residential cruise ship. Unlike other cruise ships, which operate like a resort, it is operated like a condominium complex, with large cabins that can be purchased.

The residents, from about 19 countries, live on board as the ship travels. Some residents choose to live on board full-time while others visit periodically throughout the year. The ship is operated by ROW Management, Ltd., headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States.
The ship has 165 residences (106 apartments, 19 studio apartments, and 40 studios), all owned by the ship's residents. Average occupancy is 150–200 residents and guests.

THE WORLD is registered in The Bahamas and has a gross tonnage of 43,188. It is 196.35 metres (644 ft 2 in) long, 29.8 metres (98 ft) wide, and has a 6.7-metre (22 ft) draft, 12 decks, and a maximum speed of 18.5 knots (34.3 km/h; 21.3 mph). The crew numbers approximately 280.

On 28 January 2017 THE WORLD gained the world record for the southernmost ship voyage, achieved by her Captain Dag H. Sævik and the 63 residents on board at the timea as well as crewmembers. The ship reached 78°43•997 ́S and 163°41•421 ́W at the Bay of Whales in Antarctica’s Ross Sea.

in 2020 a Penthouse on The World was offered for sale at $A20.5 million with annual Maintenance/Service charges of $A2.5 million a year