A production boat is designed to have a larger sail plan and a lighter mass so they can sail easily in light wind (8-12 knots). They are often referred to as 'tender' because they react quickly to wind changes. These boats are often beamier than other blue-water cruisers and have spacious interiors with smaller tanks because they are meant for shorter sailing trips. These boats are completely capable of making an off-shore trip, but they are best used mostly for coastal sailing and Caribbean island cruising. Production boats make great coastal cruising boats and if you aren't planning to cross oceans, this type of boat might actually favor your desired live-aboard/vacation lifestyle more than a blue-water cruiser.
On the other hand, blue-water cruisers are capable of easily crossing oceans and have a shorter sail plan and a much heavier mass. They are designed for you to be able to cut across the Atlantic from the mouth of the Chesapeake to San Juan, Puerto Rico instead of skirting the coast to Florida and then hopping over that direction. They have larger water, fuel, and waste tanks because they are designed for longer stints off shore. Rather than only being able to carry 40 gallons of water, these vessels are usually equipped with twice the tankage because they are designed to go much farther and longer off-shore than your average Hunter or Catalina. Unlike a production boat, these vessels will ride better in rough weather (Dave and I like to use a car analogy here: You can drive cross-country in a Buick vs. an S-class Mercedes. Both get you there, but one provides a little more comfort). A production boat will ride differently in rough weather because it has a much lighter mass and will get tossed around a bit in rough seas where a blue-water vessel will cut through the chop and slice through rough waves because of its heavier mass.