Retirement on a Cruise Ship

One of the key insights from my time in Florida has been that everybody’s idea of Retirement is certainly different. 

Living half the year near family, then the other half in warmer climates like Florida is very popular. ‘

Snowbirds’ is what they’re referred to, and it’s estimated the states population swells by almost a million retirees during the warmth of Florida’s winter sun.

Other retirees choose to move to places like South America where the cost of living can be appealing.  This is similar to what a growing number of retirees are choosing to do when considering places like Bali and Thailand for their retirement years.  

Retirement Cruising

Another interesting retirement lifestyle choice is retirement on a cruise ship.  Whilst the concept in America has been around for a little while, I was intrigued to see that a new ship is being launched in Melbourne.

Promoted on their website as “offering a memorable, perpetual cruising experience that combines luxury with the warmth and intimacy of smaller vessels, the Enchanted Explorer has no more than 550 Residents and Guests on-board at any one time, with a crew of 210 attentive staff.”

“Based in Miami and Melbourne, we provide a range of long-term Residential options aboard cruise ships to allow you to travel and explore perpetually at similar costs to land-based living,” 

Been There, Done That

This type of retirement lifestyle isn’t new it seems.

New Jersey native Beatrice Dumont Miller being legendary for having taken up residence on Cunard Line’s Queen Elizabeth 2 for nine years and apparently, Lee Wachtstetter, 88, has been living on Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Serenity for almost a decade; it’s been reported that she pays an annual fee of $164,000 a year for her stateroom.

With an itinerary that stretches across the globe, it certainly offers a unique retirement lifestyle.

Cruise Critic highlight how Mario Salcedo (nicknamed “Super Mario” by crew), 67, has taken more than 950 cruises over a 20-year period, mainly on ships operated by Royal Caribbean.

There are options available ranging from long term residency, to around the world voyages or itineraries with back-to-back cruises.


Costs for these options may be advertised at a certain price, however as we have learnt in the USA, “everything is negotiable”.

There are plenty of obvious benefits to this type of lifestyle, that could potentially (in some cases) include cost comparativeness with other living options, programmed social events, invigorating travel opportunities that involve exploration and intrigue learning about new cultures, history and communities.

The hassle-free lifestyle would surely appeal to many as the housekeeping, cooking and maintenance is handled by the ship’s crew.


Of course, there are going to be downsides.

For example, social interaction may be transient with long term friends and family left behind. I do note that the new cruise ship marketing material does promote how family members can visit during the cruise.

Costs can increase above expectations if not well planned and budgeted for, particularly if health issues arise.

No pets are allowed, which leaves behind a valued family member perhaps and other issues such as repetitive entertainment and weight control are queries.

The Meaning of Retirement

A key risk could be a lack of purpose in retirement when cruising for a very long duration. If you’re an author, or better yet, a travel writer, then it may be perfect..who knows!

Yet for many retirees, I could envisage it being seen as the perfect vision of a relaxing drift into senior years.

This is similar to when I meet with a prospective retiree and they tell me that they intend to play golf 7 days a week.

They begin to fill their weekend leisure pursuit into a full week of labour, and they don’t get a break to enjoy their golf anymore.

Often we see this idea fade away in the first year or two of retirement.

Similarly, a travelling vacation is always fun, and cruising is surely a popular holiday choice.

Just like playing golf everyday, the question arises whether that cruise holiday would become monotonous as a choice of lifestyle every day of the week for a retirement that lasts, on average, about 8,000 days.

Imagination Capital in Retirement

It’s certainly a unique lifestyle, and if nothing else, it’s great to explore what’s possible in retirement.

People spend more time planning what they will do for their holidays, than how they will prepare for next phase of life in retirement.

If we can imagine what’s possible, whether it’s cruising the Bahamas or volunteering at the local non-profit organisation, then it’s all a start to a retirement that has meaning for you.