We’ve all gotten to the last day of a trip and found ourselves saying “I wish this holiday would never end”. Well, for some people, it never does. The latest trend among senior travellers? Never-ending cruises. Some retirees spend decades cruising the world full time with no plans to call it quits.
For some, being stuck on a cruise ship for the rest of their lives is some kind of nightmare. For others, it’s a dream come true. Think about it; you never have to make your own bed again, all your meals are taken care of, no doing the dishes, no mowing the lawn. Live entertainment, daily shows and onboard libraries ensure there’s never a dull moment. If you’re wondering what really happens on a cruise ship, read this.
Perhaps the biggest drawcard is cost. In many cases, it’s actually cheaper to retire onboard a cruise ship than on land. An investing site called Motley Fool found that budget cruises cost around $100 per day. When compared to the costs of assisted living facilities, they found that long term cruising would still save retirees several thousand dollars a year.
Retiring on a cruise ship sounds very glamorous, but would only be suitable for fit and healthy individuals. People with ongoing illnesses and ailments would not receive adequate care onboard.
Now we’re not suggesting you cram all your belongings into a storage locker and head to your nearest cruise port immediately. But there are definitely perks to long term cruising. Here’s why you should consider it.
Exploring at a slower pace
More and more retirees are spending their savings on travelling the world – and we say go for it! But not everyone wants to do so by land. Cruising is a convenient, slower paced way for seniors to travel. No long-haul flights or lugging your bags around. On a cruise ship, you unpack once. It’s like visiting all seven continents without having to change hotel rooms.
The biggest perk of cruising is that it’s all-inclusive. No need to carry your wallet around – everything is included in the cost of your ticket. Well, almost everything. You’ll generally have to pay extra for your wine at dinner (unless you purchase a beverage package) and for any special shows that might be on.
Hallelujah for housekeeping
For those who hate household cleaning chores, long term cruising could be the answer to your prayers. The housekeeping staff will make your bed, cleans your room and fluff your pillow every day. You can even get someone to do your washing for you.
Rent out your home to fund your travels
If you’re lucky enough to be mortgage-free, you may want to rent out your house to cover the cost of your cruises. Rather than selling it entirely, a steady income from renters could mean you have a nice little nest egg to go home to if you decide the never-ending cruise life isn’t for you.
Solo passengers will always pay more. The smallest cabins are twin share so those travelling solo will always have to pay a single supplement or cover the cost of two passengers.
Another potential deal-breaker is the cost of insurance. You may need to negotiate a special health insurance policy to cover travelling full time.
Speaking of health, special medical attention is minimal onboard. Cruise ships are required to have a medical centre onboard, but in the case of an emergency, you may be too far from a port to receive adequate medical treatment. Even day-to-day, you may require a level of care that isn’t available onboard.
So what are your options?
The World: Residences at Sea
This 12-deck yacht is a luxury vacation home on the water. It has all the features of a commercial cruise ship including cocktail lounges, pools, a gym, tennis court and a range of restaurants, but you cannot buy a ticket on this cruise ship. You have to buy an entire residence. The ship’s 165 cabins are all privately owned and range from studio apartments to six bedroom homes.
The ship stays in each port for around three days before moving on to the next destination. What’s the itinerary like? Well, the residents get to decide that. The route is chosen based on a voting system and is planned out several years in advance.
If you’re looking for an affordable way to retire at sea, this is not it. Some owners have forked out up to $7 million for the privilege of owning a slice of the pie. The initial cost of buying a residence is exorbitant, then there are the ongoing costs for maintenance and staff. A very unique concept, but not a practical one for most retirees.
In 1922, Cunard’s RMD Laconia made the first round-the-world passenger journey in history. Since then, cruise lines have hustled to meet the growing demand for long term cruising with fresh itineraries, affordable cabins and improved facilities to entice people to stay onboard (and spend their money) longer. Cunard, Princess and Viking are amongst the top lines hosting great round-the-world trips in the coming years.
Queen Victoria has just begun its 107-night voyage from Southhampton, USA. The ship will call in at Costa Rica, Mexico, Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia, Asia and South Africa before returning in April 2019. Cunard’s round-the-world cruises range from $19,049 to $62,059 per person.
In 2020, Pacific Princess will set sail from Fort Lauderdale and return 99 days later after visiting Panama, LA, French Polynesia, Australia, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Madagascar, Namibia and more. Expect to pay a minimum of $22,999 per person for this journey.
P&O appear to offer the most affordable option – a 99-night global journey through the central America, the US then to Australia and New Zealand, Asia and the Middle East. Passengers will shell out around $18,500 for this cruise.
The ship stays the same but the itinerary changes for each new departure. You can re-book the same cabin again, but you will still have to disembark and go through the regular security checks. Plenty of cruise lines offer back-to-back cruises in South America, Southeast Asia and the Mediterranean. Some are even themed, such as P&O’s Food & Wine Cruises and Uniworld’s Connoisseur Collection, showcasing France’s famous wine regions.
You can book back-to-back cruises on different ships, however, this is logistically more difficult. You’ll likely need to assistance of a travel agent to link up arrival and departure dates.
Interested in long term cruising? Get in touch with our cruising expert, Sharyn on 1300 404 100 or firstname.lastname@example.org