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Retirees Increasingly Ditching the Mortgage to Live on Cruise Ships

The following article, Retirees Increasingly Ditching the Mortgage to Live on Cruise Ships, was first published on Flag And Cross.

Every now and then, a very unorthodox idea gets more than a few people scratching their heads and a movement is born.  This might just be the case with cruise ship retirements in the 21st century.

As it turns out, living nearly full-time on a cruise ship is far less expensive than one might imagine, especially when you start to compare the cost of living at home with the all-inclusive situation at sea.  And so much so that an increasing number of retirees are setting sail as opposed to settling down.

Serial cruiser and author Lee Wachtstetter, for instance, wrote a much-read memoir about living on cruise ships for 12 years after her husband died. Farschman, meanwhile, chronicles his sea-faring ventures on his blog — facilitated by on-board WiFi that’s “become so much more reliable, though sadly not necessarily more affordable,” he said.

Upgraded connectivity has also allowed semi-retired cruisers to be based at sea while still working. “The WiFi on most vessels is now strong enough for Zooms,” said Tara Bruce, a consultant and creative brand manager at Goodwin Investment Advisory Services, a Woodstock, Georgia-based financial advisory firm that helps folks retiring at sea.

In many ways, retiring on a cruise ship makes a lot of sense. Stereotypes aside, cruising has always appealed to older travelers. In fact, according to the Cruise Lines International Association, one-third of the 28.5 million people who took a cruise in 2018 were over 60 years old — and more than 50% were over 50 years old.

What’s more, cruise ships offer many of the essential elements seniors need to thrive: organized activities, a decent level of medical care and, most crucially, a built-in community of like-minded travelers.

And that’s not all:

“With cruising, you cover all of your living expenses — food, housing, entertainment — in one place,” said Bruce. Although pricing on luxury liners can inch towards $250 per day, “we’ve seen folks get costs down to $89 per day, which is far cheaper than assisted care or other kinds of senior living.”

Repeat cruisers like Farschman are also eligible for on-board credits towards premium meals, drinks, spas and other activities that can easily reach “hundreds of dollars per voyage,” Farschman said.

When you say it like that, sailing the seven seas in your seventies really does sound like serendipity.

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