Options for retirement have expanded significantly in the last few decades. The days of retiring to the golf course communities in Florida and Arizona aren’t necessarily over, but there are more options to consider. Today’s retirees are choosing to take advantage of foreign exchange rates and retire abroad, using house sitting gigs to travel for free, and moving into tiny homes and RVs full-time. You can even retire in luxury in Portugal, or Costa Rica, which have both become new retirement destinations in recent years. Another popular and affordable option is to retire on a cruise ship. If you’re currently exploring your options and planning your retirement, here are a few things you should know.

Why Retire on a Cruise Ship?

A cruise ship offers the same amenities a retirement community does, but you are able to travel while enjoying them. You get lodging, dining, and scheduled activities bundled into one price, plus get to explore places you have never been.

A retirement facility may have staff to help out, but cruises cater to their guests every whim making it an incredible experience. Whether it’s your next meal or something fun to do, your desire is a request away – and there will always be plenty of options. Every cruise line is known for different things so you can choose one that has 4 star dining and even Michelin chef award winning food, one that has the best nightlife and entertainment, or one that is geared toward a 55+ demographic and no children aboard.

Most people spend their entire lives working with only a few weeks of vacation a year. Spending at least part of your retirement on a cruise ship means you’ll see the parts of the world you always wished you had time to travel to and you can even do it at a pretty reasonable price.

Cruising Away: The Cost

The total yearly cost of spending your retirement at sea depends largely on the cruise line and the accommodations you choose. Looking at the cost of standard rooms for each company will give you an indication of how much you can expect to pay.

Certain cruise lines have rooms designed for full-time living with six month and yearly lease options. Others simply allow you to book out a room for a specified period of time. Certain cruise lines have special programs for retirees. Oceania Cruises offer “around the world in 180 day” cruises for around $41,600 per person and their cruises for 2023 were sold out in a single day.

The average cost of retirement facilities ranges from $3,500 to $10,500 a month, with an average of around $3,700. The average cost of a month at sea is comparable to this at around $3,000 a month for a standard room on a cruise ship. Keep in mind that this cost however, doesn’t include things like shore excursions, specialty restaurants, drinks, or gratuity (although some packages include these items).

On the other hand, the standard cruise traveler pays about $214* a day (this cost can be reduced to less than $100 with good planning depending on the ship, dates, cabin type, and length of stay). Keep in mind that this cost includes all your living expenses including most on-board food and entertainment.

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Planning: What to Look Out For

As you prepare, remember that good planning goes a long way toward making sure your global adventure and retirement at sea is both enjoyable and cost-effective. There are a few things about living on a cruise ship you’ll need to consider:

  • Watch for deals. Cruises often offer certain, hard-to-fill rooms or dates at cheaper fares. Being willing to be flexible means you could snag yourself a bargain. Some cruise ships even offer deals when booking such as free excursions, or unlimited drink packages depending on what your interests are.
  • Book months in advance. In her book, cruise ship retiree of 12 years Mama Lee Wachtstetter reveals she gets the best deals by paying for six months at a time.
  • Make sure your health insurance covers international travel. Medicare generally doesn’t, so you may need to invest in private insurance, or a traveler’s insurance.
  • Safety measures. After the entire cruise industry practically shut down in 2020, many health and safety measures have been introduced on board the ships, which comes at a price to passengers. Prices might be a bit higher, but feel good knowing extra measures have been put in place for your health and protection during this time of continued global pandemic.
  • Schedule a chat with your financial advisor. Well before you plan to retire, discuss your plans with your financial advisor and make sure all your finances are in order before you’re all set to sail away.

If you want to spend your retirement a little differently than the norm, retire on a cruise ship. You’ll stay active, travel the world and have a maintenance free lifestyle! Get in touch with us to talk about your options today!

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By Published On: October 5th, 2021

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About the Author: Tara Bruce

Tara Bruce
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