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Considering a Cruise Ship Retirement? Here’s What You Need To Know First

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Many individuals are planning to set sail as part of their target retirement lifestyle, but not necessarily through short-term options like spending weekends on a boat. Some retirees plan to retire aboard a cruise ship.

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Embracing life as a long-term cruiser does offer some benefits including the ability to sail around the world and receive discounts through loyalty programs offered through cruise lines. But for all the convenience, is it more aspirational or impractical to retire on a cruise ship? 

Here’s what the financial feasibility of retiring at sea looks like.

What It Costs To Retire on a Cruise Ship

CNN interviewed several long-term cruisers about their experiences spending long-term stays onboard cruise ships. Some interviewees said retirement on a cruise ship was much less expensive than retiring on land. This is especially true for those who might be facing retirement in an assisted living facility, which can cost thousands of dollars each month.

Retire Comfortably

Angela Rice, co-founder of Boutique Travel Advisors, has looked into long-term cruising as a viable opportunity for retirees who want to not only explore the world but see cruising as an opportunity to increase the value of their senior years without spending more money for the level of service and amenities often needed or desired at this age.

The cost of a long-term cruise, for at least three months or more, varies depending on the cruise line. Rice said long-term stays on a contemporary cruise versus a luxury cruise would be no different than the monthly cost of a retirement community, whether you rent or own.

“The cruise line and itinerary plus the cabin you choose will be the biggest drivers of cost,” Rice said. “Retirees will also want to consider the passenger count, service provided and other amenities of value to you such as daily cleaning, complimentary laundry services and the inclusion of tours and activities.”

Retire Comfortably

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Will Your Living Expenses Go Up or Down?

The greater need you have for amenities and inclusions, the more the value of cruising will go up for you, as these expenses are likely high if you receive them from your home. 

In order to determine if cruising will save you money, Rice said you need to evaluate the costs you will no longer incur while cruising compared to the cost of cruising. For example, retirees who own a home may consider renting it out while they are aboard. 

“If you are debating between selling your home or downsizing, while cruising, you could create a window of time before you secure your next home or choose to rent or move into an adult living community,” Rice said. “This would eliminate unnecessary expenses such as mortgage and mortgage interest payments and home maintenance expenses.”

Retire Comfortably

Practical Limitations To Consider

Even if a retiree can afford to retire abroad on a cruise ship, there are still certain considerations found only on dry land to think about.

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