Affordable Options and Planning for Retirement on a Cruise Ship
Retirement options have expanded significantly in recent decades. The days of retiring on golf courses in Florida and Arizona are not necessarily over, but there are more options. Today’s retirees are choosing to take advantage of exchange rates and retire abroad, using house-sitting jobs to travel for free, and moving full time into tiny homes and RVs. You can even retire in luxury in Portugal and Costa Rica, which have become new retirement destinations in recent years. Another popular and affordable option is retiring on a cruise ship. If you are in the process of exploring your options and planning your retirement, here is what you need to know.
Why should you retire on a Cruise Ship?
A cruise ship offers the same amenities as a retirement home, but you can travel while you enjoy them. You get accommodations, meals and planned activities all for one price, plus you can discover places you have never been.
In a retirement residence, there may be staff to assist you, but on a cruise, all of your needs are met, making it an incredible experience. Whether it’s your next meal or a fun activity, your desires are only a question away and there are always plenty of choices. Each cruise line is known for different things. For example, you can choose a company that offers 4-star restaurants and even Michelin chef-awarded food, a company that offers the best nightlife and entertainment, or a company that caters to the 55+ crowd and has no children on board.
Most people work all their lives and only have a few weeks of vacation a year. Spending at least part of your retirement on a cruise ship allows you to see the parts of the world you have always wanted to travel, and even at a fairly reasonable price.
What are the costs on a Cruise Ship?
The total annual cost of your retirement at sea depends largely on the cruise line and the accommodations you choose. A look at the cost of standard rooms on each company will give you an idea of what you’ll have to pay. Some cruise lines offer rooms for full-time stays that can be rented for six months or a year. With others, you can simply book a room for a specific period of time, as many cruise lines offer and provide special programs for retirees. Oceania Cruises offers cruises around the world in 180 days for about $41,600 per person, and cruises for 2023 sold out in a day.
The average cost for retirement homes ranges from $3,500 to $10,500 per month, with the average being about $3,700. The average cost for a month at sea is comparable to that, at about $3,000 per month for a standard room on a cruise ship. However, this cost does not include things like shore excursions, specialty restaurants, beverages or gratuities (although some packages do include these things).
On the other hand, the average cruise traveler pays about $214 per day (this cost can be reduced to less than $100 with good planning, depending on the ship, date, cabin type and length of stay). Keep in mind that these costs include all living expenses, including most dining and entertainment on board.
What to look for?
As you make your preparations, remember that good planning goes a long way toward making your global adventure and retirement at sea both enjoyable and cost-effective.
There are a few things to keep in mind when living on a cruise ship:
Watch for deals: Cruises often offer certain hard-to-book rooms or dates at lower prices. If you are willing to be flexible, you can secure a bargain. Some cruise ships even offer deals like free excursions or unlimited drink packages when you book, depending on your interests.
Book months in advance: In her book, mother Lee Wachtstetter, who has lived on a cruise ship for 12 years, reveals that she gets the best deals by booking six months in advance at a time.
Make sure your health insurance covers foreign travel: Medicare generally does not cover foreign travel, so you may need to invest in private insurance or travel insurance.
Safety measures: After the entire cruise industry came to a virtual standstill in 2020, numerous health and safety measures were put in place aboard ships, but they cost passengers dearly. Prices might be a bit higher, but it’s good to know that extra measures have been taken for your health and protection during this time of global pandemic.
Schedule a consultation with your financial advisor: Before you retire, you should discuss your plans with your financial advisor and make sure all your finances are in order before you set sail.
If you want to spend your retirement a little differently than usual, consider a cruise. You’ll stay active and travel the world, without having a maintenance free lifestyle!