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Retired Couple Spent Almost 500 Days On Cruise Ships As It’s Cheaper Than Retirement Home

For many, the notion of travelling after retirement is a luxury and a dream. However, for some adventurous elderly couples, that dream has become a reality.

Meet Jess and Marty Ansen, an inspiring couple who have embarked on an extraordinary journey that defies conventional retirement living. They’ve chosen an unconventional path, one that involves a cruise ship as their home. But what led them to this unique choice, living life on the high seas?

Adventure-Filled Story

Cruise Ship as a More Affordable Retirement Home

In today’s challenging economic climate, post-pandemic and amid inflation, many families are struggling to make ends meet. The soaring costs of renting or owning a home have left people seeking creative solutions. Some have embraced the tiny home movement or repurposed shipping crates into living spaces, while others have transformed vans and trucks into mobile homes. In this context, the Ansens’ story shines brightly.

In June 2022, Jess and Marty Ansen set sail on the Coral Princess cruise ship, embarking on a remarkable adventure that has already spanned more than 500 days. What’s even more intriguing is that their life at sea is not only an escape from the housing crisis but also a more affordable alternative to traditional retirement homes.

As the Ansen’s embarked on their cruise ship adventure, the housing situation for the rest of the nation wasn’t looking promising. Over half a million people had lost their homes in the past year, and a significant portion of the population struggled to make rent or mortgage payments while coping with rising utility and grocery costs. Money for travel and entertainment had become a rare luxury. Additionally, the real estate market was experiencing high home prices and soaring interest rates, adding further financial pressure to the average American.

In the face of these challenges, living on a cruise ship emerged as a simple yet effective solution. Jess and Marty Ansen’s experience demonstrates that it’s not only a cost-effective choice but also a fulfilling one. Beyond the financial aspect, there are more reasons to consider this unique lifestyle.

The Advantages of Living on a Cruise Ship

Living on a cruise ship may initially sound like an unconventional choice, but Jess and Marty Ansen have found it to be an enriching and cost-effective way to enjoy their retirement. In this section, we’ll explore the advantages that make this lifestyle not just affordable but also incredibly appealing.

  • Cost-effective living: One of the most significant benefits of life on a cruise ship is its cost-effectiveness. Unlike the ever-rising costs of traditional housing, cruise ship living often includes meals and activities in the overall price. In some cases, cruise lines even offer free dining for children, making it an attractive option for families as well. With the Ansens choice, they’ve not only saved money but also enjoyed a high-quality lifestyle at sea.
  • Endless adventures: For Jess and Marty, their cruise ship lifestyle has brought an abundance of adventures. They’ve embarked on more than 50 consecutive cruises, exploring new destinations and cultures along the way. From fine dining experiences to housekeeping services and a wide array of activities like ballroom dancing and games, their days are filled with excitement. “Now, we don’t have to wash up anymore, or make the bed,” Jess joked. The freedom to enjoy these amenities without the responsibilities of home maintenance has been a game-changer.
  • Making lifelong connections: Living on a cruise ship has also led to the Ansens forming meaningful connections they might not have found in a traditional retirement home. They’ve built friendships with both crew members and fellow passengers, becoming a “familiar fixture” on the ship. This sense of community and camaraderie has added a deeply fulfilling dimension to their retirement.
  • The opportunity to see more: Cruises offer a unique opportunity to explore multiple destinations in one journey. Instead of booking hotels in different places or constantly packing and unpacking, cruise passengers have the luxury of waking up in a new location each day. It’s an ideal option for those who crave variety and want to see the world without the hassles of traditional travel.
  • Family-friendly adventures: Many cruise ships are family-friendly, offering a wide range of activities for all age groups. Families can bond, create memories, and keep every family member entertained with ease. Moreover, cruise trips can be personalized to suit individual preferences, from the size and duration of the ship to the types of activities available. Whether you prefer a shorter, more private cruise or the excitement of meeting new people, shopping, dining, and enjoying various activities, there’s a cruise for everyone.

10 Useful Tips for Living the Cruise Ship Dream

If you’ve been intrigued by Jess and Marty Ansen’s unconventional but inspiring life on a cruise ship, you might be wondering how you can embark on a similar adventure. Here’s an extensive list of tips to help you make the most of the cruise ship lifestyle.

1. Research thoroughly

Before you set sail, do your research. Explore different cruise lines, ships, and itineraries to find the one that suits your preferences and budget. Consider factors like the duration of the cruise, destinations, onboard amenities, and dining options.

2. Plan your budget

While living on a cruise ship can be cost-effective, it’s essential to plan your budget carefully. Calculate the total cost of your cruise, including accommodation, meals, and any additional expenses like excursions and entertainment. Make sure you have a clear understanding of the financial aspect before committing.

3. Choose the right cabin

The type of cabin you select can greatly impact your cruise experience. Decide whether you prefer an interior, ocean view, balcony, or suite cabin. Each has its own advantages and price points. Balcony cabins, for example, offer private outdoor space, while interior cabins are often more budget-friendly.

4. Pack thoughtfully

Pack efficiently and bring clothing suitable for various occasions, including formal nights, casual dinners, and daytime activities. Don’t forget essentials like sunscreen, comfortable shoes for shore excursions, and any necessary medications.

5. Embrace the ship’s offerings

Take full advantage of the ship’s amenities and activities. Most cruise ships offer a wide range of entertainment options, from live shows and movies to fitness classes and spa treatments. Participate in onboard activities to make the most of your time at sea.

6. Get to know your fellow passengers

Cruise ships are excellent places to meet people from all walks of life. Strike up conversations with fellow passengers, attend social events, and participate in group activities. You might just make lifelong friends, as Jess and Marty Ansen did.

7. Explore port destinations

While life on the ship is enjoyable, don’t forget to explore the fascinating destinations you’ll visit. Research the ports of call in advance, plan your excursions, and immerse yourself in local culture and cuisine.

8. Stay informed about the protocols

Stay informed about the cruise ship’s health and safety protocols, especially in the context of post-pandemic travel. Follow any guidelines and recommendations provided by the cruise line to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey.

9. Stay connected

Maintaining communication with loved ones back home is essential. Most cruise ships offer internet access, but it can be costly. Consider purchasing a Wi-Fi package or plan your communication ahead of time.

10. Be flexible and open-minded

Living on a cruise ship is an adventure, and like all adventures, it may come with unexpected twists and turns. Be flexible and open-minded, and embrace the spontaneity of life at sea.

Embracing Life’s Adventures

Jess and Marty Ansen’s story is a testament to the power of embracing life’s adventures, especially in retirement. Their decision to live on a cruise ship has not only allowed them to escape the daunting housing crisis but has also enriched their lives in countless ways. Below, some of the valuable lessons we can all draw from their experience.

1. Break free from convention

Retirement doesn’t have to follow a one-size-fits-all path. The Ansen’s chose a lifestyle that might seem unconventional to some, but it has brought them joy, cost savings, and a sense of fulfilment. Don’t be afraid to break free from societal expectations and find a retirement that suits your unique dreams and desires.

2. Embrace new experiences

Life on a cruise ship is an ever-changing adventure, filled with new experiences and discoveries. Jess and Marty Ansen remind us that retirement can be an opportunity to explore the world and create memories that will last a lifetime. Embrace the unknown, and you may find unexpected treasures.

3. Cultivate connections

Their story also highlights the importance of building meaningful connections. The Ansens have formed friendships that might not have been possible in a traditional retirement home. Whether at sea or on land, nurturing relationships add depth and warmth to life’s journey.

4. Adapt to challenges

In an economy marked by uncertainty and rising costs, the Ansens found a creative solution to their housing dilemma. Their resilience and adaptability serve as a reminder that challenges can be overcome with resourcefulness and a willingness to explore unconventional paths.

5. Prioritize well-being

Living on a cruise ship has allowed Jess and Marty to enjoy a high quality of life, with access to fine dining, entertainment, and activities that keep them active and engaged. Prioritizing well-being, both physical and emotional, is a key takeaway from their journey.

6. Seize the moment

Perhaps the most crucial lesson is to seize the moment. Life is too short to postpone dreams and adventures. The Ansens exemplify the idea that “whatever comes, book it.” Embrace the opportunities that come your way and make the most of every day.

As we bid farewell to Jess and Marty Ansen and their unique cruise ship lifestyle, we hope their story has ignited your curiosity and sparked your imagination. Whether you’re considering a similar adventure or simply seeking inspiration to live life to the fullest, remember that the possibilities are endless. Retirement can be a time of newfound freedom and exploration, and the world is your oyster.

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