A while back, I went on a cruise with my wife. It was the first cruise she had ever been on.
While there, we met a nice senior couple whom we spent time getting to know.
We were surprised to learn that they’d been living on cruises for the last couple months and were planning on repeating this exact same cruise as soon as it was over.
It was about this time that I first heard about seniors retiring onto cruise ships.
Retire to a cruise ship
Since meeting that senior couple and learning that some people give up their homes entirely to live in hotels and cruise ships, I decided to crunch the numbers and see how they stacked up to more traditional living arrangements.
(I’m going to assume that the seniors in question are active adults, because this couple I met, were fully capable of getting around and taking care of themselves.)
So, if you lived aboard a cruise ship, you should easily be able to get your rooms for around $55 per day. I’ve seen a lot of prices above this and some below, but this seemed like a good place to start. If you’re a frequent cruiser, no doubt you can find some better deals.
Keep in mind, that your food and entertainment will all be provided for. (Assuming that you don’t care to blow you money on trinkets at every port, and you’re not big into buying fancy drinks.)
Your only other expense would be the automatic tips, which generally run you another $16 per day. (I personally think those should be disclosed when you buy your ticket, but that’s a discussion for another day.)
So at $71 per day, you and your spouse can live aboard a cruise ship quite comfortably for about $4320 per month.
Retire to an apartment
Let’s compare this to an apartment. Depending on where you live around the country, or even within an apartment complex, this will be very different. For simplicity sake, I’m looking at one of the prices for one of our luxurious senior apartments in our Grovecrest Villas complex in Pleasant Grove, Utah.
The apartment I chose was running for about $944 per month. If you figure in extra utilities, food, transportation, entertainment, general upkeep, you can usually expect to live comfortably for around $1964 per month. This is 55% cheaper than living on a cruise ship.
Keep in mind that I’m assuming that you are providing for two. If you’re by yourself, then you’d only be saving 10% over a cruise. Of course, you’d have a lot more permanent friends on land than you could ever hope to have living aboard a cruise ship.
Retire to an active 55+ community
Last of all, if you move to a senior community, like the ones that Leisure Villas builds, the breakdown would look more like this: A mortgage at around $1700 per month, plus utilities, food, transportation, entertainment, upkeep, misc = about $2920 per month.
This is about a 32% saving from living aboard a cruise ship. However, you need to remember, that your mortgage is also building equity, so while your monthly spending is higher, you’re still storing wealth.
Which makes the most sense to you?
Personally, I’m not a big fan of cruises. I turn a little green after a day of rocking and rolling on the waves. But if you’re single and don’t mind making lots of temporary acquaintances, maybe this is right for you.
For me, I prefer the stability of a 55+ community. You own your own home and your grandkids can stay for as long as they want without paying for a ticket.