Why not retire on a cruise ship?
All at sea – is that really the way you’d planned to spend your retirement? Crazy as it might sound, that is just such a possibility if you choose to spend your most relaxed and hedonistic years on a cruise ship.
Many people may be approaching retirement with a degree of trepidation because it seems to mark the end of things – an end to daily adventures, an end to new experiences, new groups of friends and different places to see.
Starting a new life on a cruise ship, of course, offers the complete opposite. It’s going to mark a new beginning, where every day is likely to offer something different, in a unique environment. New friends may be made amongst fellow passengers, and your new horizons extend just a little further every day that your ship is under way.
Sailing from one port to another represents a way of travelling in style – without the hassle and headaches of early arrivals at crowded airports to await your departure to each successive destination. Instead, you are able to move yourself and your effects into your own cabin and make it your home whilst you travel the world in fully-serviced comfort.
Goodbye to loneliness
Another of the fears faced by those coming up for retirement is that giving up a job and a reason for leaving the house each morning is almost certain to lead to some feeling of loneliness. The social interaction with colleagues at work may have been one of the major attractions in maintaining that routine.
In the UK, one in ten of the over 65s say they often or always feel lonely, over half of the population over 75 lives alone, and loneliness is a problem for more than a million people in Britain, recounts an article in The Conversation on the 5th of March 2018.
And loneliness is not just a psychological state of mind. The charity Age UK has published evidence that it is also likely to make physical problems such as chronic pain or general frailty in old age that much worse.
You are never alone on a cruise ship but have ready access to a whole community of other passengers and crew.
For many people, a degree of inertia seems to set in once retirement is reached. Outings to the cinema, social gatherings of friends, tours to local beauty shops and even shopping expeditions might become all too much of an effort.
If you are well into retirement and have moved into a care home for the ambulant elderly, that inertia tends to be recognised by the management and staff who may organise trips to the cinema, to the local shopping centre or other local outings.
As Cruise 1st, points out, if you have made your new life on a cruise ship, you may pick from a daily schedule of entertainment and shows, bingo tournaments, day spas, and of course, excursions ashore.
Round the clock service
If you have chosen to make your life on a cruise ship, you may never face a household chore again – service is around the clock and likely to be delivered more attentively and promptly than in many a residential home for the elderly.
Indeed, as a resident passenger, you are likely to receive the extra status, attention and level of service that surpasses even that of shipmates who may be disembarking at the next port of call.
Obviously, no one is going to decide to spend their retirement at sea on a cruise ship without giving it a great deal of thought – and one of the major factors is likely to be the expense.
All of your lifestyle choices during retirement call for careful financial planning, of course, and the sooner you start marshalling all the resources of your pension, savings and personal assets, the wider your options are likely to be.
Although you might choose to go the whole hog, sell up your home, invest the proceeds in a lifelong cruise, and live off your pension income during a life entirely at sea, there are other options too.
You might want to make a cruise ship your second or even third home, for example, spending just part of the year onboard and the remainder in the home that you continue to own.
The website Cruise Critic, for example, describes a set-up where it is possible to purchase what is effectively a time-share for cabins on a cruise ship – and even play a part in devising future sailing itineraries. Although you may use your investment by choosing to spend the entire year cruising, the majority of such owners decide to spend between three to six months each year on a cruise.
Care home costs and cruising
Just how much you are able to invest in a lifelong cruise or regular cruises throughout the year, of course, depends on the financial means at your disposal and the pension planning you have made in advance.
The UK website The Cruise Line, offers an interesting thought by comparing the relative costs of the average residential home and passage on a cruise ship. A year in a retirement home in the Home Counties is likely to cost an average of £92,000, suggests the website, although in other parts of the country you might pay around £60,000 – an average of around £75,000 for the year, or just over £1,400 a week.
A cabin on a well-appointed cruise ship, by comparison, is likely to cost around £700 a week – about half the price.
Perhaps it’s not such an outlandish idea, after all, to spend your retirement on a lifelong cruise.
This data is correct as at the time of writing.