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Your new ‘retirement’ home could be a cruise ship

Your new 'retirement' home could be a cruise ship

Jeff Farshman, 72, is a serial cruiser from Delaware who spends months at sea retired.

Jeff Farshman

For nearly two decades, Jeff Farshman, 72, has spent his golden years like many other adventurous retirees — enjoying leisure trips to exotic ports of call.

But unlike many of his cruise buddies, Farchman lives primarily at sea. He spends months traveling the world’s oceans and waterways – half the year, if not more. Although he still maintains an actual home near where he grew up in Delaware, Farschman is now part of a growing group of older folks who are literally “retiring” on cruise ships.

“Regardless of the pandemic, I’ve been sailing for seven to eight months a year,” said Farshman. “I am a world traveler and explorer type, and cruises have literally allowed me to see the entire planet.”

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Living on a ship wasn’t exactly what Farshman had in mind when he first set sail. But the former vice president at Lockheed Martin found himself stuck on a traditional Caribbean cruise when Hurricane Ivan struck again in 2004.

“I kept extending my time on board because the hurricane spoiled my original plans for the winter,” he explained. “I ended up completing six flights in a row.”

Nearly 20 years later, Farchman now organizes his life around time at sea – making his shore stints as short as possible. However, like any other cruiser, “sea retirees” found themselves again on land during most of the coronavirus pandemic, when the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention closed all cruises from US ports.

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For Farchman, that meant 19 months – including winter – without sailing, the longest he had been on shore in nearly two decades. But once the main lines put in place clear health protocols for Covid, the serial cruisers were the first to get back on board. While outbreaks of Covid have since been reported – including notable cases in San Francisco and Seattle – people like Farshman say they feel safe sailing.

Cruising’s clear appeal to retirees

Holland America Line offers “big” trips that last for months. Here, the Westerdam Line sails Alaska.

Holland America line

Although there are no firm numbers, retirement on a cruise ship is gaining increasingly higher status – despite the industrial disruptions caused by the coronavirus crisis.

Serial cruiser and author Lee Wachtstetter, for example, Reading diary books About living on cruise ships for 12 years after her husband’s death. Meanwhile, Farchman recounts his events at sea projects on his blog – It is facilitated by internal WiFi which has “become more reliable, although unfortunately not necessarily more affordable,” he said.

Improved connectivity also allowed semi-retired cruisers to be stationed at sea while on duty. Tara Bruce, Consultant and Creative Brand Director at Goodwin Investment Servicesa financial advisory firm based in Woodstock, Georgia that helps retired people at sea.

By sailing, you’ll cover all of your living expenses – food, housing, and entertainment – in one place.

Tara Bros

Creative Brand Manager at Goodwin Investment Consulting Services

In many ways, retiring on a cruise ship makes a lot of sense. Stereotypes aside, sailing has always appealed to older travelers. In fact, according to International Association of Cruise LinesIn 2018, a third of the 28.5 million people who took a cruise in 2018 were over the age of 60 – and more than 50% are over the age of 50.

Furthermore, cruise ships offer many of the essential elements that seniors need to thrive: organized activities, a decent level of medical care, and most importantly, a compact community of like-minded travelers.

Retirement on a cruise ship can be economically sound, too.

Cheaper than assisted living

“By sailing, you cover all of your living expenses—food, lodging, and entertainment—in one place,” Bruce said. Although deluxe liners can be priced as low as $250 a day, “we’ve seen people get costs down to $89 a day, which is much cheaper than subsidized care or other types of living for seniors.”

Frequent cruisers like Farschman also qualify for in-flight credits for premium meals, drinks, spas and other activities that can easily run into “hundreds of dollars per trip,” Farschman said.

The emergence of the “retire at sea” movement has been underpinned by the recent shift toward longer, more elaborate “global cruises” or “grand cruises” that can last 50 days or more at a time.

Holland AmericaFor example, the Grand Africa Voyage itinerary offers a 71-day itinerary that stops at 25 ports in 21 countries along with a Grand World Voyage cruise that visits 61 ports in 30 countries, for a total of 127 days at sea.

Colin McDaniel, Editor in Chief . explained Cruisecritic.com. With careful planning—often booked by the shorter “Mosul” voyages—”big” courses can keep cruisers at sea almost indefinitely.

So-called Collectors Voyages in Holland America not only help retirees avoid repeat port calls, they also include discounts of 10% and 15%, according to Eric Elfjord, director of public relations for Holland America.

profitable demographic

Described as “the largest private residential yacht on Earth”, The World arrives at Villefranche-sur-Mer on the French Riviera.

world | Dovetail Agency

Although a few cruise lines specifically target retirees—Oceania, for its part, has Snowbird in residence The Program That Has Since Been Cancelled – Specialty Agents Wake Up To This Profitable Demographic.

CruiseWeb, based in Tysons, Virginia, has launched a version Elderly people who live in the sea The program that builds trails for retirees and helps clients manage their lives back on the beach. Other than booking reservations, CruiseWeb deals with issues such as beach transfers, ship keys, visas, and insurance.

“We have customers who have been on the ship for over a year,” said Michael Jones, Senior Operations and Marketing Coordinator at CruiseWeb. “They usually downsize their permanent home stay and many even rent it while they are on the plane” to help cover the cost of sailing, he added.

Perhaps the most important component of the retired naval movement is the arrival of fully residential ships, such as the 20-year-old. the world And soon for the first time MV Narrative, from Storylines. The first includes 165 individually owned residences on board, while the much larger MV Narrative – set to hit the high seas in 2023 – offers 547 one- to four-bedroom apartments.

Owning at sea isn’t cheap: Narrative MVs range from $1 million to $8 million, while limited one- to two-year leases start at $400,000.

“There are also monthly or annual costs to cover things like fuel, port fees, taxes and housekeeping,” McDaniel explained. “It’s kind of like living in an apartment – it happens at sea.”

Written by David Kaufman. Kaufman is a freelance writer.