Could you live on a cruise ship?

Fred.Olsen cruises

Now just think about that for a moment. Have you ever got home from your cruise holiday, returned to your daily life and said to a family member, friend or work colleague when asked if you had a good time, something along the lines of ‘yes, but I’m ready for another one’? Or perhaps, if your last cruise was particularly excursion-packed and adventurous: ‘I need another holiday to get over that one!’  But what would it be like if never got off the cruise ship? Would you stay on it all the time? Could you afford it? Could it really be your home?

Well, spending large amounts of time on-board a cruise ship is of course something a lot of people people do for a living, with many members of the crew spending the majority of a four to six-month contract on the ocean wave. A cruise ship career, though it has its rewards, is hard work and certainly isn’t suitable for everyone, so let’s assume you don’t currently have a cruise ship career and let’s pretend for one crazy moment that you’ve decide to up sticks and sell your home. Could you really live on a cruise ship?

Of course, house prices depend a lot on the type of home you have and where you live, but I’m going to say £170,000 and assume you don’t live in Bloomsbury. The cost of an adequate standard of living in the UK in 2013 has been calculated at £16,850 for a single person and £38,800 for a working couple with two children a year. With lines such as Fred.Olsen and P&O Cruises offering a number of sailings from the UK, it’s possible to cruise for anything between 10 and 14 nights for between £500 and £600 on an itinerary which is closer to home, such as Mediterranean cruise or European voyage. So let’s split the difference at £550 and assume that was a two-week cruise; that comes out at £14,300 a year. Of course, you can’t cruise the Mediterranean all year round, and your next most price-conscious option, a Caribbean cruise, would likely set you back between £800 and £900 for the same duration. It doesn’t take a mathematical genius (and I’m far from one of those) to work out that if you add those Caribbean cruises into the mix, you’ll be well over your average cost of living, with six months of sun-kissed cruising setting you back around £25,000.

Using all these figures as an exceedingly rough guide, you could probably survive on a cruise ship for around four years on a very tight budget before you’d have to start washing up in the galley to earn your keep. Sorry to spoil the fun but it’s safe to say you could live off your house sale for a good deal longer if you were just renting a property.

So is there really any way to live on a cruise ship purely as a passenger? Well, the most obvious way is if you were a multi-million pound lottery winner who, decided that rather than treat themselves to a world cruise and a luxury home, you just opted for the world cruise…then another…and another. Admittedly though, we’re back into the realms of near fantasy here, but surely there’s another way?

Let’s assume for a moment you’ve worked hard all your life, have built up a good amount of savings and have a good home to sell and are ready to retire to that holiday home abroad. What if that holiday home was in fact a cruise ship? You could live out your retirement on the ocean wave, living out your days enjoying the cruising lifestyle you’ve always loved. The good news for you is that there are companies such as Cruise Retirement out there who offer just this service. Or perhaps even later in life, rather than heading off to the retirement home, you could do what British widower Beatrice Miller did? Following the death of her husband, Beatrice lived out her days sailing the world on-board Cunard’s legendary Queen Elizabeth II thanks to greatly reduced prices due to her from loyalty bonuses from five different world cruises.

Better get saving up those loyalty points!

By Simon Brotherton

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Jenni Fielding
Jenni has been working in the travel industry for over 10 years. She fell in love with cruising on her first-ever cruise, a Caribbean cruise on Allure of the Seas, during her honeymoon in 2013. Nowadays, Jenni enjoys cruising with her husband and two young children. Her favourite ships are family-friendly megaships which are packed with exciting facilities. She loves sea days and had been known to skip port visits to spend more time on the ship!

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