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Old February 19th, 2007, 10:40 AM
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Default Retiring Onboard? Possible?

I know there have been threads about people who live onboard cruise ships. But most of those people are VERY well-to-do.

What I'm wondering is if it would be possible to move onto a cruise ship in one's old age, and take up residence at a reasonable price?

For starters, I think you'd need to buy and refurbish an older ship for this purpose. The whole ship would be occupied by retirees seeking this lifestyle.

Also, I would imagine there wouldn't be very many port days ... certainly not as many as we come to expect on a "traditional" cruise. To keep costs down perhaps the ship could remain at sea for longer periods, basically drifting along so as not to use too much excess fuel. Perhaps "ports" could be less popular places where the docking charges would not be too high.

These are just some ideas.

Do you have any thoughts as to how to make this lifestyle feasible for the "average bear?"

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--rita
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Old February 19th, 2007, 10:50 AM
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My dream retirement. Certain studies have shown that the monthly cost of living on a cruise ship can be less than the cost of living in a nursing home for a month. For those that are still capable this would be a good alternative. They would have their meals, room cleaning and even the infirmary availabe at all times.

However, getting medicare to cover a portion of your cruise the way they do your nursing home stay might be a bit of a reach.
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Old February 19th, 2007, 10:55 AM
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I have been researching an article on Condo cruise ships, there are currently two new ones being built, and a third which is an older ship that is being purchased for renewal (but this out fit sounds a little shaky).

It is not cheap, and the medical care is not included, but it could be done.

BTW: the famoud ship reitree ever, Rosemary Roberts, is a legend in the industry. She lived on Royal Viking ships for several (four or five) years.

I knew her, she was on one of my ships. She acted like one of the crew, not a passenger. She would sit in the main lounge/sun room (kind of like the old Westerdam's Queen Anne's room) and knit all day. When waiters would set up the buffets she would tell them when they had the placements wrong.
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Old February 19th, 2007, 12:00 PM
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Retiring at sea certainly has a nice ring to it. One would have to be in reasonably good health, though. HAL has had a few. I met one, known as Mama Lou, onboard the Zaandam a few years ago. She was a very charming lady, and told a poignant story of how she ended up there. I believe she'd be onboard for abour 4 years at that time (except for drydock times.)

I think "wattering down" ports and such could save money, but visiting ports is a big part of the cruise discovery experience. That being said, I'd imagine those who live onboard really don't care after a while. They've "been there, done that" enough that ports wouldn't matter.
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Old February 19th, 2007, 12:26 PM
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That's right, the retirees never get off the ship, and I understand that, especially if you are going to places like the caribbean where you have already seen the ports a dozen times.

You have to retire on a shio that goes places. That is why the condo cruise ships are so popular.
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Old February 19th, 2007, 08:19 PM
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Jim, isn't Mama Lou great. She and I traded some "crew" uniforms on our last cruise. Dolly is another with over 5k day on board a HAL ship. Isn't it amazing!
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Old February 19th, 2007, 08:24 PM
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Yes, it IS amazing! I've never met Dolly, but I've heard lots about her.
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Old February 20th, 2007, 02:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Motter
That's right, the retirees never get off the ship, and I understand that, especially if you are going to places like the caribbean where you have already seen the ports a dozen times.

You have to retire on a shio that goes places. That is why the condo cruise ships are so popular.
True, but I would imagine in order to make this truly affordable, the ship would have to be "selective" in the places it went ... especially since, as you say, the retirees will probably rarely bother to get off. For them, the lure would be shipboard livnig in their retirement years, not necessarily traveling for the purpose of seeing the world.

The situation I envision here would be one where people live pretty much as they would at any decent land-based retirement community, and the prices would have to reflect that. Many land-based communities start out with an "entry fee" that is refundable when the resident leaves. Our hypothetical ship would work the same way. You would buy your accommodations onboard, and the price for each "unit" would be the same whether one or two people were living in that unit. To keep prices comparable to a land-based resort, I see each unit being smaller than a standard apartment ... perhaps about the same size as cabins on most older ships are now ... with, the larger prices accruing for the suites and larger cabins. A resident would buy his unit upfront. If he tired of shipboard living, then he could sell it through the ship management company, with them, of course, taking a standard commission out of the proceeds of the sale.

I see the standard cabin going for about $300,000. Units could cost up to a million, and maybe even more, if you wanted something on the order of a suite.

Then, you would have your monthly "maintenance costs." These would also be similar to what you would pay on land, though a bit higher since meals would be included. I see these running from approximately $2,000 to $2,500 per month for the smaller units ... a bit more (though not much) for the larger units.

As for ship ammenities ... again, to make this affordable, we would have an older ship ... something the mass market lines wouldn't be interested in owning. It certainly wouldn't have the ammenities of a traditional cruise ship ... no casino, only a few bars and lounges, and a few eating venues. Of course, you could have a specialty restaurant or two, which would incur an extra charge, and then your standard dining room and buffet.

Activities would be similar to what you would get in a 55+ community or retirement village ... daily BINGO, though not on the scale practiced by the larger cruise lines. Cards would be far cheaper ... a few dollars each ... and the prizes too would be scaled down. Many activities conducted on traditional cruise lines would be resident-driven here ... though there would be a "cruise director" to help move things along ... such as a Lifestyle Coordinator in a retirement village. Bridge players would have a place to meet and someone to help them get acquainted if necessary. There would be no paid bridge instructors; rather the more experienced players would nurse along the newbies. There would be card games, pool games, etc. ... but, again, the residents themselves would run these with the help of a cruise director.

Meals would be open seating ... more simple than on a cruise ship. The dining room, of course, would not be as elaborate as many on cruise ships, but it would be functional ... a fun and comfortable place for all to gather. Only dinner would be served there. All other meals would be offered in the buffet. Food choices would be more limited than on a cruise ship, with maybe a choice of three entrees each night.

Of course, anyone living in this floating retirement community would have to be in reasonably good health with no major ongoing physical problems. The ship would not be equipped to accommodate persons with major heart conditions or diseases requiring regular treatment.

These are just a few of my ideas. I'm sure many of you have far more. But, I honestly think a ship like this would "float," and be affordable for a great majority of the population that wanted to take advantage of it. Yes, I am aware that there are currently floating condo communities with more on the drawing board. But those ships are for the truly weathy and not within reach of the "average" upper middle income type of retiree.

So, let's come up with our ideal floating village. Throw out some ideas that we can all mull over.

Blue skies ...

--rita
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Old February 20th, 2007, 09:15 PM
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Instead of selling units, what about running them like a land-based apartment rental? Each cabin has a one-year lease, cost based on size of the cabin, and the price would include everything a cruise normally includes. The rental for a standard cabin could be, for example, $50,000 per year for double occupancy, and $40,000 for single, the difference being mainly cost of feeding one person as opposed to two, less water use for showers, etc. Toward the end of the year, the occupants would be asked to decide whether they wanted to renew for a year. If not, the cabin would be offered for rent on the open market (or more likely to a looooong waiting list).

I would also do away with bar service, allowing people to provide their own alcohol, and congregate with others in the lounges. Simple entertainment would be nice, if it could be factored into the cost, perhaps a piano player and a string quartet?

What do you think?

Bonnie
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Old February 21st, 2007, 11:15 PM
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Ok Rita- 2 thoughts.....

I think it possible if you got yourself to Florida that you could go ship to ship at last minute bargain basement prices with occasioanl days, between sails, spent in the PI-OH-MI Motel.

The other concept is that old cruise ships could be turned into inexpensive and potentially subsidized senior housing, similar to what what done to accommodate displaced persons, after Katrina.

I may check into either option after blowing big bucks on a world cruise and of course the necessary wardrobe, to join me
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 06:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hammybee
I think it possible if you got yourself to Florida that you could go ship to ship at last minute bargain basement prices with occasioanl days, between sails, spent in the PI-OH-MI Motel.
Problem is, though, that retirees generally want someplace to "hang their hat," and having to schlepp around the pier trying to find shipboard accommodations for a week or two at a time aren't gonna appeal to them. In essence, they have no "home," and that's not gonna go over well.

I see maybe cruise lines "selling" cabins for a year at a time ... at reduced prices, but then those prices are gonna reflect where that particular ship happens to be going.

Another poster mentioned the bar service thing ... good point about BYOB ... but then the ship management doesn't have a potential revenue generator. I see certainly that residents would be allowed to bring their own liquor onboard for consumption in their suite, but I would still have a few lounges onboard (no entertainment necessarily) in order for retirees to congregate in the evenings (these bars would have far more limited hours than on a conventional cruise ship) and socialize with their fellow passengers. I would also have a few onboard stores ... again with limited hours and a limited amount of merchandise ... perhaps a sundry store and maybe another store that sold apparel, but certainly not the high priced jewelry shoppes we are accustomed to seeing. For those items, guest vendors could be brought onboard in certain ports ... to offer gemstones and jewelry for sale to those who wanted them.

Now we have to figure out entertainment. Does our ship have shows at night ... other than movies? Remember, entertainers have to be housed on our ship and that housing will be at the expense of units that can be sold or rented.

Ummmmm, maybe we should start putting out feelers to see if any cruiseline has an older ship they want to sell for this purpose. We might be onto something here.

Keep those ideas coming. I'm not getting any younger, you know ...

Blue skies ...

--rita
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 11:03 PM
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Rita, we are talking about us, a whole new breed of retirees coming of age in the next 5-20 years. Many of us will blow our wad on a World sail or two and then reality will set in. We keep our primary residences and sail all winter. There will be vans running up and down Rt 41 schleping us from port to port ,to yet another el cheapo adventure at sea.
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Old February 24th, 2007, 05:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hammybee
Rita, we are talking about us, a whole new breed of retirees coming of age in the next 5-20 years. Many of us will blow our wad on a World sail or two and then reality will set in. We keep our primary residences and sail all winter. There will be vans running up and down Rt 41 schleping us from port to port ,to yet another el cheapo adventure at sea.
I don't know ...

The way the stock market has been behaving as of late ... we could have a whole larger wad to play with than we once thought. At least I hope so.

But yeah ... I could see that fleet of paratransit vans going up and down the dock ... dropping off people and their luggage (and walkers and wheelchairs and scooters) at the different ships for yet another sailing.

I guess I just prefer having a condo onboard. I'm a "nesting" sort of person and I prefer to have digs that I can call my own. A different ship every few weeks doesn't give me that.

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--rita
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Old February 24th, 2007, 08:00 PM
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I was thinking that perhaps, one could just pay for a months worth or more and "maybe" catch a price break. Maybe $3000.00 each month? And hang your hat on a big company ship.
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Old February 24th, 2007, 11:48 PM
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Default Retiring on a cruise ship

Hey, I have an idea....how about having volunteers on the ship like they have in hospitals, you know, like the Gray Ladies / Gents that could live on the cruiseships for a nominal fee in exchange for volunteering their time. They could sit at a desk on each deck outside the elevators and give the passengers directions and answer questions, etc. I'm sure there would be myriad of jobs that could be done this way. I would be the first in line to volunteer for this job!
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Old February 26th, 2007, 05:40 AM
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Default Re: Retiring on a cruise ship

Quote:
Originally Posted by deb61
Hey, I have an idea....how about having volunteers on the ship like they have in hospitals
Now you might be onto something there. What a great way to lower costs! Every ablebodied resident would have to volunteer as a condition of their passage. They could do all sorts of things ... and their efforts would go to keep the number of hired staff down ... and thus the cruise fares lower. Each passenger would only have to volunteer a few hours a week, but the work they do would go a long way in making the experience better for their fellow passengers, as well as allowing the volunteers to still feel vital and useful.

I like that idea a lot ... a whole lot.

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Old February 26th, 2007, 09:23 AM
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I like the idea of volunteers, although I doubt passengers who live on the ship would be needing directions I can, however see a nice lending library, lectures by residents about their interesting lives or hobbies. Those who have specialities ie dance etc, could have classes. I could see where it would be great fun!

Where exactly do I go to buy some stock in this project Rita? I'm in!
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Old February 26th, 2007, 12:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crusin' fool
I like the idea of volunteers, although I doubt passengers who live on the ship would be needing directions

Have you ever heard of Alzheimer's or Senile Dementia?
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Old February 26th, 2007, 03:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deb61
Have you ever heard of Alzheimer's or Senile Dementia?
Sure. I think so. What were you asking?
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Old February 26th, 2007, 04:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhannah
Quote:
Originally Posted by deb61
Have you ever heard of Alzheimer's or Senile Dementia?
Sure. I think so. What were you asking?

Um.....I forgot
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