cruise ship
Leah Berenson
Leah Berenson
February 23, 2024 ·  4 min read

Retired Couple Spent Almost 500 Days On Cruise Ships As It’s Cheaper Than Retirement Home

For many, the notion of traveling after retirement is a luxury and a dream. However, many elderly couples are living that dream. One in particular, has been living on a cruise ship because it’s seemingly less expensive than alternative methods of housing.

Living on a Cruise Ship is Cost Effective

In today’s economy, post pandemic and in light of inflation, many families are struggling. They’re struggling to afford to pay the rising cost of renting or owning a home. As a result, people are getting creative. Many have chosen tiny homes or shipping crates on a piece of property. Others have purchased vans or trucks, turning the back into a living space. Meanwhile, one retired couple has spent more than 500 days living on a cruise ship.

This is an extraordinarily unique market because of the pandemic and because there was such a run on housing so you have home prices very high, you also have rent prices very high,” explained Diana Olick, a senior climate and real estate correspondent.

With that in mind, Jess and Marty Ansen have found the adventure of a lifetime. At a more affordable rate than traditional housing as well. In June of 2022, the sea-loving couple boarded a Coral Princess cruise ship, and have been thoroughly enjoying their voyages since. “Look, whatever comes, book it.” Marty said of his enviable life choices.

The pair has been living, while traveling, at a more affordable rate than a retirement home. Furthermore, their quality of life is more enriched and the adventures are endless. The pair has been on more than 50 consecutive cruises. They’ve found a number of added benefits to living on a cruise ship. Some examples include access to fine dining and housekeeping services as well as an array of activities such as ballroom dancing and games to help them keep up an active lifestyle. “Now, we don’t have to wash up anymore, or make the bed.” Said Jess jokingly.

Making New Friends

The couple has even shared that living on a cruise ship has introduced them to a number of personal connections they would otherwise not have at a traditional retirement home. They’ve gotten to know crew members and passengers alike. They’ve even become a “familiar fixture” according to the ship’s hotel manager, Ren van Rooyen.

Sad Realities of the Economy

By December of the same year that the Ansen’s began living on a cruise ship, things weren’t looking good for housing for the rest of the nation. Seemingly, over half a million people have lost their homes in the last year. Meaning that about 18 in 10,000 people are unable to make their rent or mortgage payment, as well as keep up with the rising cost of utilities and groceries. With money for things like travel or entertainment being incredibly rare among the average citizen. In fact, by the end of last year, it was actually more cost effective to rent a home than to buy one. Additionally, interest rates are at an all time high, adding even more financial weight to lives of many Americans.

Furthermore, it’s estimated that the numbers have jumped significantly since 2020. Sadly, there is no relief in sight which likely means that more and more families will continue to struggle in the coming years, if not coming decades.

Other Reasons for Living on a Cruise Ship

However, there are simple solutions such as living on a cruise ship after retirement. As the Ansen’s found, living on a cruise ship has been more affordable because, in most cases, meals and activities are included in the price with children sometimes being offered free dining. Moreover, the financial aspect isn’t the only benefit to living on a cruise ship. Another reason to aim for living on a cruise ship is the opportunity to see more. Cruises are a good option for families wanting to see multiple places all in one trip. As opposed to having to book hotels in different places or pack and unpack multiple times.

Another huge reason to consider living on a cruise ship is that many are family friendly so there’s plenty to keep each family member occupied while still giving families time to bond and create memories together. Additionally, there are a ton of options to personalize your trip, starting with size of ship and duration of trip. Some people may be hoping to have a shorter trip on a more private ship. Whereas, others may want the thrill of meeting new people, shopping, eating, and doing exciting activities all in one place.

Regardless, traveling is a highly prioritized fantasy for many people but the Ansen’s have found a way to take the dream one steep further. By living on a cruise ship, they’re exploring the world and saving money on the cost of living, something most people are always looking to do.


  1. How many homeless people are in the US? What does the data miss?USA Facts
  2. Rent or buy? Here’s how to make that decision in the current real estate market.CNBC Emily Lorsch. Apr 26 2023
  3. Top 10 Reasons to Cruise.Cruise Critic. Erica Silverstein. February 20, 2023.
  4. Retired couple spent almost 500 days on cruise ships as it’s cheaper than retirement home.Iheart Intelligence. Stan