Living on a cruise boat vs. retirement village – cost comparison

Living full time on a cruise boat cost comparison to living in a retirement village

Forget what you know about retirement. Have you ever been the type of person to do things simply “because that’s what everyone else was doing”? Or have you been more one to forge your own path? Well if you’ve always taken the path less travelled, then there is no reason to switch things up now. Or even if you’ve always lived life “by the rules” but want a change… Well, then this one is for you.

How about living your retirement out on a cruise boat?

A novel idea

When you’re a traveller at heart, love the open seas, but enjoy an easy life where others do the cooking and cleaning, then taking in your retirement on a cruise boat is a match made in heaven. While it might seem like a little bit of a ludicrous idea at first, this may not be the case…

The options

Cruise boats are appealing for not only their traveling lifestyle, but also because they come with included services, meals, facilities and entertainment. They are all-inclusive, save for your shore-based adventures. Depending on the cruises you take, you might find many more like-minded people – or none.

Retirement villages are community affairs, where other retired people come to live in rental homes. Tasks such as gardening and maintenance are looked over by the village owners. There may be facilities on site such as bowls, an entertainment center, or spa, as well as a calendar of activities to get involved in. There are generally care workers available should the need arise for assistance.

How much is it?

Generally, for a retirement village, you “buy in” to the village – even though you don’t actually own the property. Costs can range from around $100,000 to $600,000, depending on the house type, as well as the area, and you’ll need to pay maintenance fees on top of that at around $100 per week. While you will have a (hopefully) sizeable chunk of the money returned when you exit the village, you don’t get any of the benefits of home ownership. The exit fee to leave is generally around 30% of the sale price.

So, let’s say you and your partner have a $250,000 village home for 5 years. That will cost $75,000 plus $26,000 in maintenance all up, or $20,200 per year. You’ll still need to buy your own food and clean your own home too. Add around $200 for food shopping a week and that’s $30,600.

Let’s compare it to a cruise, now. If we go shopping around, we can find a cruise with Norwegian Cruise Lines, sailing for 13 days from Miami, for $499USD for the first guest and $249USD for the second guest. That works out to $1092NZD all up for the cruise – which if we extend that to the cost of a year will total $30,660NZD. That’s a grand total of 60 whole dollars more than we worked out it costs to live in a retirement village for a year!

The downsides

One of the downsides of living on cruise liners is that you will have to keep hunting those deals and disembarking/embarking unless you remain onboard the same ship as it cruises around. While there are always trained medical professionals on hand, you won’t have dedicated aged care specialists onboard if you find that you have specific ongoing medical conditions. And what holds others back? Not having friends and family around – although you’ll meet friends from all over the world and your family can always join you for a cruise!

While it sounds a little strange, living aboard cruise ships throughout your retirement might be a fun, different way to go about things, that may just work out to be the same price as living at home – but you’ll be living a life less ordinary.

If you are considering hitting the high seas, then make sure to do a detailed analysis of whether the costs will be affordable. Taking the time to conduct thorough research will ensure that you stay living with your means.