A Maritime Attorney Explains the Latest Trend: Retiring At Sea

Senior Couple On Shore Looking at Cruise ShipWhen most people think of a cruise vacation, they imagine a fun, summertime adventure. The majority of cruisers go away for anywhere from 4-14 days, as work vacation time and school schedules allow. These days are usually jam-packed full of adventure and excitement, since the trip is brief and the daily grind is not too far away.

However, recent trends indicate that the idea of a cruise ship being only a vacation option, may be changing, especially for the 65+ crowd.

In the past few years, cruise ships have become increasingly popular with individuals entering the later stages of life; so much so that the term “snowbirding,” previously reserved for retirees relocating to warmer locales like Florida or California, is now being used in relation to cruise ships. And when you look at the numbers, it may make financial sense.

Depending on an individual’s home city and financial situation, it may in fact be cheaper to retire aboard a cruise–considerably downsizing to a smaller apartment or selling all land-based living quarters entirely.

Oceana’s Executive Director of Marketing, James Rodriquez, says that they are specifically designing the cruise ships to feel like home. And with the Journal of American Geriatrics Society’s study which revealed that “cruises were priced similarly to assisted living centers and were more efficacious,” when considered over a 20-year span, there seem to be more and more reasons to retire at sea.

So, what do the numbers really look like? While prices vary by cruise line, we can offer a few examples. On Princess Cruises, it costs $135 per day with long-term and senior discounts. This cost does not include medical care or excursions. By comparison, LongtermCare.Gov lists the average cost of a private room in a nursing home as $229 a day. Add to this the fact that a cruise allows you to see the world, while an assisted living facility will keep you relatively stationary, and it’s clear that the benefits of retiring at sea are many.

A Long-Term Impact on the Industry

As a maritime law firm, we feel that this is an important trend to watch. We agree that a life on the ocean can make for a relaxing way to spend your later years. However, it’s not all fun and games on cruise ships. Having a serious health issue unfold on the water is never as convenient as having it unfold on land. Given the fact that you may be miles away from home or even across the world, it’s important to make sure you’re in good physical condition and are prepared for even the most unexpected events to strike.

Similarly, we expect that cruise lines will need to be more vigilant about maintaining accommodations that are both safe and useful for an aging cruise crowd. This could impact everything from signage to bathroom amenities. And while these changes may not happen immediately, we should see them over time, especially on cruises that are updating their marketing to reach this specific demographic.

No matter your age, accident and injury can happen to you. Our firm has handled a variety of cases against most major cruise lines, and a maritime attorney on our team is prepared to fight on your behalf. So if you have questions about your legal situation and are ready to take the next step, do not hesitate to contact us.