The Shocking Reasons Why Retirees Choose to Live on Cruise Ships

Mario Salcedo has been living on cruise ships full time for the past 20 years. Think his situation is rare? Think again.

More and more, retirees or even remote employees who can do their work from anywhere are looking at long-term cruises as an alternative to paying for pricey mortgages on dry land. And who wouldn’t want to live life on a permanent vacation?

Mr. Salcedo, or “Super Mario” as the cruise ship employees call him, has set sail on an estimated 950 cruises, logging more than 7,000 hours of cruise days at sea. Unlike some other full-time cruise residents, he does actually work while aboard the ship. Salcedo successfully runs an online investment management firm for a few hours every morning and participates in onboard entertainment like shows and scuba diving in the afternoons.

Salcedo has a permanent condo in Miami but doesn’t usually stay there for longer than a week while his ship, Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas, is in port. “I live life in reverse,” he told The New York Times. “I have one week that I call my week off, or my vacation week if you want to call it that.”

If you’ve been considering what to do after retirement and the thought of playing endless rounds of bingo in a nursing home just doesn’t sound appealing, read on to discover why boomers are choosing the cruise life — for good.

1. Some people claim cruising is cheaper

Senior Couple on a Cruise Vacation

It’s hard to say whether it’s actually cheaper. | Yobro10/iStock/Getty Images

This is the most hotly debated aspect of permanent cruising.

Fans of the cruise life did some quick calculations and determined that cruising for 52 weeks per year was, in fact, cheaper than forking over gigantic fees for assisted living facilities and that cruises actually offered more amenities than the alternative. However, Snopes debunked this theory, claiming that the math didn’t take into consideration details such as travel agent fees, hidden costs, and inflation over the years.

Cruising for most of the year definitely isn’t cheap. Mario Salcedo, who spends most of the 52 weeks per year at sea, drops around $70,000 annually to maintain his cruise-centric lifestyle. Meanwhile, annual fees for assisted living facilities range from $36,000 to $72,000 depending on location.

Cruising won’t save you much money — but it will get you a lot of benefits that are worth more than cash in hand.

Next: Cruise ships welcome retired people with open arms.

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