Recognizing the potential expenses associated with retirement homes, an elderly Australian couple, Marty and Jess Ansen, opted for an alternative approach to retirement living. Having enjoyed cruises for many years, the couple decided to make cruising their full-time living arrangement.

This realization dawned on them in June 2022, leading them to embark on a lifestyle that involves continuous cruising, providing them with a unique and cost-effective retirement experience. Their story showcases an unconventional but fulfilling choice for retirees seeking adventure and financial efficiency.

Marty and Jess onboard with the Coral Princess.

Initially, the Ansens aimed to rekindle their love for cruising after enduring a two-year hiatus due to Covid lockdowns. However, upon realizing that the cost of cruising was more economical than residing in a retirement home, they swiftly decided to embrace a unique lifestyle. The couple promptly booked an impressive 51 back-to-back cruises with Princess Cruises.

Cruises are often chosen for their affordability in exploring various destinations, but the Ansens have experienced even more benefits during their extensive journey aboard the Coral Princess, spanning 500 days. Their story highlights the unexpected advantages of choosing continuous cruising as a retirement alternative.

A swimming pool on a cruise ship.

In addition to the financial savings, the Ansens discovered that cruising offered a convenient and carefree lifestyle. The absence of household chores and the availability of quality meals on board were significant advantages.

Marty humorously mentioned that they have become unfamiliar with tasks like washing up or making a bed since they haven’t had to do them for an extended period, playfully stating that staying on board is now a necessity for their survival. The couple also engages in various enjoyable activities during their cruises, including hula dancing and ballroom dancing.

Jess emphasized that cruising has become a lifestyle for them, offering a unique combination of dinner, shows, and dancing, along with a variety of activities throughout the day. Their daily routine even includes playing table tennis for an hour at 5:30 in the morning, showcasing the diverse range of entertainment and leisure options available on a cruise ship.

Marty and Jess having a drink while on cruise.

The couple’s extended stay on the Coral Princess has led to them becoming well-known figures on board, earning them a celebrity status among both passengers and the ship’s crew.

Their unique lifestyle and continuous presence have created a close bond with the staff, with the ship’s hotel manager describing them as “like seeing my mom and dad on board” and emphasizing the familial connection that has developed.

Marty and Jess with the ship's captain

Embarking on their 51 back-to-back cruises has allowed the couple to not only explore various destinations but also forge connections with fellow cruisers, creating lasting memories and forming lifelong friendships. Marty expressed that cruising provided the ideal solution, enabling them to see the world, meet diverse people, and savor the joys of a wonderful life.

While the couple acknowledges that bidding farewell to friends they meet during their voyages is a drawback, they emphasize that they are in a stage of life where they prioritize enjoying themselves. Their family, although busy, remains in touch through talks and emails.

Marty and Jess booked 51 back-to-back cruises with Princess Cruises

The Ansens, who don’t capture many photos of their cruise experiences, express that the memories are ingrained in their minds. Cruising has provided them with a positive outlook on retirement, and Marty expresses that he would continue this lifestyle indefinitely.

They are not alone in choosing cruise living over a retirement home; another retired couple, Nancy and Robert Houchens, have also embraced a simplified and tranquil life on a cruise ship after downsizing their belongings.

Marty and Jess enjoying the beautiful view from their cruise ship.

The Houchens, who have surpassed 1,000 days on board, are relishing the diverse and exciting activities offered on the cruise, mirroring the experiences of the Ansens.