Lot’s of elderly people enjoy cruises. Maybe it is the sunshine and the ocean, or the shuffleboard and music and alcoholic beverages, but for some reason you’ll always find a boatload of old people on board a cruise. But the real reason might surprise you: a cruise ship is often a more economical home than any retirement or nursing facility ever turns out to be. And it is WAY more fun. So why not?
A nursing home today usually costs around $170 a day in. In some states it may be $200 or more, depending on the level of care. A special cruise promotion (e.g., a four day special off California) will run $73.50 to $294 a day. You will want to add another $10 to $12 for gratuities. If you want more than a basic cabin, the per day charge will go up from there. That $73.50 will get a guest anytime dining, room service, a variety of dining venues, basic beverages, etc. If you like fancy meals, there are specialty restaurants for additional fees. Onboard activities, theatre, production and entertainer shows, movies, nightclubs, casinos, dancing, library, zumba, trivial pursuit, night parties. Hairdryer and bathroom sundries, refrigerator, tv, and fitness center are included as well. Accommodation upgrades (extra charges, of course) will get you laundry, phone, and internet service. This does not mean that there’s not self-service for laundry via “free” washers and dryers or for minimal coin operation charge.
Naturally economies of scale apply for any longer cruises. Could it be a new geriatric life style? Perhaps, but most of the time there is no consistent cabin for continued cruising, so guests are always moving from cabin to cabin during the “stay.”
Munching on complimentary cuisine, enjoying the swimming pools, and all the toiletries you could ever desire will never convert you from a customer to friend. Clean linens daily or a comfortable mattress have value, but they don’t replace real friends. It takes time to make friends, and with cruises, you have different people every week or even every day – that could be a difficult environment to make lasting friendships. Relationships, even cursory ones, require an investment of time and energy.
So, check out Carnival or Princess or Norwegian or any other cruise line if you’re an older person looking for an alternative to retirement housing. The cruise life is not a life-style for everyone, but maybe it could be yours if you’re in for the adventure.