Life at sea is a wonderful thing, and yet it’s rare that anyone gets to experience it for more than a few weeks.
That’s all changing thanks to the emerging trend for residential cruising. So what’s the story behind this movement, and what price will you pay to get involved yourself?
Owning a piece of a cruise ship
The concept at play here is simple; you can get involved in residential cruising not by purchasing a ticket, but by actually taking ownership of a slice of the accommodation offered onboard the vessels that belong to certain operators.
To be clear this isn’t some timeshare-style scheme, but rather one that’s essentially identical to vacation home ownership on dry land. The space you buy is yours to use as you would any other property, meaning that it’s within your rights to live onboard indefinitely, sticking with the ship for years on end.
And while there’s an obvious appeal to this lifestyle for retirees, there are also residential cruise liners which cater to people who are still in full time employment, with families in tow. The rise of remote work has helped to catalyze this lifestyle further, and multi-bedroom apartments on ships are now commonplace, going above and beyond a more basic cabin in terms of scope and amenities.
As you’d expect, buying into a residential cruise scheme isn’t cheap, and full-blown ownership kicks off at around the $1 million mark and rises much higher if you’re looking for a larger floating apartment.
However, just like having a good credit card plan to follow, you can take out extended leases on cruise cabins for less. With a 12 or 24 year lease contract costing as little as $400,000, it could be a good retirement plan for anyone who doesn’t want to stay in one place as they enjoy their golden years.
Another point to make regarding the cost of residential cruising is that you’ll also need to account for the service charges that the ship’s owner levies against people who live onboard. These will typically be higher than what you’d expect to pay in a bricks and mortar apartment building, because of course it costs quite a bit to keep running year-round.
Then there are living costs for food, drink and excursions from the ship when it’s docked. Some arrangements will include these as part of the residents’ fees, while others will involve additional payments on top.
As you can see, doing your research into the different residential cruising packages and calculating how the costs will impact your own finances should you choose to commit to one makes sense.
Other factors to weigh up
One point we’ve not touched on yet is the fact that owning a cabin or apartment on a cruise liner does mean that you’re facing the fact that at some point in the future, the ship will reach the end of its usable life, at which point your share of it may essentially be rendered valueless.
This is unlikely to happen for many decades, of course, but if you’re hoping to pass this asset down to the next generations in your family, it won’t be as viable as a traditional vacation home.
Having said that, for the right people who are in love with the cruise lifestyle and never want it to end, there’s plenty to shout about when residential cruising is up for consideration.
If it makes financial sense to up sticks and shift your living situation over to a cruise ship, there’s never been an easier or more affordable time to achieve this.