Calling a Cruise Ship Home: See the World, Then See It Again

In total he spends almost all 52 weeks of the year at sea, at a cost of about $70,000 per year.

“I live life in reverse,” he said with a chuckle. “I have one week that I call my week off, or my vacation week if you want to call it that,” he said.

Though Mr. Salcedo’s lifestyle is unusual, it is not unique. Beatrice Muller, a native of New Jersey, lived aboard cruise ships from 2000 to 2009, including the Cunard Lines’ Queen Elizabeth 2, before she died in 2013 at age 94.

Lee Wachtstetter, a Floridian honoring her husband’s dying wish that she continue cruising after he died in 1997, has lived ever since aboard Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Serenity luxury cruise ship. The 88-year-old, known to passengers and crew as Mama Lee, lives in a private stateroom for which she pays an annual fee of $164,000. This includes all meals, gratuities, cleaning, nightly ballroom dancing and Broadway-style shows.

What these and other like-minded, somewhat adventurous older people have discovered is that for little more than the cost of retiring to an assisted-living facility, they can enjoy many of the same amenities — comfortable quarters; meals, social events and educational programs; and round-the-clock access to medical care — while exploring the exotic waters of the Caribbean, Asia, Central America and beyond.

Statistical analysis has backed up their strategies.

A 2004 study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society…

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