Laying the Groundwork for Residential Cruising

My favorite reaction to telling someone that we are moving to a residential cruise ship is “No way! You are so bad ass!!” That reflects the excitement I feel when I think about the steps I’m taking to change our living situation.

Then the reality kicks in and I realize there are lots of details to attend to to get us from living in the 2,200 square-foot house we designed and had built in Colorado’s mountains to a 250ish square-foot cabin with veranda on a cruise ship that will circumnavigate the globe annually.

Decluttering the house started a year prior to the decision to move. The chaos was sucking my energy and creativity, so I set out to resolve the issue. What a relief it was to complete the project! I could feel my creativity and joy return as I made my way through the clutter.

Good thing I trained myself in successful decluttering for my needs. I’d learned that when I opened a cupboard, closet, or drawer to work on the contents that if my heart sagged, I’d close it, understanding I’d be back later. Usually the next time back I was ready to work it, even if just to take one or two layers out. Bags and boxes of unwanted and unneeded items were taken to the thrift stores and recycle center throughout the project. Those developed skills are coming in handy again.

Drone shot of Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas (top) and the MSC Seaside docked in Costa Maya, Mexico. (Photo: Brandon Nelson via Unsplash)

I do have a few friends who think I won’t be able to get rid of everything, which is our goal, and that we’ll end up having a storage shed. They don’t know me and our determination to be rid of everything but a few file bins of important papers. We intend to only own what we take to the ship, our new home.

Money access is another consideration. How can we deposit and withdraw funds from our various depositories? That’s actually a pretty easy consideration for us because we’ve had electronic deposit and access to accounts for shuffling money around. Our credit cards don’t charge international transaction fees, making purchases in other lands painless. The people we’ll hire to handle our mail will also make our deposits if we get checks that need handling.

I don’t know the answer yet to the question of “how do we get mail and packages?” that we do need to physically receive, but it’s on the list to get an answer to. We anticipate the ship will have arrangements all around the world for getting their supplies, and that we can use the same drop points. It’ll be interesting to discover how this works.

Is Expat status something we want for ourselves? Research will reveal that answer. Talking with our an attorney, our tax guy, and our investment counselor will be a big part of the research. Undoubtedly, they’ll have other people or resources for us to tap.

Medicare is designed for people who live in the United States, not for people who live abroad. We’ll definitely need to buy additional health insurance. I’ve already talked to my insurance agent and expect to talk to more people about this issue. The ship will have a doctor for some medical issues. The countries we will visit will most likely have doctors and hospitals to take care of some situations. And flying home to make use of Medicare will be another option. Travel insurance — including insurance for medical evacuation by private medical jet — will be part of the health care formula.

We have lots of family and friends we want to keep in touch with. Many have expressed a desire to come visit us. The ongoing research includes what arrangements the ships have for their residents. There’s also the possibility that when we dock in some cities or locations for longer periods that our friends and family can meet us there for a visit.

That’s not the same thing, but it is an interesting option. Given that residential cruise ships often stay in port for longer periods of time than holiday cruise ships this could be a great solution!

From my research to date I’ve learned that each ship has a different set of offerings for their residents. We are curious about getting massages and physical therapy onboard, haircuts, exercise classes, a kitchen to occasionally do our own cooking in, storage for our suitcases and trunks, formal dinners, lectures and entertainment, and much more. There are lots of details to understand about our new home-to-be.

One of the biggest and most vital questions is, how does a residential cruise ship cater to digital nomads? Do they have solid and at least reasonable fast Internet for us so we can continue our businesses? Is there office space we can use or rent as our own? What about printers and scanners for our use? We plan to keep working and staying connected to our land-based community, so this is a big bit of groundwork to lay and build on.

Moving to a residential cruise ship is a big change for us. It’s not a retirement plan in the traditional sense. We are going going to expand our engagement with the world, but also stay engaged with life, our businesses, and at least some of our hobbies.

Last Updated August 20, 2023
Originally Published May 29, 2023

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