5 Questions to Consider for Residential Cruise Living

You’ve been hearing about the growing popularity of living on Residential Cruising ships, and are curious to learn what others are thinking and acting on. Bravo for doing your homework! This is just one more bit of information for you to consume and consider: logistics. Let’s dive right in.

1. What Are You Doing with Your Land-based Home?

Do you have an apartment to end a lease on, or a house to sell? Are you planning to keep your home “in case it doesn’t work out”? What are you doing with all your stuff?

In our case, we decided to sell everything we own. We want to simplify life and unloading possessions is one great start — for us.

Divesting our possessions is a big task. With all of our hobbies, education, and jobs, we’ve accumulated a bunch of supplies and equipment through the years. And after having owned our own houses for decades, we have quite a collection of furniture and belongings to run a home. And now it all needs to go.

Photo: Todd Kent via Unsplash

The thrift stores are getting lots of the first layers of divesting. The recycle center is getting the papers we’ve kept and don’t need (scanning the important documents before disposing of them). Fortunately, our community had an electronic recycling day recently so we cleared all the old electronics out too.

My approach to decluttering/divesting is to open a cabinet, for example. If my heart sags at the thought of losing those things, I close the cabinet and move on. Sometimes I can remove a few items without any resistance. And after I’ve gone through the entire house that way, I start again. Interestingly, it gets easier and easier to get rid of things. Now that I know everything must go, it’s gotten really easy to get rid of the things we aren’t using.

The plan to have an estate liquidation sale is slowly dissolving. It’s feeling too daunting to wait to the end and sell everything the new owners don’t want. Sure, we’d love it if the buyer wanted our furniture, but we can’t count on that. So, Craigslist, NextDoor, and Facebook Marketplace are getting used. And slowly, everything is going away.

We are even holding mini garage sales to move things along — tables and chairs, desks, music and movies, and even an old drone. What makes them “mini”? Rather than trying to get everything set up in the garage, we’re putting “like types” of things into a shed, such as tools, housewares, jackets, and then having a two hour sale where we advertise what that week’s categories are, emphasizing the hot categories (such as tools).

What thoughts do you have on how to divest your life of your possessions — all but what you will use at your new home, the residential cruise ship? Will you get rid of it all or keep a storage shed with treasures you may want if the move doesn’t suit your style?

2. Do You Need Special Health Insurance?

How can you augment what you have so you have for the best and most flexible coverage? Can you slip into the medical system of the country you are visiting when a medical need arises? Do you need to be airlifted back to the States? Can the ship’s doctor(s) deal with your medical issue?

In our case, we need to augment our insurance since we are on Medicare, which is intended for people who live in the U.S. We are researching long-term Travel Insurance to safeguard ourselves, and “evacuation” insurance in case we need to go stateside to receive medical care. We may find an insurance policy that will cover some medical costs in different parts of the world. We won’t and can’t count on the ship’s doctor to tend to us.

With our interest in health and vibrancy we don’t really intend to get sick, but stuff happens. We want to avoid being a burden on anyone. We make long-life decisions for our lifestyle (eating, sleeping, and movement), and have a good health/travel insurance in place.

3. Is Your Plan to Retire, or Continue Working?

If retirement is the goal, will that be full or partial retirement? How will you fill your time and keep yourself occupied and engaged?

As a Longevity Coach, I recognize the value of staying engaged. It’s important to me that I stay active mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. And that active state is best done with variety.

We want to slow down from our present schedules without unplugging completely. A mere 40-hour work week would be lovely! We are still full of enthusiasm and creativity for our work projects and feel that a slower pace would actually improve both of those aspects of work.

We’ll have time for hobbies and exercise programs, more reading and movies, and even more socializing with a slower pace of life. All of those activities are examples of things that will keep our brains sharp. Without work, we feel that our brains might go static, something neither of us wants.

4. What Type Cabin Do You Need (Or Get along In)?

There are options of interior, ocean view, veranda, and suite, usually increasing in size (and cost) as you travel up that list.

You may not plan to spend much time in your cabin, which will have a TV that looks like a window with a view to the outside. Instead, you might plan to be on deck and participating in the various activities, and thus may be fine with an interior cabin. You’ll save a lot of money, too.

Ocean View cabins have a “portal” or window that lets you see what’s going on outside your cabin. As with all the cabins, you have an option of a Twin or Queen (and sometimes King) bed arrangement. Many cabins also have a sofa/sitting room space, though that varies by ship and cruise line. These cabins are the next level up in pricing.

Veranda cabins are the same size, roughly, as the previous two cabin types plus a small veranda with a table and chairs. In my mind, it’s like having a second room. Since my husband and I tend to keep different bed times by a few hours, I see this as being a bonus for us. I can do my morning activities of meditation, reading, and tea there while he sleeps. And he can do his reading and contemplating on the veranda at night while I sleep. And we both can enjoy afternoon chats, coffee, and time together in that space. You’ll see prices go higher for this style of cabin, which seems reasonable.

Suites are the most expensive cabin onboard. They range in size and arrangement according to the ship’s designer. I’ve even read about 2 to 4 bedroom suites. They often have living rooms and sitting rooms. And you can bet they have verandas …and high price tags.

5. Do You Need to Get Mail and Packages?

Check with the cruise line about how that is accommodated. I haven’t checked this out personally — yet — but you can be sure it’s a big question for us.

Sure, with shipboard Internet you can get email, and even do video calls. But most will be interested in getting some physical mail from home so the ship/cruise line must have a solid plan for making that happen. Packages are undoubtedly handled the same way as the mail. But check.

And be sure you know the ship’s rules for what you can have onboard and in your cabin. It would be a shame to have a package confiscated because you didn’t know the rules.

There are many logistics to research and process. We’ll be sharing our results as we go. Stay tuned!

Last Updated July 22, 2023
Originally Published June 11, 2023

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