Couple book 51 back-to-back cruises as it’s cheaper than living in retirement home

Retirement is often associated with relaxation, leisurely strolls along sandy beaches, and a newfound freedom from work obligations. But Marty and Jess Ansen have taken an entirely different approach to their golden years. This adventurous couple from Australia has deemed life at sea to be more cost-effective and enjoyable than residing in a traditional retirement home. In fact, they have spent the past year and a half living on cruise ships, embarking on an incredible 51 consecutive cruises.

The married duo have spent a year and a half cruising so far (Image: A Current Affair)

Their incredible journey began in June of last year when they stepped foot on the Coral Princess. Since then, they have filled their days with dancing, dining, forming lasting friendships, and exploring the world. Marty and Jess have become celebrities of sorts among their fellow passengers, with even short-term cruisers specifically requesting to meet the dynamic duo, whose inspiring story has captivated people back home for the past 455 days, as confirmed by manager Ren van Rooyen.

A Playful Twist on Traditional Cruise Life

Adding a playful twist to their nomadic existence, Marty and Jess humorously mention that they “welcome the captains onboard” instead of the other way around. This lightheartedness has endeared them to fellow cruisers and enhanced their reputation as beloved fixtures on the ship. Marty, in an interview with A Current Affair, shared a humorous remark about their prolonged time at sea, mentioning how they have grown so accustomed to the maritime lifestyle that they have forgotten how to make a bed or prepare a meal.

Their decision to adopt a full-time cruising lifestyle came about as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Feeling like they had missed out on several years of enjoyment due to the strict Australian lockdown, Marty and Jess made a conscious choice to spend their days on a perpetual holiday. “Eventually I said to my agent, ‘Look, whatever comes, book it,’ and that’s how it turned into such a lengthy cruise,” explained Marty. With all their meals included in the ticket price and daily chores taken care of by a dedicated team of onboard staff, the couple found this lifestyle to be more cost-effective than moving into a traditional retirement home.

The couple set off over a year ago and still has eight months at sea (Image: 9 NETWORK)

The Joy of Retirement at Sea

The Ansen’s aren’t the only ones opting for a life at sea in their retirement years. As retirement approaches, many seniors are redefining their golden years by choosing a different path from traditional retirement homes. The Ansen family is just one example of retirees who have opted for a life at sea, and they are far from alone. Let’s dive into the stories of some retirees who have embraced the cruise lifestyle over retirement homes.

1. Janet Blaser, 65, Mazatlán, Mexico Janet Blaser, a vibrant 65-year-old, has chosen to call a 2-bedroom apartment in Mazatlán, Mexico, her home in retirement. Unlike the conventional retirement home, Janet has discovered the joys of living in a coastal paradise. With the Pacific Ocean as her neighbor, she enjoys breathtaking sunsets, warm weather, and a vibrant local community. Janet’s decision to embrace this coastal lifestyle has not only improved her quality of life but also opened up exciting opportunities for new friendships and cultural experiences.

The author, Janet Blaser, in Mazatlán, Mexico.

Janet says, “Living by the sea has brought me tranquility and adventure. I’ve found a sense of belonging in Mazatlán, and every day feels like a vacation. I wouldn’t trade this for anything.”

2. Meredith Shay: A Thousand Days Aboard the MV Lara Meredith Shay, a former flight attendant, has chosen a truly extraordinary retirement journey. Instead of settling into a retirement home, she embarked on a 1,000-plus-day adventure aboard the MV Lara, a luxurious cruise ship. Meredith’s journey takes her to exotic destinations all over the world, from the bustling markets of Marrakech to the serene fjords of Norway.

Her decision to live aboard a cruise ship was driven by her love for travel and a desire to explore the world in her retirement. Meredith’s life on the MV Lara is filled with cultural immersion, gourmet dining, and the camaraderie of fellow passengers. It’s an unconventional choice, but one that perfectly suits her adventurous spirit.

I sold my house so I can go on a three-year luxury cruise around the world'  - Mirror Online

Meredith shares, “Retirement isn’t about slowing down; it’s about living life to the fullest. I’ve met incredible people, seen incredible places, and every day is an exciting new adventure.”

The Ansen family, Janet Blaser, and Meredith Shay are just a few examples of retirees who have chosen to eschew traditional retirement homes in favor of the cruise lifestyle. Their stories illustrate that retirement doesn’t have to be a sedentary chapter of life; it can be a time of exploration, adventure, and fulfillment. Whether it’s living by the sea or sailing the world’s oceans, these retirees have found their own unique paths to happiness in retirement.

Exploring Unconventional Paths: Unique and Intriguing Retirement Plans

Various unique and compelling retirement plans have emerged in recent years, catering to the evolving financial needs and lifestyles of retirees. These innovative approaches go beyond the traditional pension schemes and 401(k) plans, offering retirees a chance to explore exciting avenues for financial security and personal fulfillment.

One noteworthy retirement option gaining traction is the concept of “phased retirement.” This plan allows individuals to gradually transition into retirement by reducing their working hours and responsibilities rather than abruptly ending their careers. Phased retirement offers financial stability while also providing retirees the opportunity to pursue their passions, hobbies, or even start a second career. This approach helps retirees strike a balance between leisure and work, ensuring a smoother transition into their golden years.

Another intriguing retirement plan gaining popularity is the “geoarbitrage” strategy. This involves relocating to areas with a lower cost of living or favorable tax policies after retirement. By doing so, retirees can stretch their retirement savings further and enjoy a higher standard of living on a fixed income. Additionally, living in a new location can bring exciting cultural experiences and a fresh perspective on life.

Socially responsible investing, or “impact investing,” has also become a compelling retirement option. This approach involves aligning one’s investment portfolio with personal values by supporting companies and industries that prioritize environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors. Retirees can feel a sense of purpose by contributing to positive societal changes while potentially reaping financial rewards.

Lastly, the concept of “retirement co-living communities” is gaining traction. These communities provide retirees with a supportive and active environment where they can share resources and experiences. This not only reduces living expenses but also fosters a strong sense of community and social engagement, combating the isolation that some retirees may face.

Retirement planning has evolved beyond the conventional, offering retirees exciting and unconventional paths to financial security and personal fulfillment. These innovative approaches, such as phased retirement, geoarbitrage, impact investing, and retirement co-living communities, empower retirees to craft retirement plans tailored to their unique aspirations and circumstances. As the retirement landscape continues to change, individuals have more options than ever to ensure their golden years are truly golden.

What do You Think?

Opinions about their lifestyle choice are diverse. Some may admire their adventurous spirit and the unique sense of freedom that comes with it. Others may find it unconventional but intriguing, while some may hold reservations, perhaps concerned about the environmental impact of constant cruising or the practical challenges it entails.

Ultimately, the story of Marty and Jess Ansen serves as a reminder that retirement is a deeply personal journey, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Their choice exemplifies the beauty of diversity in retirement lifestyles and encourages us to embrace the multitude of paths available to us as we approach our golden years.


Meredith Shay is a retired flight attendant
Should I consider a phased retirement?

Leave a Comment