+
A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM UPWORTHY
We are a small, independent media company on a mission to share the best of humanity with the world.
If you think the work we do matters, pre-ordering a copy of our first book would make a huge difference in helping us succeed.
GOOD PEOPLE Book
upworthy

cruise ship retirement

Christine Kesteloo has one big problem living on a cruise ship.

A lot of folks would love to trade lives with Christine Kesteloo. Her husband is the Chief Engineer on a cruise ship, so she gets to live on the boat pretty much for free as the “wife on board.” For Christine, life is a lot like living on a permanent vacation.

“I live on a cruise ship for half the year with my husband, and it's often as glamorous as it sounds,” she told Insider. “After all, I don't cook, clean, make my bed, do laundry or pay for food.“

Living an all-inclusive lifestyle seems like paradise, but it has some drawbacks. Having access to all-you-can-eat food all day long can really have an effect on one’s waistline. Kesteloo admits that living on a cruise ship takes a lot of self-discipline because the temptation is always right under her nose.


“One of the hardest things about living on a cruise ship is that I know right now, if I just leave my cabin, I can go and have cookies, pizza, a shake, I could have anything I wanted, and I want it, I absolutely want it,” she said in a TikTok video that received over 400,000 views.

@dutchworld_americangirl

The hardest part about living on a cruise ship is that I am surrounded by free food all of the time anything I want I just had lunch but it’s 2 o’clock in my body tells me it’s either cookie time or time for a hamburger. The hardest part is telling myself not to eat. #hardestpart #cruiseship #livingatsea #koningsdam #weliveonacruiseship #cruisefoodie #foodtok #itsaproblem #halcruises #hollandamericaline

“I am laying here. It is 2 pm. I had a salad for lunch, I had some fresh fruit, but that didn’t fill me up,” she continued. “Right now, all I can think about is eating a burger with some French fries and some mayonnaise.”

“And that, folks, is the absolute hardest part about living on a cruise ship,” she said. “I am surrounded by food all the time.”

She added, "The hardest part is telling myself not to eat.”

Kesteloo’s trouble is a common problem among people on cruise ships. A study by Admiral Travel Insurance found that over 60% of people who go on a week-long cruise anticipate gaining weight. Seventeen percent of people say they gain 2 to 3 pounds on a cruise, while 14% say they gain 4 to 5 pounds.

Other estimates show that the average cruiser will put on 5 to 10 pounds on a weeklong cruise. Imagine living on a cruise ship for half the year, like Kesteloo. She could quickly put on 100 pounds a year if she's not careful.

"I’d be huge if I lived there. I would feel like I’m on a constant vacation, and who diets on vacation?" Theresa Gramelsapcker-Wilson wrote in the comments.

"This is my main reason why I couldn’t do this HHAHAHAHAHAA," Cara Mia added.

"I never thought about those who actually live on a cruise ship. I would be 500 pounds," Lucky Penny2468 said.

Kesteloo’s battle with temptation shows that in every life, a little rain must fall. Nobody ever truly has it perfect. Kesteloo seems to be living the perfect life on board a cruise ship, but she still has to fight temptation every moment of the day or make good use of the ship’s gym facilities. But, obviously, having access to too much food is far better than having too little.


This article originally appeared on 9.5.23

Joy

28-year-old buys cruise ship apartment because it's less than renting and he can see the world

An all-expenses-paid life for about $50,000 a year? Sounds like a deal.

A cruise ship floating on azure waters.

Living the rest of your life on a cruise ship seems like the dream of the ultra-rich. You wake up every morning and have an all-you-can-eat breakfast. Spend the afternoon hanging out by the pool or touring a fantastic city such as Rome or Dubrovnik.

At night, have a drink in the lounge watching a comedian or a jazz band, then hit the sack and do it all over again the next day. Seems too good to be true for the average person, right? Think again.

Twenty-eight-year-old Austin Wells of San Diego told CNBC that he can make it happen because it’s cheaper than living onshore in Southern California and he gets to see the world. “The thing that most excites me is I don’t have to upend my daily routine, in order to go see the world,” Wells told CNBC.



“I’m going from this model where you want to go somewhere, you pack a bag, you get on a flight, you rent a room, to now my condo, my gym, my doctors and dentists, all of my grocery stores travel the world with me,” he added.

Wells purchased an apartment on the MV Narrative, which is currently being built in Croatia and sets sail in 2025.

The rough math for Wells' dream makes perfect sense. He purchased a 12-year lease on the ship for $300,000. That comes to about $2,100 a month if he didn’t have to take out a loan. By comparison, most apartments in San Diego cost more than $2,100 per month in rent.

The ship charges an additional $2,100 a month for all-inclusive services, which include food, drinks, alcohol, gym membership, routine healthcare check-ups, onboard entertainment and laundry.

So, it could cost Wells as little as $4,200 a month to live an all-expenses-paid life. Plus, there’s no need to pay for a car or waste time shopping for groceries or traveling anywhere. It’s all on the ship.

Wells can work from the ship because his job with Meta is fully remote.

"What I'm probably most excited about is going to places that ships can only uniquely go,” he told CNBC, adding that cruise ships can travel to “unique ecological parts of the world or beautiful dive spots that are a few miles off land or caves to dive through and the ship will do a number of overnight stays in those areas."

Wells isn’t the only person who’s decided to live on a permanent vacation. Upworthy spoke with a couple in their 50s earlier this year who live on cruise ships because it’s cheaper than their mortgage.

Richard Burk and his wife, Angelyn, are living their best life hopping from ship to ship for around $100 a night, depending on the cruise. "Cruise costs vary quite a bit, our goal is to average about $100 per night, for the couple, or less across an entire calendar year," Richard told Upworthy.

The Burks keep the costs of cruising down through loyalty memberships. “We love to travel and we were searching for a way to continuously travel in our retirement that made financial sense,” Angelyn told 7 News.

People like Wells and the Burks may be outliers in society. They’ve chosen to give up the comforts of home for the comfort of living a life being catered to 24/7. While most of us probably won’t opt to make the big leap and live life out at the sea, their stories are a wonderful reminder that with a little creative thinking, we can create the perfect lives for ourselves whether on land or at sea.