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cruising

A ship crusing beautiful blue waters

Living permanently on a cruise ship seems like a dream of the uber-wealthy. You spend your days lounging on the deck by the pool or touring an exotic location. Nights are spent dancing in the nightclub or enjoying live entertainment.

You no longer have to worry about traffic, cooking or laundry. Your life has become all-inclusive as long as you’re on board.

At Upworthy, we’ve shared the stories of a handful of people who’ve been able to spend their lives on a permanent cruise because they’ve figured out how to do so affordably. Or, at least, at about the same cost of living on land.

Insider recently featured the fantastic story of Ryan Gutridge, who spends about 300 nights a year living on Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas. He only leaves the ship for a few weeks a year during the holidays.


Gutridge works in IT as an engineer for a cloud solution provider and can do his full-time job right from the ship. “I do meetings in the morning and afternoons, but I can also go to lunch and socialize or meet people at the gym,” he tells Insider. “I've even met people that I stay in contact with and that have come back and cruised on this ship with me multiple times since.”

Gutridge says that living and working on a cruise ship has improved his mental health. “Working from home was isolating. I don't have kids or pets, so it's easy to become somewhat introverted, but cruising has really helped and made me a lot more social,” he says.

So, how does he afford life on a permanent vacation?

“I have a spreadsheet that automatically records all my expenses, which helps. I also set a budget every year,” he says. “This year, my base fare budget is about $30,000, and last year when I started really looking at the numbers and evaluating how much base fare I paid to be on a ship for 300 nights, I found it was almost neck-and-neck with what I paid for rent and trash service for an apartment in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.”

Currently, the average price for a one-bedroom apartment in Fort Lauderdale is $2,088 which would cost Gutridge about $25,000 a year.

Gutridge believes that the key to living on the ship affordably is loyalty programs. He’s actually spending less in 2023 than he did in 2022, even though he’s spent more time cruising.

“Now, because I cruise so often with Royal Caribbean, I've moved up in its loyalty program. My drinks and internet are free. If people are going to do something like what I do, I recommend trying different brands because they all offer something different. But once you commit to one, you should stick to it so you reach those loyalty levels,” he says.

When he’s not on the ship, he makes doctor and dentist appointments and spends time with his friends. Then, it's back on the high seas, where he has a routine. Monday through Friday, he works, eats healthy, and goes to the gym. On the weekends he'll let loose and have a few drinks.

If the ship arrives at a location he enjoys, he’ll take a PTO day from work and go sightseeing.

Eventually, Gutridge wants to get rid of his apartment and sell his car, so his primary residence is a Royal Caribbean ship. “I have a strong relationship with the crew on this ship,” he says. “It's become a big family, and I don't want to rebuild those relationships on another ship — I joke that I have 1,300 roommates.”


This article originally appeared on 9.1.23