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living on a boat

Pop Culture

Woman who lives on a cruise ship for free shares the 4 things she can’t do

Living on a ship isn’t perfect. It’s just close to perfect.

A beautiful ocean liner

Upworthy has covered a few stories about people who decided to live permanently on cruise ships because it's cheaper than living on land or in a nursing home. These stories have connected with millions because they say a lot about the modern cost of living but are also aspirational.

Christine Kesteloo has become popular on TikTok with over 680,000 followers because she shares what living on a cruise ship is really like. Kesteloo is the wife of the ship’s Staff Chief Engineer, so she gets to live on the boat for free. She only has to pay for alcohol and soda, which she gets for half off.

“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.“

Kesteloo’s life seems pretty stress-free. After all, she's basically on a permanent vacation. However, even though she lives on a cruise ship as a “wife on board,” there are a few things she either can’t or shouldn’t do.

She shared these four things in a TikTok video with nearly 10 million views.


I go through four things I can, and cannot do it while living on the cruise ship with my husband #weliveonacruiseship #4things #alaskacruise #cruiseship #cruiseshiplife #cruise #alaska #caribbeancruise #cruiselife #livingstsea #getreadywithme

1. No gambling

Kesteloo says she cannot sit at a slot machine and “play my heart out until I win.” She believes it would “look a little weird if I, as the wife of the staff chief engineer, won a big jackpot.”

2. Can’t leave the ship with the guests

When the ship arrives at a destination, she can't get off with the guests. She must wait about an hour and exit the vessel with the crew. When returning to the ship, she also has to be on time. “No, they will not wait for us,” she says. And the same goes for her husband, if they “miss the ship, someone else will take over the role.”

3. Sit in a crowded pool

Although Kesteloo has access to the pool, gym, and all the ship’s amenities, she’s cautious not to interfere with the guests' good time. She’ll exit the pool if it’s busy because “it’s just the right thing to do.”

4. Must have international traveler insurance

She must have insurance in case of a misfortune on the ship. But as a citizen of the Netherlands, they already have coverage and just have to pay a few extra dollars a month.

Some of the most popular commenters on the video were from women regretting that they married men who aren’t chief engineers on cruise ships or those who want to know where to find a single one.

"OK, can you explain how to marry a cruise ship engineer?" one female commentator wrote.

"How. in. the. H E double hockey sticks do I become the wife of a cruise ship engineer???? I don’t have to work AND cruise for free!" Cute_n_catchy added.

"Does he have any single friends with same job??? Asking for me." Hannah LaCaze asked.