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Is a Cruise Ship Retirement Cheaper than Assisted Living?

Cruise Retirement V/s Assisted Living Retirement

“Cruise ship retirement is cheaper than assisted living”. This rumor has been in the air for a long time in Oklahoma, but the data on assisted living says differently.

Initially, planning retirement on a cruise ship was taken as a joke until several real people actually dove in and did it. USA Today covered the story of Lee Wachtsetter who sold her home after her husband died and made a cruise ship her new retirement home. Having lived for so long in a landlocked state, many Oklahomans might also think spending their golden years at sea sounds like a dream come true.

However, if we compare both land-based assisted living and cruise ship retirement we will find that assisted living is far and away cheaper, not to mention the better quality of service and the benefits of living close to loved ones. Of course, not all types of retirement homes in Oklahoma are equal, but on the whole, our experience tells us the connection to the land, to loved ones, and to a home community is essential.

Don’t you think it to be a little impractical to spend the rest of your life on a cruise?

This is one important question to consider when looking at unconventional senior living options. There may be limitations on how long a guest can stay aboard a single cruise. Moving from ship to ship may become burdensome. Also, guests cannot bring much more than will fit in a suitcase; no heirloom furniture, no treasured paintings, etc.

However, in a retirement home of Oklahoma, seniors get constant access to assisted living services in a home of their making. Residents can bring all their valued belongings and live with the peace of mind that they will never need to relocate them.

How well can a cruise ship staff provide assisted services and healthcare?

senior_doctorAssisted living homes on land hire qualified staff specifically to help residents carry out many daily activities such as bathing, using the restroom, dressing, grooming. They also provide food service and sometimes even offer life enrichment services like a beauty parlor, senior yoga, and entertainment. Cruise guests can see some great shows, get a fantastic workout with a personal trainer, and eat whatever they like whenever they like. However, the kinds of services seniors most require day to day simply cannot be asked of a cruise ship staff.

A much graver concern is the ability of a cruise ship clinic to address the medical needs of seniors, especially during a long stay. If, heaven forbid, a senior guest aboard a cruise ship required the services of an emergency room while at sea, it might be too late. The fastest way to reach care from a ship is by airlift, which is enormously expensive.

Even if there are no such emergencies, the constant health needs of seniors are unlikely to be met. For instance, the medications a senior might need are unlikely to be available onboard. Moreover, the continuous motion of the ship may make it difficult for seniors to keep their balance, especially while trying to bathe with no assistance.


Unlike a cruise ship, assisted living and retirement homes in Oklahoma offer their senior residents 24/7 care from a professional staff of licensed nurses and reliable access to greater medical care as needed. Seniors living at a specialized care home also enjoy opportunities to socialize with others like them; to take part in activities designed for their needs; and to make a room their very own. Assisted living on land is anchored unlike cruise retirement homes. The risks and downsides to seniors of living at sea are far more costly and will never give a senior the feeling of living at home.

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