In recent years, the cost of living in the United States has increased to such an extent that sailing may be an accessible option for retirees such as Nancy and Robert Houchens of Charlottesville, Virginia, who concluded to shed most of their possessions and wander the seas during their retirement.
Robert mentioned to USA Today, that when we sold our 3,000-square-foot home full of furniture, we discovered that all of our belongings can fit in the back of a pick-up truck. Nancy then went on to explain that we kept two vehicles and moved most of our stuff into a small storage unit.
Nancy and Robert have found that a cruise ship lifestyle is incredibly easy and stress-free. Nancy made it clear to the Miami Herald: "I don't cook, I don't clean." With inflation making the cost of travelling inside the U.S. increase, there is one place where it has not been affected - the cruise industry. Robert expressed his satisfaction to the Miami Herald, saying: "It's much cheaper than a nursing home or assisted living. We are a great match for this lifestyle and it could be perfect for a lot of people."
Rather than centering on the destination, the couple concentrates on finding the best deal for their trips. According to Nancy, in an interview with Cruise Passenger, "We look for the best bargain, not the place."
At the outset, the couple had set to spend $4,000 each month residing on the ships. She told Cruise Passenger, “This was the initial budget including gratuities. But, owing to the current higher costs, that budget has been revised somewhat. Depending on the destination, it may be necessary or not to get the internet.”
For the Houchens, life on board a cruise liner is a huge amount cheaper than assisted living. The Genworth Cost of Care Survey from 2020 reports that in the state of Virginia, the average monthly cost for a person to stay at an assisted living is a voluminous sum of $5,250 a month. Two people in assisted living would thus expend an immense total of $10,000 a month.
Additionally, the approximately $4,000 monthly expenditure of the couple comprises of groceries, and they don't have to pay for a motor vehicle. They also strive to reserve their cruises back-to-back so that they do not have to splurge on costly accommodation when switching between cruise companies.
A month ago, the Houchens marked a remarkable milestone, having cruised with Carnival Cruise Line for 1,000 days since the 1980s. In anticipation for what is to come, the Houchens are eager to spend more time aboard the sea, accompanied by their new acquaintances formed on the ongoing voyage.
Richard explained to Travel Pulse that their cruising with Carnival boils down to the people. Instead of the goal being the destinations, the centerpiece has become the experience — and the most meaningful factor is the people.