It's a merry life?
May 20, 2022 5:59 PM   Subscribe

Retiring to cruise ships to avoid cost of land living The Burks have grown frustrated by the mounting costs of living on land, they said....

Between the mortgage, Internet, electricity, property taxes, insurance, and other costs associated with owning their home in Seattle, the couple was spending more than $3,500 per month. That doesn’t include food, transportation, entertainment and other expenses of everyday life.

On a cruise ship, however, “there is no extra. The price is the price,” Angelyn said. Spending their retirement at sea, she concluded, would be “so much cheaper.”

Non-paywall
posted by Toddles (96 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
How is this different from a maintenance free retirement community? I lived in one in Florida for 6 months that may not have technically been a retirement community but was gated, had smallish well furnished townhomes, a bar attached with a nice pool and various other amenities. Not perhaps as all inclusive but these definitely exist outside of paying for a mortgage in Seattle. If 3 of their kids live there, I'm guessing the house is worth way more than the equivalent they'd pay for $3,500.
posted by geoff. at 6:14 PM on May 20


Also I can imagine the food and amenities on a cruise are not diverse enough for people not doing the usual cruise length. And the cabins aren't for just relaxing and living. They plan to jump to different cruise ships, and I have not been cruising so I'd be very curious to hear from other people.

Emma Cruises is an innocent seeming British girl who gives heartwarming reviews of cruises and does it a lot so maybe if you like jumping from ship to ship it is just a great experience.
posted by geoff. at 6:20 PM on May 20


> The Burks have grown frustrated by the mounting costs of living on land

that is the only thing i have in common with them, otherwise, fuck these people
posted by glonous keming at 6:30 PM on May 20 [36 favorites]


At $100/day they could have a very comfortable life in a lot of developing countries, without all the stress of having to find cruise deals.
posted by simmering octagon at 6:32 PM on May 20 [7 favorites]


Yes of course it is much more reasonable to float entire palaces of rich people. With poor people indentured to served them, and burn fossil fuel all day and night so that they may ply the seas and shower their largess on the gracious and eager ports of call. Nothing at all problematic here, no externalities, just good common fiscal sense. Why isn't it the obvious choice for everyone?
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:34 PM on May 20 [96 favorites]


How is this different from a maintenance free retirement community?
Just guessing, but: don't have to pay the help minimum wage in international waters?
posted by agentofselection at 6:50 PM on May 20 [10 favorites]


So...what happens when one or both of them get sick? How about if one or both of them lose mobility? Someone gets cancer? What happens when they get legit old and unable to travel?
posted by cooker girl at 6:59 PM on May 20 [20 favorites]


I saw this article and was like "Not for me but good for them." I have no interest in ever even going on a cruise but it's cool that they are living it and loving it. I do question how feasible or fun it will be long-term but I'm sure they'll figure it out; clearly, they have plenty of resources.

I understand people's frustrations on how living on cruises is so bad for the environment, exploitive of poor people, and beyond but... almost ALL of us living in the Global North -- or privileged in the Global South -- are living lifestyles that are bad for the environment, exploitive of poor(er) people near and far, and more. We just get to hide it a bit more through greenwashing and whitewashing while these two are just being open and unapologetic about their choice and privilege.
posted by smorgasbord at 7:08 PM on May 20 [26 favorites]


There was an episode of The Love Boat where some lady did this. (But spoiler alert, she fell in love.)
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:37 PM on May 20 [26 favorites]


I'd think this sounds like an excellent idea if not for coronavirus. I think it's bizarre that I've seen two articles about people STARTING to do this NOW. Not "I did this in 2019 and I'm going back," but NOW.

Also sounds a bit annoying to have a limited amount of stuff/wardrobe, constantly having to move ships, limited to no Internet, whatever.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:55 PM on May 20 [4 favorites]


I understand people's frustrations on how living on cruises is so bad for the environment, exploitive of poor people, and beyond but... almost ALL of us living in the Global North -- or privileged in the Global South -- are living lifestyles that are bad for the environment

Well, some of us actually make efforts to reduce our environmental footprints. Yes, one person's actions are not that significant and yes, what we really need is change at the government and corporate levels, but it absolutely does still matter what we do individually, not just in direct impacts, but in making better ways of life possible. It's easy to be nihilistic, but the reality is that people do make choices and some choices have far worse environmental impacts than others.

In this case, the direct carbon emissions alone from a year of cruises would be more than double per capita emissions in the US and certainly far more when you add in indirect emissions from food, etc, so there's a pretty heavy carbon emissions price. Just the fuel for the cruise ship would be the same as taking a New York - London flight every week.
posted by ssg at 8:02 PM on May 20 [21 favorites]


Well, some of us actually make efforts to reduce our environmental footprints.

Yes, you're absolutely right. I certainly do! But it doesn't make me any better than anyone else, including this couple featured. I feel like getting angry at this teeny tiny slice of the population who have chosen this lifestyle versus the huge corporations that exploit poorer nations and destroy the environment is wasted emotional energy. That said, I do enjoy debating online. We are simply two privileged people -- yes, we are privileged to have computers and internet access -- virtue signaling in a silly and fun online forum. Good for those who are truly fighting for change in this moment or, like the couple featured, enjoying their life on the open seas!

But I hear you. What can we do to stop that handful of people from doing this? Ban people from taking more than one pleasure cruise a year? Stop inflation so people can afford to live on a fixed income? Tax these trips highly so only the super rich can afford them?
posted by smorgasbord at 8:19 PM on May 20 [15 favorites]


Limit fossil fuel extraction, auction it at the pit head, rebate profits to everyone per capita
posted by clew at 8:28 PM on May 20 [5 favorites]


There was an episode of The Love Boat where some lady did this. (But spoiler alert, she fell in love.)

Well, it promises something for everyone. I guess she found an open smile on a friendly shore.

I haven’t seen this show in forty years and I could still summon up every goddamn word of the theme tune.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:30 PM on May 20 [31 favorites]


What can we do to stop that handful of people from doing this? Ban people from taking more than one pleasure cruise a year? Stop inflation so people can afford to live on a fixed income? Tax these trips highly so only the super rich can afford them?

Well, step one is to actually discuss openly the externalities of cruise ships. It's becoming more common to consider the carbon emissions for a flight or for your car; let's do the same with cruise ships.

Beyond that, part of the problem is that cruise ships use very cheap (untaxed) fuel that happens to be quite bad for air quality too. This is definitely a very difficult international coordination problem, but we're obviously going to have to put a price on the carbon used on the seas (not just cruise ships, but shipping too).

A reasonable carbon price of $200-$300 per tonne would add something like $175-$250 to the per person cost of a cruise if nothing changed, but most likely the operators would find ways to reduce fuel use significantly if it cost them more. That's not going to make cruises the domain of the super rich, but it might have some impact on people taking a lot of cruises.
posted by ssg at 8:44 PM on May 20 [16 favorites]



Yes, you're absolutely right. I certainly do! But it doesn't make me any better than anyone else, including this couple featured. I feel like getting angry at this teeny tiny slice of the population who have chosen this lifestyle versus the huge corporations that exploit poorer nations and destroy the environment is wasted emotional energy.


I hear what you're saying and definitely am sympathetic, but there being no ethical consumption doesn't mean there's no opprobrium for those who go out and buy the cars that get 8 miles to the gallon for purely aesthetic reasons. Yes, there are a lot of hidden externalities, but that doesn't mean ignoring them is a good option.
posted by Carillon at 8:55 PM on May 20 [20 favorites]


I haven’t seen this show in forty years and I could still summon up every goddamn word of the theme tune.

The mid-70's was peak TV Theme Song. All in the Family (1971), MASH (1972), Sanford and Son (1973), Happy Days (1974), Welcome Back Kotter (1975), Barney Miller (1975)
posted by mikelieman at 8:57 PM on May 20 [18 favorites]


...most likely the operators would find ways to reduce fuel use significantly if it cost them more.
Fuel consumption is already a major expense on a cruise ship, and one they track closely.

I did a tour of one about ten years ago, and part of the tour was seeing the main Engine Control Room. The guy working there pointed at the fuel consumption display, and said that it's the one that he gets the most phone calls about, both from the bridge and from corporate. It showed the ship's consumption in dollars per hour, because that's what corporate really cares about.

I looked at its readout and remember thinking that I would have had to carry four people in my fairly small car to get the same dollars per passenger mile as the cruise ship that was going at full speed.
posted by Hatashran at 9:04 PM on May 20 [6 favorites]


I think this story is bullshit, put out by the pr firm of big.cruise, to what end I do not know.

Old people, even healthy active ones go visit the doctor alot. And dentist, and optometrist and 34 other medical professionals we don't know about until we are collectively in the AARP club. When do they do this?

I'm not sure why this narrative is being sold.
posted by Keith Talent at 9:25 PM on May 20 [20 favorites]


Hold up. They are in their early 50s? Little early to be checking out, no? Fuck these unimaginative dullards. Move to Vietnam you fucking chickens. Move to some depressed Italian mountain town. These people suck. These people suck worse than the van life brigade.
posted by Keith Talent at 9:40 PM on May 20 [44 favorites]


I agree with Keith Talent, this doesn't really pass the smell test. Even the most cruise-happy retiree I know only went a few times a year and then had to give it up once their joints got bad enough.
posted by Ahniya at 10:31 PM on May 20 [2 favorites]


MASH (1972)

This wasn’t a TV theme though, but the theme from the movie. Robert Altman wanted the stupidest song ever written and gave it to his 14 year old son Michael to compose the lyrics. After it was used in the TV show, Michael has made something on the order of a $1 million from residuals, which was more than the $70,000 his father was paid to make the movie. His father was jokingly pissed off about that until his death.
posted by jmauro at 10:53 PM on May 20 [14 favorites]


Move to Vietnam you fucking chickens.

Hell, commit some mostly harmless but heavily punished crime and you can stay in a small bunk for years for free!
posted by Jon Mitchell at 11:58 PM on May 20 [2 favorites]


Seems like a textbook case of market failure. The only reason why this could possibly be cost-efficient is because the environmental damage caused by this lifestyle is an externality. But that applies to a lot of things, some of which I partake in, so who am I to judge...

Personally, I wouldn't consider this for the selfish reason that I think I would feel very lonely if I spent my old age as a tourist among tourists. Although, if the trend catches on, I guess it wouldn't be too different from any other retirement community.
posted by sohalt at 2:49 AM on May 21 [3 favorites]


Expand a bit on this idea and you've got a J.G. Ballard novel.
posted by Kosmob0t at 3:04 AM on May 21 [17 favorites]


. What can we do to stop that handful of people from doing this? Ban people from taking more than one pleasure cruise a year? Stop inflation so people can afford to live on a fixed income? Tax these trips highly so only the super rich can afford them?

Personally? If I was president of the world I'd ban cruises full stop. No cruises using fossil fuels, nada. They are an unnecessary luxury that cannot justify their carbon cost, or all the cancer they cause at ports.

I know we're all guilty, we all have our little luxuries, but I consider taking a cruise at this point to be the ethical equivalent of buying an SUV when you live in the city centre - In my opinion it's straight up unethical.

(If for any reason I lose my current job I am seriously considering running for city council just on the platform of banning city centre SUVs. There's a group here who lets down SUV tires at night and I am on for them.)
posted by stillnocturnal at 3:07 AM on May 21 [17 favorites]


Warning: Cruises are a hot button for me, because they are the perfect environment for my dysfunctional parents.

My parents have considered this and pre-Covid spent between 30-90 days a year on cruises. They love them, as far as I can tell, because cruises are the closest they can get to an idealized childhood. The staff are there to smile, clean, feed, and entertain you. Activities and food and sea breeze are available at all times. You do not have to be a part of a society, and yet, if you share a table or do events you can have social interactions. No one used to be able to reach you by phone. No bills (other than the one at the end.) no poor people that you can see, no garbage that you have to deal with, no tending of a house plant, no teenagers except the odd sulky one. You get to think you are well-travelled but since you’re in port and a massive source of income (at least for the cruise lines, who in certain areas buy all the real estate around the pier to sell their own made-in-sweatshop crap) you don’t have to experience and of the inconvenience of being in a foreign place meeting people who are just living their lives. You don’t have to grapple with an itinerary other than the one you selected from a brochure, haggling prices, getting lost and ending up in a non-tourist area (there isn’t time and anyway, it’s Cruise Ship Day and everyone knows where you should be), train delays…the Company does that.

You are The Tourist King. Your class is customer. Everyone loves you. (But not.) I went on an Alaskan cruise with my parents a few years ago and it was a huge mistake. I was incredibly uncomfortable with the way First Nations in Canada and Alaska were discussed. I was also upset the whole time because I know about labour practices, waste, and the environmental impact. I was talked into it because it was a family milestone and a family event but once you see it, it’s hard to unsee (and good.) I witnessed a grown adult shove my child out of the way to get to the pasta bar first. I had a nightly mint on my pillow. We were babies.

TLDR; wow, WALL-E nailed it.
posted by warriorqueen at 4:15 AM on May 21 [66 favorites]


A statistic from the just-pre-Covid era: Lisbon opened a new cruise ship terminal in 2017.

Lisbon choking on cruise tourist boom, article from 2019.

Massive amounts of particulate matter and sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions have made Lisbon's port the sixth most-polluting in the whole of Europe. SO2 emissions from the cruise ships are 86% higher than those emitted by Portugal's entire car traffic over a year.

I used to drop a stat into conversations that "cruise ships in Portugal put out as much pollution as their cars do in a year"--but no, I was wrong! It's worse than that.
posted by gimonca at 4:39 AM on May 21 [16 favorites]


I don't like to judge others, but you just know these two call each other "matey" and the rest of us "land lubbers", and I can't stand that kind of in group/out group dynamic.
posted by riruro at 5:24 AM on May 21 [5 favorites]


I heard about people doing this well before the COVID era, and I agree it would be much more interesting to find those people and see if they are still doing it and, if not, why not.

So...what happens when one or both of them get sick? How about if one or both of them lose mobility? Someone gets cancer?

As a person diagnosed with cancer at 57, a kind that currently requires lifetime chemotherapy, this was my first thought. Although I think most people theoretically know something shitty like that can happen to them, there's some part of our brains that just refuses to believe it until we are faced with it, though some people are better than others at putting plans in place. If you are healthy for most of your life, it's easy to see that health as the normal state of things or even something you deserve somehow rather than realizing just how damn lucky you are and how many millions of people are not that lucky (this is partly why the world has been so shit about the immunocompromised during COVID). Before my diagnosis, I was guilty of this as well even though my dear brother died of cancer at 31 and neither of my parents lived long enough to retire. Anyway, I ended up thinking they will just do what most people do - figure out what to do when they have to. And I can't really fault them for that. Cancer support boards are full of people who saw their retirement plans go to hell - they just weren't living on cruise ships.
posted by FencingGal at 5:26 AM on May 21 [14 favorites]


Between cruises, they will be nomads of sorts, visiting family and friends

So.. they ran the numbers and figured out they could "retire to cruise ships" by long term couchsurfing whilst on land?

The couple is now staying with family in Seattle

Ok yup they're totally couchsurfing.

Three of their five children — ages 21 to 28 — are living in their home and covering the mortgage and other expenses.

I mean it doesn't sound to me like these people can actually afford this bullshit. At least not without relying on the support of their adult children and other family members.
posted by RobinofFrocksley at 6:16 AM on May 21 [11 favorites]


It's CV, a Damon Knight novel that was serialized in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1985. But I'm confused--this article doesn't mention the parasitic alien that possesses all of the passengers.
posted by goatdog at 6:25 AM on May 21 [3 favorites]


So.. they ran the numbers and figured out they could "retire to cruise ships" by long term couchsurfing whilst on land?

I mean it doesn't sound to me like these people can actually afford this bullshit. At least not without relying on the support of their adult children and other family members.


More charitably: they ran the numbers and realized that thanks to their extensive social networks and the shortage of housing in Seattle (meaning that their kids all need a place to live), it was going to be possible to spend a couple of years alternately cruising and visiting people. Then, when they get back, their house will be ready and waiting, with all of the house expenses covered by their kids in the interim.

If they were doing something cool instead of going on cruises, they would be getting a lot more credit for figuring out a viable path to spend lots of time traveling. I was recently reading a travel blog by a newly retired couple who were taking a long motorcycle ride around South America; they did much the same thing as the people in this article, renting out their house and staying with friends whenever possible to lower costs and be social. The problem here is not how the people in the article are doing this, it is what they are doing.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:42 AM on May 21 [12 favorites]


Wow. I don't understand the animosity toward these people. They have an annual budget of about $36,000. In what dimension are they somehow callous, world consuming, elites wantonly laying waste to the earth while the commenters are paragons of virtuous penury? Also, since when is MetaFilter so petty about cultural differences and oddball tastes. I mean, seriously, they should let their freak flag fly! If it doesn't work out, they can figure something else out.

Critiques of the framing of the article, concerns about the cruise industry impact etc. are OK. But, this is such a peculiar life choice that's it's hard to see how it could become a mass movement, or a driver of global extinction. Individual choices are never going to get us mass transit, carbon taxes, an electrified grid with utility scale renewable power, building codes to electrify heating/cooling/cooking in homes and buildings, etc.

Also, FWIW, the petro companies promoted concepts like personal recycling and carbon footprints explicitly as a way to individualize responsibility and guilt for climate change and distract from the fact that the solutions require systemic changes at the state level. Let's pick on congress, or Exxon, or at least oligarchs with private jets.
posted by cron at 7:16 AM on May 21 [39 favorites]


If they were doing something cool instead of going on cruises, they would be getting a lot more credit for figuring out a viable path to spend lots of time traveling.

A thousand times this. Also thanks for bringing up the Seattle housing market re the kids. This very well might be the best and cheapest option for them, and they may be hoping their parents can continue on cruises for years and years.
posted by FencingGal at 7:19 AM on May 21 [7 favorites]


I also don't get how cruise people are so much worse morally than frequent flyers for pleasure - which is a pretty popular choice for middle/upper middle class retirees.
posted by Selena777 at 7:25 AM on May 21 [14 favorites]


This is such an interesting conversation, and I appreciate hearing everyone's perspectives.

Something people have brought up is how they likely aren't all that financially secure (their kids paying for mortgage and expenses), likely slightly living in denial (ignoring the myriad of health issues that often come with aging) and/or are being used as shills by the cruise company (free ads for a fake life!) These are all good points. I think of how stressful this must be for the kids, still all quite young but living together at home alone, to pay their parents' mortgage and who are about to be kicked out while the parents are off on permanent vacation. I'm not saying that parents owe their adult children anything but it's a detail that was glossed over that's a little odd. Maybe they are exhausted from raising a big family in an expensive city and are having an odd delayed adolescence of their own. I live in an expensive area and it's easy to imagine everyone living in fancy homes with nice cars; in reality, my working-class apartment complex is a mixture of professional women living alone and families with 5 or 6 people sharing a one-bedroom apartment. We hear Seattle and make assumptions but don't really know what their reality is. If I were their kids, I would be freaking out about my parents making unrealistic, escapist plans about their own future and working hard for a "boring" stable, balanced life.

I spent part of 2020 living out of my car out west in the US due to necessity as I was essentially homeless and unable to return to my home abroad. It was beautiful and I was lucky but it was not glamorous, really the best option in a difficult situation. So many people on social media thought it was cool, which it was, but some seemed to think it was luxurious, which it certainly wasn't. For me, it was a temporary fix and fun adventure before I returned to my studies abroad, then steady life back home. However, for many of the older people I met, it was their best or only retirement option with little savings or medical issues. The film Nomadland captured it so well: their RV or van life looked cool but it was more them being brave in an unideal to desperate situation. These were all hardworking folks, single or married, many of whom had raised kids, but whom the system had failed. The couple in the article are, hopefully, in a more secure position but it's probably not great. I'm almost 40 and am lucky to be part of a small-but-steady state retirement system. I see people who are slightly older who are unprepared for retirement and then younger people who have been so screwed over by a shaky economy that saving for retirement will be difficult to impossible. To me, someone whose focus is worker rights and family stability, the problem here isn't about cruises being bad for the environment (I get that they are) or frivolous but that people are doing wild and often desperate things to survive in old age after being burnt out on work, having raised families with little support, and now living in a world where pensions are meager or non-existent.
posted by smorgasbord at 7:42 AM on May 21 [25 favorites]


"virtue signaling"

We're using this term on Metafilter now?
posted by splitpeasoup at 8:10 AM on May 21 [7 favorites]


I don't like to judge others, but you just know these two call each other "matey" and the rest of us "land lubbers", and I can't stand that kind of in group/out group dynamic.

Is there a shortage of actual things about these people to hate, such that we have to make up some new ones?
posted by jacquilynne at 8:12 AM on May 21 [12 favorites]


Then, when they get back, their house will be ready and waiting,

I misread this detail -- rereading the article, their kids are in the house now, but they intend to sell it at some point to fund their retirement.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:12 AM on May 21


Some of these comments are indeed great but still nothing comes close to the original: "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again"
posted by some loser at 8:20 AM on May 21 [5 favorites]


Some of these comments are indeed great but still nothing comes close to the original: "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again"

Originally published in Harper's, with the inferior title Shipping Out.
posted by FencingGal at 8:31 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


This is a fascinating piece. Thank you, Toddles!

Agreed on so much of what’s been said already, from externalizing pollution costs to all the housing/wealth issues—but sad to see the hate. Like so, so many complaints here and elsewhere, “ugh, why can’t those assholes just be completely different people by doing what I think is right???” is a bad take.
posted by cupcakeninja at 9:08 AM on May 21 [9 favorites]


I've heard of this before, but for people who have one foot in the grave. Doing it at 50 seems like a lack of ambition.

Retirement is wasted on so many people.
posted by meowzilla at 9:12 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


What can we do to stop that handful of people from doing this?

Universal healthcare for the whole world. Decent, plentiful, affordable mobility-aid-accessible housing for retirees. Until you have dealt with desperate retired parents panicking about how they are going to survive, you really don’t know the depths of the terrible decisions that people can make. Some of the situations my parents considered were absolutely mind-boggling and even after the most rational decision was made, they were still miserable. Unless you are very wealthy and lucked into some advantageous tax laws, and sometimes not even then, there are not a lot of great options for seniors in the U.S.
posted by corey flood at 9:16 AM on May 21 [12 favorites]


From the article:
"The couple has long sought to maintain a minimalist lifestyle. It began in 2013, when they relocated from Portland, Tex., to Seattle, and their moving truck crashed along the way." Aside from the crazy cost of living increase, I'm struggling to understand how moving to Seattle (with all their stuff) from Portland, TX is going to encourage "minimalism". While not as rural as it used to be, you don't get a lot more "minimal" than Portland, TX pre-2013.

Dunno how accurate this site is but they could've... I dunno, kept their house in South Texas and NOT moved to a city with such a high cost of living? I moved to Austin from that part of South Texas, and I certainly notice the cost of living difference when I visit my family there. Sucks they lost everything in a moving truck crash, but seems a bit disingenuous to me to move from a low cost of living area to Seattle, and then complain about the cost of living.

Now, they and I probably share a lot of Reasons for leaving the Corpus Christi Bay Area, but I have to wonder if they actually had a long-term plan when they moved. Certainly they could've had a good land-based retirement if they'd saved more over the last 9 years?
posted by MuChao at 9:19 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


The mid-70's was peak TV Theme Song.

Not sure if it was your list or the article that made my brain start singing, "We're movin' on up ...."
posted by thecincinnatikid at 9:20 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


My Sister-in-law and her husband and child go on cruises. Like, all the time. Even during COVID. Boggles my mind. I have never been on a cruise, but I can see how being essentially pampered all the time could be kind of nice. But, no...
posted by Windopaene at 9:28 AM on May 21


"To a deluxe apartment in the sky-eye"
posted by Windopaene at 9:30 AM on May 21


I dunno, kept their house in South Texas and NOT moved to a city with such a high cost of living?

I'm a senior planning to move to an area that has a comparatively higher cost of living because my adult children either live there or close to there. I am pretty worried about the increase in housing costs, though it's not catastrophic, but I still think it's the best decision.

The pandemic has made living so far away horrible: I have not seen my kids and grandkids in person in more than two years, and I fear the next pandemic might make it even more impossible to see them. Also, it will be way easier for all of us if I am closer to them when my health declines. Even if I die suddenly at a comparatively younger age, it will be much easier for them to deal with my belongings and sell my house if they don't have to fly across the country.

This couples' children are young enough that this doesn't seem to be their situation, but they may have moved to be closer to aging relatives. Though their oldest child was 19 and could have needed help in some other way - childcare maybe? People move for lots of reasons, and sometimes higher cost of living is something you have to just deal with.

One of the easiest things in the world to do is make great financial decisions for other people, especially if you don't have all the facts.
posted by FencingGal at 9:46 AM on May 21 [27 favorites]


Just thinking some more - they were young enough then that they may have even moved for their jobs.
posted by FencingGal at 9:56 AM on May 21 [3 favorites]


Not sure if it was your list or the article that made my brain start singing, "We're movin' on up ...."

The Jeffersons (1975) was NOT on my list, but does support the hypothesis.

See Also: Laverne and Shirley (1976)
posted by mikelieman at 10:03 AM on May 21


I'm not vilifying this couple. And I do think that as an infrequent mode of vacation, cruise ships are especially good for people with certain mobility or other issues. But the industry is horrific.

A cruise ship's emissions are the same as 1 million cars.

The social and economic impacts of cruise tourism on a local community

"The ability of the local population to provide for necessities and obtain sufficient food worsened, corruption increased, and there were substantial negative environmental impacts. One observed benefit to communities was a decrease in crime due to an increase in government expenditure on policing. Our results show that in low taxation and regulation environments with an absence of community development and involvement initiatives, large cruise tourism projects can fail to provide benefits for local populations."

"After the passengers left, the suicides started." (Title speaks for itself - content warning)

The economics of cruise ships.

"The standard contract for a crew member like a cleaner or dishwasher requires a mandatory 308 hours per month — 11 hours a day, 7 days a week, for as long as 8-10 months, with no days off — for the equivalent of $400-700 per month, or $1.62 to $2.27 per hour.

Unprotected by labor laws and regulations, crew members who get injured on the job are swiftly replaced, like “fungible goods.”"

---

"The cruise industry isn’t alone in avoiding Uncle Sam: US companies use offshore accounts to avoid paying an estimated $90B-per-year in taxes.

But it is especially adept at the practice: Carnival is incorporated in Panama and flies the flags of Panama and the Bahamas; Norwegian is incorporated in, and flies the flag of, the Bahamas; Royal Caribbean has been incorporated in Liberia since 1985, and flies the flags of the Bahamas and Malta.

These impoverished countries often compete with each other to offer cruise lines the cheapest services, much like many US cities groveled for Amazon’s HQ2 by offering large tax cuts....

For the most part, that’s what cruise companies have gotten: According to annual report filings, the major cruise lines pay an average tax rate of 0.8% — for below the 21% US corporate tax rate."
posted by warriorqueen at 10:03 AM on May 21 [16 favorites]


The mid-70's was peak TV Theme Song.

(Sorry to feed this derail) Gotta add Good Times (1974), The Rockford Files (1974), The Jeffersons (1975; "Moving On Up," co-written and sung by Ja'net DuBois, who was also on Good Times), Laverne & Shirley (1976), and WKRP in Cincinnati (1978). Also, the Sanford and Son theme is by Quincy Jones, which is pretty cool.
posted by LooseFilter at 10:07 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


One of the easiest things in the world to do is make great financial decisions for other people

Well-put.
posted by praemunire at 10:09 AM on May 21 [10 favorites]


I think I feel fine about this not being in my budget. There are occasional special interest cruises that I've thought about, but they're very couple-y and, nah. There's almost nobody I want to spend that much time with except my dog. Not sure she's sure about me.
posted by theora55 at 10:19 AM on May 21


smorgasbord, you nailed it. So many people are hanging on by their fingertips. I know some of the people Jessica Bruder wrote about in Nomadland (the book on which the movie was based)and many of them were just barely coping with the Bigass Recession. I'm glad you're doing okay.
posted by theora55 at 10:27 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


They love them, as far as I can tell, because cruises are the closest they can get to an idealized childhood. The staff are there to smile, clean, feed, and entertain you. Activities and food and sea breeze are available at all times. You do not have to be a part of a society,

I travel for work from time to time, and it's kind of like that. I get a furnished apartment for free and some amount of no-receipt-required money allowance per day for meals and whatever, so food and day-to-day expenses are essentially free. There's housekeeping, laundry service, and transportation. There's no mowing the grass, maintaining the house and yard, taking out the trash, or any of the tedious chores of life.

I mean I guess it's not as luxurious as a cruise because I have to pay for whatever entertainment I choose, but it sounds to me like a basic cruise on land. And it would be prohibitively expensive for me to do on my own dime for very long. What is it that makes cruise ships able to do the same thing for a reasonable price? Could someone build a cruise ship on land, that did all the same things but didn't go anywhere? I suspect it's the tax avoidance, labor laws, and environmental regulations they get to avoid by going X miles from shore.
posted by ctmf at 10:52 AM on May 21 [8 favorites]


Could someone build a cruise ship on land, that did all the same things but didn't go anywhere?

All-inclusive resorts are basically exactly that (and cover a very wide range of price points, like cruises).

I've never gone on a cruise, but I've stayed at a couple of mid-range all inclusives for work and have visited others, and the ones I've been at seemed a lot like the descriptions of cruises I have read, with endless buffets, entertainment, swimming pools, and staff catering to people's requests. It's not really my thing, but I had a nice time and could imagine staying at one again sometime.
posted by Dip Flash at 11:12 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


I just got back from one of those trips yesterday, and it cost (someone, not me) $5700 for 3 weeks. That's a fairly expensive vacation, not a viable retirement lifestyle choice for most people.
posted by ctmf at 11:14 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


And that's not even resort-level, that's "extended-stay business hotel near the airport" and working every day instead of lounging and consuming entertainment.
posted by ctmf at 11:18 AM on May 21


These people are my age and I have at least another decade before I can retire and that’s only if the world as we know it stays roughly the same, so I hate them. Also, I live in a cruise ship port and I really hate them. Polluting monsters who take far more away from the local economy than they give back. When I am the evil overlord of the galaxy cruise ships will be swiftly banned. Tall ships, ok. Freighters, ok. Sailing passenger ships that actually go places, ok. But giant behemoth carbon spewing floating hotbeds of exploitation and disease? No.
posted by mygothlaundry at 12:14 PM on May 21 [18 favorites]


What y'all are asking about is the experience provided by many "independent living" retirement communities. They all cost much more than $100/day. As agentofselection said above it's because they're exploiting their employees and, as others have noted in the thread, because they are able to externalize all environmental impacts.
posted by hydropsyche at 12:57 PM on May 21 [8 favorites]


Can’t believe that Night Court hasn’t been mentioned yet.

Also I’m surprised at the vitriol.
posted by Calibandage at 12:58 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


You could definitely stay at an all inclusive resorts in Mexico or many other places where wages are low within the $100 for two people per day budget. Still not great in a number of ways, but the climate and other environmental impact would be much lower. The reason cruises and all inclusive resorts are cheap from a US perspective is that they pay their staff very little (in US terms). I don't think it's more complex than that. It's just labour arbitrage between countries.

You could equally rent a home and eat all your meals in restaurants in much of the world for less than $100 per day for two people, which is pretty much the same as far as labour arbitrage. I don't think that kind of thing, done responsibly, is necessarily bad.
posted by ssg at 1:08 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Also, the Sanford and Son theme is by Quincy Jones, which is pretty cool.

And the 'What's Happening!!' theme was written by Henry Mancini.
posted by box at 1:17 PM on May 21


If I can't criticize people with more than I will ever have (by simply having a Seattle mortgage) choosing to take a big dump on the earth then participating in publicity about it, then why are we here having opinions on news stories? Seriously. I critique them. Yes, even as an American with a car I say shame on them AND their fellow cruisers I don't care. The industry should be ended. Boo. Boo on them. Yes it's not fair they can't afford the life they want "on land", neither can I and I'm only 32! But I can't cruise when the rent (because I will never have mortgage let alone a retirement lol) Gets too high because I will probably just be homeless, and I DON'T live in a high cost of living city.

If the criticism in here seems surprising (I honestly find it mild), I suggest it might be because you don't realize how pressed to the edge a great deal of people are. Articles like this are toxic, and the people who participate in them are doing the wrong thing. There are ways of mitigating their situation (which like in most of these toxic articles is better than the headline or early paragraphs suggest and nothing close to the struggle of working class people ) that don't rely on choosing the worst tourist industry they could. Are things easy? No. Do they have reasons? Sure. Are those relatable? Yes. Does it outweigh the harmfulness of the cruise industry when there are other choices (and by reading they article, there are, their straits are far from dire), the least of which is downsizing? No. No and I will say it. They made an unethical choice, and the article is bad for celebrating it.
posted by wellifyouinsist at 2:29 PM on May 21 [14 favorites]


I have not a word of defense for the cruise industry, or for the exploitation of the workers that makes it affordable, but I am awfully confused by some of the comments about this couple's choices.

An annual budget of $36K for two people is not lavish, and if they're the kind of people who like to travel but don't want to live in a foreign country (and that's most retirees), this is a pretty good solution. Meanwhile their kids are building equity for them in their home and probably paying less than they would for rent. If the parents start having health problems, they debark at the next stop and go back to living normal lives. When the time comes to go into assisted living, they can sell the house and use the proceeds. Seems like a good plan to me.

If they were in their 20s, couch surfing and getting around in planes, they'd be groovy Instagram stars. Instead they're in their 50s, couch surfing and getting around in cruise ships, so they're assholes? I mean maybe they are, but not for the reasons cited.
posted by HotToddy at 3:08 PM on May 21 [9 favorites]


(And I think I was clear but in case I wasn't, I completely agree that cruising is gross and unethical.)
posted by HotToddy at 3:25 PM on May 21


Is there a shortage of actual things about these people to hate, such that we have to make up some new ones?

You can say that. Doesn't change the fact those two would sooner make you walk the plank than share a treasure map.
posted by riruro at 3:49 PM on May 21


I mean, I'm first in line to also say boo! boo to jetsetting instrgram influencers! young hot consumers are still killing the earth, who is loving them in this room right now? Not I! Well, most people aren't ready to hear my anti-travel rhetoric but, okay: travelling by plane when you can avoid it, for pleasure, is unethical. People shouldn't do it very much. Tourism and planes are part of killing the earth.

People usually REALLY hate that so I don't go there, but that's how I feel. It's where I draw the line about excessive consumption for good or bad. We all draw our lines.

I have student loans I expect I will die with. So does my spouse. I will likely not be able to keep working in the next year because of my chronic illness. I'm not saying this couple didn't think it through, that their plan doesn't work for their lives, or that they haven't come up with a good scheme to get what they want, but at what cost, and by who is the cost being paid? That's just what my knee jerk critical thinking asks. So I say, nah. Nah man!

Nah to jetsetters. Nah to cruises. Nah to tourism. I am the change I want to see. I decline this aspiration, I use my paltry vote in the buck of social pressure to say it. People should travel less, if they can. It sucks, because it's fun to travel (I hear), the world is amazing, and there are benefits along with negatives. But the white western world tanked the privilege for the species and we can't make it go away, even if it's unfair, even if it reduces the pleasure some of have in life. Like, I'm no saint, I struggle to reduce my meat intake, I still use too many single use plastics, even though I'm trying stop. It's all a struggle. I just don't get the fretting about this couple. They are going to be okay, not matter how much anyone on MF considers if they are making an ethical choice. They have their plan. In my opinion, it's a plan against the greater good. A bad decision, I believe. I think that's fair criticism for putting out a public decision to rely on a shitty industry.

Also, I honestly can't tell if I'm coming off as aggressive or mad or upset, but I want it to be clear I'm not like, trying to fight, this is just how I talk? I'm very self-conscious about it these days. I usually have like, tone of voice and a face to aid me, I swear. I don't think anyone in this thread is bad or anything and I think this is a worthwhile discussion to be having! Just to be clear 😅
posted by wellifyouinsist at 4:09 PM on May 21 [11 favorites]


Aside from the crazy cost of living increase, I'm struggling to understand how moving to Seattle (with all their stuff) from Portland, TX is going to encourage "minimalism".

I don’t think the article is trying to say that the move itself was driven by a commitment to a minimalist lifestyle, but losing all of their stuff in the move led them to embrace it.

The conundrum is that they seem to be embracing minimalism in possessions, but not in consumption or externalities.
posted by jimw at 4:12 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


“I’m not going to say that this is an easy way of life,” she said, explaining that finding good deals and scheduling cruises can sometimes feel like a full-time job.
Ha. Ha. Ha ha ha. I mean, it’s not hard to understand why people might get their gears ground a bit when faced with bon mots like this. Because what feels like full time jobs are the jobs they quit for early retirement, jobs which were probably between the two of them pulling in at least $200k per year (an accountant! a software engineer!) and which also probably provided health insurance. They do not even qualify for Medicare yet in their early fifties! How are they making health insurance work.

My father also decided he could quit his decently paying job at around that age, that he had enough money to do a One Weird Trick to escape the rat race. It did not go well and now I’m paying for some of the consequences and I'm just lucky I'm ahead enough in the rat race to be able to do so. I'll admit their plan sounds better than his, though.
posted by foxfirefey at 4:49 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]


What's the environmental/ climate/ carbon cost of powering a giant ship around the ocean? Yuck.
posted by theora55 at 5:40 PM on May 21


Related: Man lives on cruiseship for 20 years+. He does not look like a happy man.
posted by seawallrunner at 8:11 PM on May 21 [2 favorites]


I wonder how the environmental cost of cruise ships compares with that of animal agriculture.

And I wonder how much of this hate of cruise ships is based on just thinking of them as a rich people thing. For me, it's just a few steps below saying I'll save the environment by not taking a private rocket ride into space. I am vegan though, and when I say that in this thread, I totally expect a response carefully explaining why people being vegan will not really help the environment. And one person doing it won't. But what if everyone did it - or half of everyone did it? Would that be better or worse than if all the cruise ships disappeared tomorrow?

I just think it's very easy to criticize someone for doing something that's bad for the environment when it's something you don't want to do anyway. I'm not claiming to be an environmental saint either - I use air conditioning. I own a car. I don't think I'm wonderful because I'm vegan. But it has given me a window into how wedded people are to eating animal products and the lengths that they'll go to in order to justify it. I know there's the oft-told "don't worry, they'll tell you" jokes about vegans. But I find that when it comes up that I'm vegan (there are instances when you can't get around it or when it's a natural part of a conversation), most people will launch into their reasons for not being vegan. My favorite so far is, "I'm allergic to tomatoes."
posted by FencingGal at 6:07 AM on May 22 [11 favorites]


BTW, my friend who doesn't own a car deals with the same thing. If she mentions it at all, people immediately tell her why they need a car.
posted by FencingGal at 6:14 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


They love them, as far as I can tell, because cruises are the closest they can get to an idealized childhood. The staff are there to smile, clean, feed, and entertain you. Activities and food and sea breeze are available at all times.

My grandparents also loved the one or two cruises they went on for these reasons - and I'm happy for them! They both left school before 16 and worked really hard their whole lives to raise kids on a working class income. In their 70s/80s, when my grandmother was already in a wheelchair, a cruise was a comfortable and accessible holiday for them and they got to see places they had never had the chance to see before, like Florida and the Carribean.

The staff were lovely - because my grandmother was in a wheelchair, they made an extra effort to help her get her food in the cafeteria, carried her tray for her, etc. Only, as my grandfather griped, no one seemed to notice that he was pushing her wheelchair the whole time and he had to carry his own tray. (It was very funny the way they would tell this story in tandem).
posted by jb at 8:57 AM on May 22 [4 favorites]


Even putting aside the valid concerns about labor abuses and conditions and pollution from burning bunker oil fuel and refuse/waste disposal at sea and other environmental costs, there is no way I would want to be on a cruise ship - much less live on one - because of the kind of people that cruise ships tend to attract specifically because of safety at sea issues.

I've seen way, way too many videos about how quickly things go full on Lord of the Flies and/or Hunger Games when things go wrong on a giant floating resort hotel and shopping mall where people have expectations about being constantly catered to and how awful people start behaving when shit hits the fan and they actually have to participate in rescuing themselves or not behaving in ways that endanger their fellow passengers and crew, like yelling and throwing an adult tantrum is going to make high seas stop happening or prevent a ship from sinking.

I wouldn't want to be trapped on any boat with almost any of these people, whether it was a life raft, a skiff, a small sailing or cruising yacht or the world's biggest hotel or anything in between.

Granted I often feel that way on dry land but at least I'm not trapped on a boat with them and I can escape to go touch grass.

This is all a moot point as nothing about these giant cruise ships align with my values or preferred things to do. I already don't like things like malls, casinos, conspicuous consumption as a hobby or past time, theme parks, crowded pools, crowded anything and putting all of that on a floating hotel-boat just sounds like a waking, living nightmare to me.

I mean I know there's some perfectly nice, reasonably mindful people on cruises but they seem to be vastly outnumbered. I have lived and worked in ports of call and I learned to dread any time a cruise ship docked and we were flooded by clueless, rude and entitled people treating the port like it was merely an extension of their cruise package and they expected everyone on land - working or not - to cater to them like the indentured staff and crew of their ship.

I know these kinds of cruises exist, but if I found something that resembled an ecologically and carbon conscious cruise ship based around a scientific or knowledge based program where the passenger demographic trended heavily towards conscious and mindful I might be vaguely into that but I'd still have a hard time with the ethics and morality of it.

Shoot, I don't even like whale watching tours because I can't justify the fossil fuels being used specifically just to go pester whales and I'd rather leave the whales alone to do their own thing and respect their right to simply exist.
posted by loquacious at 11:40 AM on May 22 [3 favorites]


The mid-70's was peak TV Theme Song. All in the Family (1971), MASH (1972), Sanford and Son (1973) yt , Happy Days (1974), Welcome Back Kotter (1975), Barney Miller (1975) yt

Ahem. Some shows these day have amusing or catchy or intriguing theme songs. None I can think of are legitimately kick-ass like this.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:35 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Ahem. yt Some shows these day have amusing or catchy or intriguing theme songs. None I can think of are legitimately kick-ass like this.

That was strangely unsatisfying without the answering machine gag.
posted by mikelieman at 4:53 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Oh wow I value my solitude way too much for this. I do not want my only option for leaving my only private space to be somewhere with other people. Oof.
posted by Grandysaur at 7:41 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


I wonder how much of this hate of cruise ships is based on just thinking of them as a rich people thing.

I also had a very viscerally negative reaction to this, but I think a lot of it has to do with a very specific American thing, which is the kind of...constant hunt for living like an idealized version of Edwardian aristocrats that some people do? It's not so much the wealth as the sense of anxious entitlement to the trappings of wealth.

You see this in the article, about how they don't want to have to hear 'screaming or yelling'. Essentially, this is choosing to live nearly all of your life behind a gated community, with ocean instead of walls. Yet as people point out - this is for about 42K a year.

And so much of the luxury of the cruise ship industry is based on exploitation - the staff earning tragically little and making up for it in tips that I doubt this couple will participate in. And I think that tension is kind of what causes a lot of the anger - it's people who are well off enough to have 42K a year to spare, and want to have servants, but not to have to hear foreign languages for more than a day at a time or treat those people well.
posted by corb at 6:36 AM on May 23 [3 favorites]


the staff earning tragically little and making up for it in tips that I doubt this couple will participate in.

They are going to be on some of these boats for months at a time. You think they aren't tipping the staff? That would be rather inviting a bad time.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:05 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]


Simon & Simon (1981)
posted by kirkaracha at 8:41 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]


What y'all are asking about is the experience provided by many "independent living" retirement communities. They all cost much more than $100/day.


Yes. And what exactly are they providing that costs so much? The ones my wife was looking at for her dad cost around $8k a month.

the staff earning tragically little and making up for it in tips that I doubt this couple will participate in.

The one cruise I went on (which was boring - the ship is smaller than you might think if you are moderately active) they strongly advised you to include tip up front, and if not, they tacked a big bill on to the end for tips.

Also, people get pissy about airline carbon footprint, but the MTA subway in NYC alone carries more people than EVERY airport and flight in the US most days. Think about that next time airline subsides come through compared to other forms of mass transit.
posted by The_Vegetables at 9:47 AM on May 23




I used to literally work next door to a cruise port for probably a decade or so. I have taken a few cruises (only one I paid for. The others paid for by fam who wanted a "special" holiday) and have spent my fair share of time talking to crew on the ships as well as many of the ancillary staff both directly working with cruise ships and companies that made money by being closely located.

>>How is this different from a maintenance free retirement community?
>Just guessing, but: don't have to pay the help minimum wage in international waters?

100% correct. Depending on where the staff falls on hiring scale, where they come from, etc. they may live completely off of tips (and are expected to work 12 hours a day). My first cruise was during the Bosnian conflict. Our server for dinner every night was happy to work those hours with no guaranteed income because he was not being shelled.

I believe this couple thinks they are getting off cheap. It's possible, I suppose, to get by on about $100/day. It's just not easy to consistently do. As others have mentioned, the nickel and dime routine will pull your money faster than you can blink.

Bouncing from boat to boat just seems stressful. Now, there are some cruise liners that you can actually own your cabin, but they are well beyond $100/day.

I guess this is all a long winded way of saying I hope they are not being taken, but it sure sounds like they are. And, yeah, cruise industry is problematic in so many ways... :-(
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 7:59 PM on May 23


There were lots of great TV themes in the Seventies and Eighties, but there really was something special about the Love Boat theme. The lyrics are cheesy, but set to music they sound like part invitation and part incantation. Love, exciting and new! Come aboard; we're expecting you!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:10 PM on May 23


I can actually see the attraction in this, for a certain type of people. People who like meeting new friends but aren't interested so much in lasting friendships. People who are not interested in being part of a community and prefer to be the centre of an ever-changing faux community as the quasi-amous 'residents' of the ship. Perhaps most importantly, people who love the idea of travelling the world, but don't want to deal with dirty foreigners.

For a long time I have contemplated a similarly nomadic (joining the 'grey nomads') lifestyle, but land-based, for my retirement (assuming I can ever bring myself to do such a thing), so I understand the attraction of living life on the move. But, like loquacious, the key thing that would put me off this is that this is the sort of people that are attracted to cruise ships. Having to spend the remainder of my conscious life with people like that would drive me to cause an unforgivable delay to the precious sailing schedule so they could circle back to recover my body after I take a high-dive over the railing.

I do agree with the concerns about environmental impact, as well as the adverse outcomes for ports where cruise ships regularly dock. I find it hard to criticise this couple for their choice, though. Cruises are well and truly part of the global psyche, so criticising individuals for partaking is valid but pointless. Could we do without the whole industry? Of course - we did so for a long period during COVID and I doubt too many would have cared too much if they all just faded away. But they continue to hold an unfathomable allure for certain types of people so, barring a whole slew of governments actually deciding to regulate them, they'll continue to do whatever the fuck they want for as long as they want.
posted by dg at 10:52 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


I think it's very hard to separate thinking about this couple's decisions with the negative attitude toward cruises that a lot of us have (me included). For me, both planned retirement communities and cruises sound awful. The negativity in this thread is what I really expected in the Margaritaville retirement thread - but it didn't seem to happen there as much for some reason.

I find I have a negative attitude toward anything that seems like people cutting themselves off from people who aren't like them. This is why I can't imagine moving to an over-55 community. I want to live someplace where kids are making noise and retrieving balls from my yard and I can be the nice old lady or the crazy old lady.

I know this is a variation of something I've heard somewhere before, so I didn't really make it up - but I've been thinking a cruise is a planned community with a chance of drowning.
posted by FencingGal at 6:06 AM on May 24 [1 favorite]


I find I have a negative attitude toward anything that seems like people cutting themselves off from people who aren't like them. This is why I can't imagine moving to an over-55 community. I want to live someplace where kids are making noise and retrieving balls from my yard and I can be the nice old lady or the crazy old lady.

This is exactly why my parents were miserable in their over-55 housing. They hated being surrounded by people their age, in spite of liking the people individually, but there were essentially no other options in the area that 1) they could afford and 2) were wheelchair-accessible. I wonder how many people end up in over-55 communities because they are sometimes the least-bad option. We need other choices available.
posted by corey flood at 6:58 AM on May 24 [2 favorites]


I wonder how much of this hate of cruise ships is based on just thinking of them as a rich people thing.

For what it is worth, my mental image of cruise ships is much more mass tourism than "rich people thing," though I know that there is a whole luxury cruise market that is different from the enormous ships that make the circuit from Florida to the Caribbean islands, say. That still doesn't make them cheap, but they are accessible to many people in the same way a Disney vacation is accessible, versus something that requires being genuinely wealthy.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:23 AM on May 24 [3 favorites]


I wonder how much of this hate of cruise ships is based on just thinking of them as a rich people thing.

Honestly, I think the hate here is based partly on cruise ships’ terrible environmental and labor practices and partly on an identity of “we’re not like those Olive-Garden-loving, live-laugh-love-pillow-having people.”
posted by corey flood at 8:42 AM on May 24 [3 favorites]


Honestly, I think the hate here is based partly on cruise ships’ terrible environmental and labor practices and partly on an identity of “we’re not like those Olive-Garden-loving, live-laugh-love-pillow-having people.”

That's probably more accurate.

I wonder how many people end up in over-55 communities because they are sometimes the least-bad option.

This seems very true. I'm idly looking in the city I'm locating to, and the over-55 places have houses that are smaller, cheaper, and one floor instead of two. In terms of the houses themselves, they're better for me in every way except for being located in over-55 communities.
posted by FencingGal at 10:43 AM on May 24 [4 favorites]


... better for me in every way except for being located in over-55 communities
I agree - I can't think of anything worse than living in a community made up entirely of grumpy old men and I think such a place would turn me into one (in truth, I'm not far from it already). These places are really more like over-70s communities in reality, despite the labelling that makes them seem like they'd be full of people full of life. They feel like a bunch of people just waiting to die.

I get why people choose such places and an eternal cruise is just a floating version of the same thing - insulating yourself from the world because you're scared of what the world has become is understandable. For me, living in and being part of the world for as long as I'm able is a much more attractive option.
posted by dg at 1:52 PM on May 24 [1 favorite]


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