Medicare Open Enrollment: What You Should Know
INTERESTING STUFF – 12 October 2013

Let's Retire to a Cruise Ship Redux

It's been a rough week here at Time Goes By – mostly troubling stuff about Social Security payments if the government defaults next week, problems with the annual Medicare enrollment period due to the government employee furloughs and hard decisions we all face about living arrangements in our old age.

When I let myself think about the consequences of default, I can barely breathe. It is the most awful thing to face an abyss and have zero control. There must be a particularly deep circle of hell for Republicans who do this to the people of the United States.

Maybe you need a silliness break as much as I do.

It was way back in 2004 when I first published an internet fable about retiring to a Hilton hotel instead of a nursing home. It is such a delight that I've republished it again once or twice but I think I prefer the version about a retiring to a cruise ship.

If you've been hanging around here for a few years, you've probably read both of these but maybe, like me, they still delight you. Here is Let's Retire to a Princess Cruise.

At dinner through the Mediterranean aboard a Princess cruise ship, an elderly lady sat alone along the rail of the grand stairway in the main dining room. The staff, ship's officers, waiters, busboys, etc. all seemed very familiar with her. When a waiter was asked who she was, he said he knew only that she had been on board for the last four cruises, back to back.

Wanting to know more, a fellow passenger asked her one evening if this was true. “Yes,” she replied and without a pause added, “It’s cheaper than a nursing home.”

The average cost for a nursing home, she explained, is $200 a day. With a long-term cruise discount and a senior discount, the price of a Princess Cruise is $135 per day. That leaves $65 a day for:

  • Gratuities which will only be $10 per day.

  • I will have as many as 10 meals a day if I can waddle to the restaurant, or I can have room service (which means I can have breakfast in bed every day of the week).

  • Princess has as many as three swimming pools, a workout room, free washers and dryers, and shows every night.

  • There are free toothpaste and razors, and free soap and shampoo.

  • They will even treat you like a customer, not a patient. An extra $5 worth of tips will have the entire staff scrambling to help you.

  • I get to meet new people every seven or 14 days.

  • TV broken? Light bulb need changing? Need to have the mattress replaced? No problem! They fix everything and apologize for your inconvenience.

  • Clean sheets and towels every day, and you don’t even have to ask for them.

  • If you fall in the nursing home and break a hip you are on Medicare; if you fall and break a hip on the Princess ship they will upgrade you to a suite for the rest of your life.

  • And here's the best. If I want to see South America, the Panama Canal, Tahiti, Australia, New Zealand, Asia or you name it, Princess will have a ship ready to go.

  • And don’t forget: when you die, they just dump you over the side at no charge.

Anyone want to join me at the dock in New York?

[EDITORIAL NOTE: On a past publication of this, Tarzana commented that Snopes discovered at least two people had actually retired to a cruise ship. You can read about that and the history of these retirement stories here.

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Johna Ferguson: Six Eggs and I


Nancy, Joy & I decided this was our choice after the post on this!!! I still like it!!!

The cruise shipo story is a case of art imitating life.

My wife and I took an 11-day cruise to Alaska on a Cunard ship some years back. During the cruise I met a well-turned-out elderly woman who bore the name of a well-known Ameican corporation.

On asking the barman abut her, I learned that she had been sailing continuously on the ship for a VERY LONG TIME, a sort of female Flying Dutchman.

Exactly, Marc. There are two or three more such stories at that Snopes link at the end of the post.

I love this sort of thinking outside the box even tho it's a box with engines. :)

Having been forced to find a new primary care physician (previous one became a hospital doc one year ago), I went in for my first appointment with my new doc - Dr G. She, too, is on the staff at the Kansas University School of Medicine; thus, I was first interviewed by a "medical assistant" (whatever that is) and a student doc.

One or the other of them asked a couple of questions that had not been posed to me by a physician, before. 1) Do you and your husband live alone (Well, yes...I absolutely refuse to have his mistress live with us?), 2) Do you have someone come in to help you with work around the house (Uh, no...I still saw down my own trees!)

Dr G, herself, described me as being "terribly active" because I swim a couple of hours/week and walk at least two miles once or twice each week.

In addition, I was given a list of 10 questions to answer that were, obviously aimed at detecting my imminent suicide.

Wow! They did not, contrary to my expectations, give me a sole-scratch test or check my walking gait. Different!

Maybe I won't go for that cruise just yet. *laughing*

Sign me up for the next ship leaving a port. Any old port.

This would be my choice.

I've just returned from my 3rd cruise aboard the same ship cruising out of NYC (3 different itineraries) & it is the only way to go although I do prefer do-it-yourself by air for Europe.

They supplied a robe & slippers & coffeepot. Fed me constantly w/platters also arriving daily. Entertained me nightly & met enuf folks whom I enjoyed enough to dine with each night.

sure beats a nursing home w/those horrible food smells.

I've never been on a cruise ship and the idea of it horrifies me....I'd be worried about how much privacy and solitude I would have without people chivvying me up to "join in".

The very last paragraph in the Snopes article says it all for me about friendships/relationships on board ship. No, not for me. I'll take my chances staying put until they carry me out (I hope).

Hmmm, might be an option at least on a temporary basis to nursing home care. ;-) My one and only cruise even though I did enjoy it did not leave me wanting more of anything except time on shore. Still thinking about it is amusing.

The big challenge is to figure out how to sell this to the long term care insurance carriers as a better deal for them financially!

You know: that is not a bad idea. Not at all.
Cruise ships are not for people who feel guilty about self-indulgence!
And the crews come from places where old people are well treated, so they will treat you well!

When I was much younger, I used to marvel at the stories of dignified elders who had retired to some of those older, smaller more respectable residential hotels in New York City! I always thought that was the ideal life to live.

Now that I live in Southern California near the coast in a 3-bed/2-bath nice large airy mobile home with no mortgage to support and no husband to nurse, I think I'll alternate between this and some cruises in the Pacific.

I already have one very nice, quiet lady to share my home and help pay the rent and look after my dog when I go off on adventures. But I do have one more spare bedroom if anyone would care to join us.

We're Livin' the Dream!!

Sign me up. I would love living this way.

Certainly sounds tempting, if it weren't for all the negative press cruise ships have gotten in recent years. Never had any desire to go on a cruise anyway. But if I could get that kind of service up here near or in the mountains, I'd be the first to sign up.

This is something that is exploring now as a viable service option for a cruise liner and focus on an "assisted living" ship.

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