A version of article was first published on Cruise Passenger.

Rent and food costs getting too high? This new lifestyle choice that sounds too good to be true, isn’t.

Have you ever dreamed of working abroad, seeing Mediterranean beaches, exploring seaside cities and diving into colourful coral reefs but don’t think you can afford it? Chances are if you’re living in a big city like Sydney, you can.

The current cost of living is around $48 per day – and that doesn’t include rent.

For just $60 a day, you can live on a cruise ship. Settle into a cabin and sail around the world with all accommodation, food, entertainment, transportation included.


Angelyn Burk first stepped onto a cruise ship in 1992 with Royal Caribbean – and she never looked back.

Fast-forward to present day and Ms Burk, retired from her job as an accountant. She plans to live out the majority of the rest of her days on cruise ships with her husband Richard.

“Currently, this year, we have secured 86 cruise days with an average all-in cost of [AU$120] for both of us.

“This is well within our retirement budget.”

With daily expenses at just $60 each, the couple’s 86 cruising days spread across Holland America and Carnival, with stops in Costa Rica, Canada, Alaska, Japan and Vietnam. 

Ms Burk says she spends a lot of time on being cost-effective, but as far as her philosophy goes, she’s simply where she wants to be.

While it’s not the most conventional way to plot out the rest of your days, this adventurous couple wouldn’t be the first. 

Colleen McDaniel, editor-in-chief of Cruise Critic, told CNN that the idea of retiring at sea is gathering steam in the cruise community.

“It’s something that’s certainly aspirational.

“We hear from our cruisers all the time that retiring onboard is something they’d be interested in doing.”

A 2004 study calculated the cost of living on a Royal Caribbean ship at the time to be $44,663. Compare this to the $38,525 average of assisted living facilities, and the difference isn’t as significant as you’d think.

“We have a few customers who are very comfortable booking many back-to-back cruises,” notes Dan Russell of Clean Cruising.

“One example of that is a guest who booked on 12 back-to-back Princess cruises in a row, and we were able to secure the same cabin for 11 of those trips.

“Guests are keen to resume their holiday lifestyles, because they feel like they’ve missed out on those holiday experiences and cruises. They’re in catchup mode. They feel as though they deserve them after 2.5 years of being so patient.

If you’re not quite ready for retirement, working aboard can very much be the new working abroad.

For example, Mario Salcedo has become a known-name in cruising circles, spending the last 23 years working and living on cruise ships, even having the short film ‘Meet the Happiest Guy in the World’ made about his lifestyle.

Mark Tamis, senior vice president of hotel operations at Royal Caribbean International says it’s not uncommon for a sense of home to be found on cruise ships.

“There’s a sense of home for all of our guests, especially those that spend a majority of the year sailing on our ships.

For example, one of my favorite guests, Super Mario [Mr Salcedo] has an ‘office’ on the top deck of every ship he sails on and VOOM streaming internet service so that he can work from anywhere in the world.”

Mr Salcedo shared in an old interview with Alanna Zingano that he gave himself a budget of $97,000 per year. This included accomodation, food, basic drinks, entertainment and use of facilities.

However, Mr Salcedo is still running a business from his laptop. He doesn’t have children or anyone else he’s financially responsible for.

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