An Australian couple has enjoyed more than a year aboard a cruise ship for less than the cost of retirement home living, and has no plans to stop their oceangoing lifestyle with Princess Cruises for the next few months.
The couple is currently aboard Coral Princess for another few months, then will resume their cruise ship retirement aboard Crown Princess after a land-based break.
A Cruise Ship Retirement
Jess and Marty Ansen, formerly of Brisbane, Australia, are now full-time residents of Coral Princess, as they have been since June 2022.
The couple has 51 consecutive back-to-back cruises aboard the 91,627-gross-ton vessel, enjoying the seagoing lifestyle as the ship has sailed to a range of destinations in the South Pacific, Australia, New Zealand, and Hawaii.
The couple enjoyed 31 cruise vacations with Princess Cruises prior to the industry-wide pandemic shutdown, and after sailing resumed, they’ve taken full advantage of their retirement to enjoy it once again.
“Eventually I said to my agent, ‘Look, whatever comes, book it’ and that’s how it got to be such a long cruise,” Marty said.
In June 2022, Coral Princess was the first Princess Cruises ship to restart operations in Australia, second only behind P&O Cruises Australia’s Pacific Explorer that had begun sailing in late May 2022. Jess and Marty Ansen were onboard that first restart sailing as they began their lengthy retirement cruise living.
“Cruising offers the ultimate holiday experience. You go onboard, you only unpack once, and you have all this amazing entertainment, exceptional food, great company and you can see the world. And, the crew deliver incredible service – that’s why we cruise,” the couple explained.
With such a long tenure onboard, the Ansens have become like second family to many crew members who complete contracts, visit their homes for a few weeks, then return to the ship and the Ansens are there to greet them once again.
Onboard, the couple enjoys table tennis every morning, as well as evening shows, dancing, fine dining, and all the other amenities Coral Princess offers, not to mention the global traveling.
51 Cruises Costs Less Than Retirement Living
The Ansens claim that their full-time cruising lifestyle is less expensive than a similar lifestyle would be in a retirement community on land. This may well be accurate, though both cruise costs as well as retirement community costs vary widely.
Onboard expenses would vary considerably depending on the type of cabin booked, dining preferences – such as alcoholic purchases or specialty restaurants, for example – shore excursions, internet packages, and other add-ons.
The Ansens do enjoy a variety of benefits from Princess Cruises’ loyalty program, the Captain’s Circle, based on their long tenure. The “Elite” level of loyalty, the highest offered by the cruise line, requires 15 cruises or 150 cruise days – which the couple has far more than achieved.
Benefits exclusive to that level include a complimentary mini bar, complimentary laundry services, and discounts in the onboard shops and on shore excursions, all of which add up to savings over land-based retirement communities.
A Year on Another Ship
In a few months, the Ansens will be leaving Coral Princess to spend a few months getting their land legs back, before boarding Crown Princess, a newer, 113,561-gross-ton modified Grand-class vessel, for another year of back-to-back cruising.
Crown Princess will be arriving in Australia and New Zealand in fall 2024, after spending the summer sailing in Alaska. While Down Under, the ship will offer a variety of itineraries that include Tasmania, New Zealand, Fiji, circumnavigating Australia, and trips to Vanuatu and New Caledonia. In May 2025, the ship will begin a 60-night World Cruise from Auckland to Dover, with the Ansens likely onboard all the way.