Living aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship might appear luxurious, but a man who spends 300 days each year on these luxurious vessels has unveiled surprising insights: the costs are more affordable than anticipated, potentially even cheaper than renting an apartment with associated bills.
Given the escalating expenses linked to necessities like rent and utilities, many seek more practical alternatives to uphold their financial stability.
Finding suitable living quarters has become a considerable hurdle for numerous individuals, leading them to reevaluate their housing options.
After realizing he could work remotely at sea, Ryan Gutridge initiated his stay on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship in 2021.
Despite the common association of cruises with retired individuals capable of extended absences from home, Ryan pointed out that it’s a cost-efficient way to live, particularly if you can work during your travels.
“I’ve been in IT as a cloud-solution engineer since 2012 and began remote work that year,” Ryan shared.
However, due to the pandemic, his team could work remotely and access data from anywhere.
During that time, cruise lines hadn’t confirmed their return, but he thought that if they did, he’d try working on a short cruise to test WiFi connectivity and the feasibility of accessing certain job components with heightened security.”
In the summer of 2021, Ryan booked two four-night cruises on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Freedom of the Seas, both in September.
He discovered that everything functioned smoothly and has since continued cruising almost every week, barring a few weeks of holiday.
Before embarking on his nomadic cruise ship lifestyle, Ryan conducted thorough research.
After crunching numbers, he realized that the cost of living at sea for 300 nights was nearly on par with what he paid for his apartment and related services.
Moreover, the cruise has added perks like complimentary WiFi and drinks, contributing to his savings on other expenses.
Ryan maintains meticulous financial records using an automated spreadsheet and sets an annual budget.
His current base fare budget is approximately $30,000, which he found remarkably competitive with his apartment costs in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Choosing the Royal Caribbean cruise ship due to its advantageous loyalty program; he values benefits such as discounts, free internet, and complimentary drinks.
While Ryan didn’t detail his spending on food, Royal Caribbean cruise ship typically includes most onboard meals in the cruise ticket price.
He shared that on weekdays, his routine mirrors what he’d do on land—working, maintaining a healthy diet, and exercising at the gym.
Weekends are more flexible, though he stays committed to healthy eating and minimal sugary drinks.
Alcohol consumption is reserved for weekends, aligning with his work-focused weekday regimen.
Ryan said that he spends around 20% of his time on land for dental and medical appointments and visits with friends.
During cruising, he allocates about 90% of his time on board and 10% in port, mainly due to work commitments.
Unless it’s an unfamiliar or highly favored port, he prefers to stay on the ship even during weekend sailings. When visiting enjoyable locations, he takes a day off work to explore.
“I joke that I have 1,300 roommates,” he said.
Furthermore, he often uses lunch breaks to socialize or meet fellow passengers at the gym, forming lasting connections.
Eventually, Ryan envisions parting with his apartment in the long run.
He scaled back his cruising budget for next year due to inflation, aiming to relinquish his apartment by 2025, sell his car, acquire a scooter for occasional transportation, have groceries delivered while home, and rely on rideshares for longer trips.
“Sometimes I get tired of going to the same port, but it’s been an interesting experience, and I’m still loving it. Most of the time, I’m so busy that I don’t even notice we’re at the same place — I just know I’m not in an apartment staring at the wall. I’m stress-free.”
Watch a video about the Freedom of the Seas cruise ship: