A Washington couple has spent the past year living aboard cruise ships after discovering that it’s cheaper than paying off a mortgage.
Angelyn Burk, 53, first fell in love with the open sea when she went on a Caribbean cruise in 1992. So when she married her husband, Richard, 51, who shared the same love of the ocean, the couple planned to take cruises around the world at least once a year.
“We really enjoy cruising and being able to visit different parts of the world without hopping on an airplane,” Angelyn, a former accountant, told 7Life.
After calculating the numbers, the couple realized they could actually start living their dream retirement life sooner than they thought. And the best part? They only need to spend an average of $86 a day to do so!
“Our original plan was to stay in different countries for a month at a time and eventually retire to cruise ships as we got older,” Angelyn said. “We love to travel and we were searching for a way to continuously travel in our retirement that made financial sense.”
Thanks to a combination of their life savings and the expected sale of their home in Seattle—which is one of the most expensive urban areas in the U.S.—Angelyn and Richard could live the cruise life permanently.
So, they left their 9-5 jobs and their yet-to-be-sold home and headed out to the open ocean with just one suitcase each. They have been seafaring nomads since May 2021 and are now well-adjusted to their new life.
“We have been frugal all our lives to save and invest in order to achieve our goal,” Angelyn said. “We are not into materialistic things but experiences.”
Angelyn and Richard are able to secure their accommodation, food, beverages, and transport, all for an average of $43 a night.
The couple has managed to keep their expenses within the set budget by using loyalty memberships and taking advantage of sales.
Since their departure, Angelyn and Richard have carefully planned where each trip would finish and the next begin.
“We don’t plan to permanently live on land in the future,” Angelyn said.
In fact, for the past year, the couple has slept on land less than five times, which happens when the ships’ timelines don’t match up. When they’re on terra firma, the couple often spends time with their family or friends.
Angelyn and Richard plan to visit every corner of the world. So far, they’ve taken a 50-day trip around the Adriatic Sea and seen the sights around Europe. They’ve also gone on a mega 51-day trip from Seattle to Sydney.
Some of their favorite destinations include Singapore, Italy, Canada, Iceland, and the Bahamas. They have visited some countries multiple times, but they say that Singapore has been the standout so far.
“Currently, this year, we have secured 86 cruise days with an average all-in cost of $89 per day for both of us,” Angelyn told CNN. “Which includes room, food, entertainment, transportation, gratuity, port fees, and taxes. This is well within our retirement budget.”
The couple sees no downside to living at sea, but Angelyn warns that anyone who wants to embark on a similar adventure must first try long-term cruises before making it a permanent arrangement.
“I believe this is achievable for the everyday cruiser, but it does take effort,” Angelyn explained. “It is leisurely travel without the complications of booking hotels, restaurants, and transportation while staying within our budget.”
Angelyn and Richard prove you don’t have to be a billionaire to live on a cruise—you just have to be smart with your financial decisions.
Is this lifestyle for you? Here’s a video from someone who vlogs about cruise ships.
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