Originally Posted by Paul Motter
That's right, the retirees never get off the ship, and I understand that, especially if you are going to places like the caribbean where you have already seen the ports a dozen times.
You have to retire on a shio that goes places. That is why the condo cruise ships are so popular.
True, but I would imagine in order to make this truly affordable, the ship would have to be "selective" in the places it went ... especially since, as you say, the retirees will probably rarely bother to get off. For them, the lure would be shipboard livnig in their retirement years, not necessarily traveling for the purpose of seeing the world.
The situation I envision here would be one where people live pretty much as they would at any decent land-based retirement community, and the prices would have to reflect that. Many land-based communities start out with an "entry fee" that is refundable when the resident leaves. Our hypothetical ship would work the same way. You would buy your accommodations onboard, and the price for each "unit" would be the same whether one or two people were living in that unit. To keep prices comparable to a land-based resort, I see each unit being smaller than a standard apartment ... perhaps about the same size as cabins on most older ships are now ... with, the larger prices accruing for the suites and larger cabins. A resident would buy his unit upfront. If he tired of shipboard living, then he could sell it through the ship management company, with them, of course, taking a standard commission out of the proceeds of the sale.
I see the standard cabin going for about $300,000. Units could cost up to a million, and maybe even more, if you wanted something on the order of a suite.
Then, you would have your monthly "maintenance costs." These would also be similar to what you would pay on land, though a bit higher since meals would be included. I see these running from approximately $2,000 to $2,500 per month for the smaller units ... a bit more (though not much) for the larger units.
As for ship ammenities ... again, to make this affordable, we would have an older ship ... something the mass market lines wouldn't be interested in owning. It certainly wouldn't have the ammenities of a traditional cruise ship ... no casino, only a few bars and lounges, and a few eating venues. Of course, you could have a specialty restaurant or two, which would incur an extra charge, and then your standard dining room and buffet.
Activities would be similar to what you would get in a 55+ community or retirement village ... daily BINGO, though not on the scale practiced by the larger cruise lines. Cards would be far cheaper ... a few dollars each ... and the prizes too would be scaled down. Many activities conducted on traditional cruise lines would be resident-driven here ... though there would be a "cruise director" to help move things along ... such as a Lifestyle Coordinator in a retirement village. Bridge players would have a place to meet and someone to help them get acquainted if necessary. There would be no paid bridge instructors; rather the more experienced players would nurse along the newbies. There would be card games, pool games, etc. ... but, again, the residents themselves would run these with the help of a cruise director.
Meals would be open seating ... more simple than on a cruise ship. The dining room, of course, would not be as elaborate as many on cruise ships, but it would be functional ... a fun and comfortable place for all to gather. Only dinner would be served there. All other meals would be offered in the buffet. Food choices would be more limited than on a cruise ship, with maybe a choice of three entrees each night.
Of course, anyone living in this floating retirement community would have to be in reasonably good health with no major ongoing physical problems. The ship would not be equipped to accommodate persons with major heart conditions or diseases requiring regular treatment.
These are just a few of my ideas. I'm sure many of you have far more. But, I honestly think a ship like this would "float," and be affordable for a great majority of the population that wanted to take advantage of it. Yes, I am aware that there are currently floating condo communities with more on the drawing board. But those ships are for the truly weathy and not within reach of the "average" upper middle income type of retiree.
So, let's come up with our ideal floating village. Throw out some ideas that we can all mull over.
Blue skies ...