Cruise-mad couple sells house to permanently live aboard ships

Couple has lived on cruise ships since May 2021

Lucy Thackray
Thursday 12 May 2022 12:13 BST
Angelyn worked out that cruise ship life could cost as little as £35 a day
Angelyn worked out that cruise ship life could cost as little as £35 a day (Getty Images)

A cruise-loving couple is living on ships full-time following their retirement, after working out that it made more financial sense to do so than to keep a house on land.

Angelyn and Richard Burk, from Seattle, told reporters they’d taken one or two cruises a year prior to their retirement last spring, when they made the decision to sell their house and live full-time on a series of cruises.

Ms Burk, a former accountant, worked out that they could sell their house, retire early and live on a series of ships - with the lifestyle working out at around £35 per day.

“We really enjoy cruising and being able to visit different parts of the world without hopping on an aeroplane,” she told Australian news website 7Life.

She says she first took her cruise in 1992 and fell in love with the high seas, before meeting husband Richard and embarking on decades of cruises together.

“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,” says Ms Burk.

“We love to travel and we were searching for a way to continuously travel in our retirement that made financial sense.”

Doing the maths, she quickly realised that - using their loyalty points and hunting out cruise sales - they could live more affordably by staying at sea full-time, adventuring without the burden of a mortgage.

“We have been frugal all our lives to save and invest in order to achieve our goal,” she told reporters.

“We are not into materialistic things but experiences.”

With their Seattle house sold, the couple headed off on their first cruise a year ago, in May 2021, with just one suitcase each of belongings.

They carefully plan their next cruise ahead of leaving the one they are on, making sure the arrival and departure points match up.

The couple says they can count on one hand the number of times they’ve slept on land during the past year, staying with family or friends when there’s a gap between cruises.

“We don’t plan to permanently live on land in the future,” says Ms Burk.

They’ve taken a 51-day mega cruise from Seattle to Sydney, as well as a weeks-long cruise around the Adriatic Sea and visited Iceland, Canada, Singapore and Italy along the way.

Using their cruise savvy and Ms Burk’s meticulous budgeting skills, they say they’ve managed to keep to a budget of roughly £35 a day, including all meals and drinks.

“I believe this is achievable for the everyday cruiser, but it does take effort,” Ms Burk said.

“It is leisurely travel without the complications of booking hotels, restaurants and transportation, while staying within our budget.”

In March, a Los Angeles couple hit the headlines after splashing out £1m on an apartment on a “residential cruise ship”, which they purchased so their teenage daughters could see the world from “home”.

Beth and Mark Hunter bought a unit on the yet-to-launch Storylines Narrative ship, which is positioning itself as a “floating town” where cruise fans can live and travel.

The mega-ship, which has its own cinema, spa, microbrewery, clinic and library, is set to launch in 2024.

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