Very Long Cruises: The Kind We Dream About

Seven Seas Mariner in Portugal (Credit: Jerome Levine)

Ever dream of taking very long cruises after retirement, perhaps as a snowbird? Are you a location-independent worker who can work from almost anywhere?

I was recently given a “dream” freelance assignment from My editor asked me to research and write about extended cruises. These very long cruises are most often taken both by retirees and by the growing number of still working, location-independent workers who cruise seasonally to escape harsh winters, sometimes taking their work with them.

We lead a pretty charmed life but before I set the proverbial pen to paper, I fantasized about what it would be like to leave everyday hassles behind and visit exotic ports around the globe for a lengthy period of time. I thought about falling into the comfortable rhythms of life on a cruise ship.

The dream of retiring at sea

Apparently, I’m not the only one who has had this flight of fancy.

Over the years, various Cruise Critic threads have debated the pros and cons of very long cruises. In March 2017, Cruise Critic polled their members to gauge their interest in the concept. More than 85% of 3,133 respondents said that they had toyed with the idea of retiring on a ship. Almost one-third of those surveyed said they would like to retire on a ship for “at least for a couple of years.”

While many dream about very long cruises or retirement at sea, few people actually realize that dream. Those who do become fodder for media stories like the legendary Beatrice Dumont Miller a New Jersey native who lived aboard Cunard Line’s Queen Elizabeth 2 for nine years.

Often, these extended trips take place soon after retirement (just like honeymoons occur soon after marriage). Many people plan what’s been called “the big trip” as a rite of passage upon retirement, says David J. Ekerdt, PhD, director of the Gerontology Center at the University of Kansas, who studies transitions from work to retirement.

Is a very long cruise for you?

In the CruiseCritic article I wrote about residential cruise ships (like The World), cruise opportunities for snowbirds (like Oceania’s its Snowbirds in Residence program and world cruises (which typically last 90-120 days).

The article offers tips on what to book, how to assess costs, and some of the perks and drawbacks of very long cruises.

Read How To Retire or Snowbird on a Cruise in its entirety on CruiseCritic.

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