If you love cruising, the idea of living on a cruise ship sounds like the ultimate fantasy. But there are people who do it, for decades at a time.
An 86 year old woman known as ‘Mama Lee’ has been living on a luxury cruise ship for an incredible 12 years, visiting almost 100 countries in her time. She spends her days dancing with the dance hosts of the ship in memory of her late husband who died of cancer in 1997, who had told her ‘never stop cruising.’
The ship’s passengers and crew are more than welcoming to her, and she claims it would be difficult to readjust to everyday life on-land because of the wonderful way she’s treated on-board.
Lee Wachtstetter has been living aboard a luxury cruise ship for the last 12 years!
Lee Wachtstetter wrote a book called “I may be homeless, but you should see my yacht” — which shows she has a sense of humour as well as an adventurous spirit. She also has a pretty amazing lifestyle. For Mama Lee, her cabin on the Crystal Serenity is both her home and her retirement residence.
Living on a cruise ship provides Lee Wachtstetter with constant companionship, maid services, gourmet meals, access to 24/7 health care, and entertainment. She’s visited more than 100 countries and still dances every night on the ship.
The Crystal Serenity has a capacity of 1070 passengers and a staff of 655 crewmembers.
Lee Wachtstetter and her late husband, were avid cruisers, having done 89 cruises from their home ports in Florida.
The 86-year-old Florida widow, has sold her family home to live on the ship, and she believes it will cost her around $160,000 each year, but claims to be living a ‘stress-free, fairy-tale life,’ dancing from country to country on one of the world’s most beautiful and elegant ships. And she’s not wrong – that price includes everything, from meals to the entertainment to the cocktails she has to celebrate her new-found life. She’s never lonely and never has to cook for herself, so who can blame her. I for one, certainly don’t.
Crystal Serenity at Geiranger Fjord – Norway.
She was 77 when she became a full-time cruiser, an age when many people are a bit cautious. But it wasn’t a hard decision for her.
“I was in good health,” she writes. “I could afford it, I was already travelling 11 months of the year, and now I no longer had a big house to worry about.”
From then on, all the work of daily living — the cooking, the cleaning, the shopping — would be done for her. There would be fine dining and almost constant entertainment. And most nights she’d fall asleep in one country and wake up the next morning in another.
“[My husband] was a banker and real estate appraiser and taught me to love cruising. During our 50-year marriage we did 89 cruises. I’ve done nearly a hundred more and 15 world cruises. The day before my husband died of cancer in 1997, he told me, ‘Don’t stop cruising.’ So here I am today living a stress-free, fairy-tale life.”
Mama Lee now enjoys the luxurious life of movies, good food, travel, and dancing. One can only dream!
Watch her video:
Although she loves living in the luxury cruise ship, Lee said the hardest part of her extravagant retirement is being away from her children and grandchildren, who lives in Miami, Florida. She stays in touch with her three sons and seven grandchildren by Skype or email.
“I hear from one of them every day, and visit with them whenever we dock in Miami,” she said.
Of course, spending your retirement years on a cruise ship isn’t for everyone. It helps to have an adventurous spirit, like Mama Lee.
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