A man who lives on a cruise ship for 300 days a year has explained how the costs aren’t as pricey as people might assume – in fact, it pretty works out cheaper than renting with bills.
But while people may associate cruises with retired people who can be away from home for long periods of time, he’s pointed out it’s a great, cost-effective way of living if you can work while away.
“I work in IT as a cloud-solution engineer for a cloud-solution provider and started working from home in 2012,” he told Insider.
“But because of the pandemic, my team was able to work from home and access the data they needed from anywhere.
“At that time, cruise lines hadn’t announced when or if they were coming back. I thought that if they returned, I’d want to try taking my job with me on a short cruise. I wanted to see how the WiFi would work and if I could access some elements of my job with heavy security.”
In the summer of 2021, Gutridge booked two four-night cruises on Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas, and went on both in September.
“Everything worked great, and since then, I’ve been on a cruise pretty much every week, except for a few weeks due to the holidays,” he said.
Before taking the drastic step to embark on a nomadic life aboard a cruise ship, Gutridge said he had to do his research.
While crunching the numbers, he realised that the cost of living at sea for 300 nights as ‘almost neck-and-neck’ with what he was paying for his apartment and trash service.
But with the cruise comes added perks, like free WiFi and free drinks, meaning he’s also saving money on other bills and expenses.
After all, anyone who works from home will know the pain of forking out for expensive internet, only for it to be ABSOLUTELY RUBBISH, so the deal here sounds like a pretty sweet one in that sense alone.
“I wanted to really look at the cost of cruising full-time before I began,” Gutridge continued.
“I have a spreadsheet that automatically records all my expenses, which helps. I also set a budget every year. This year, my base fare budget is about $30,000, and last year when I started really looking at the numbers and evaluating how much base fare I paid to be on a ship for 300 nights, I found it was almost neck-and-neck with what I paid for rent and trash service for an apartment in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
“My drinks and internet are free. If people are going to do something like what I do, I recommend trying different brands because they all offer something different. But once you commit to one, you should stick to it so you reach those loyalty levels.
“I found that Royal Caribbean has, by far, the most valuable benefits to me — discounts, free internet, and free drinks.”
While Gutridge didn’t specify what he does for food, according to the Royal Caribbean website, the price of cruise tickets includes ‘most meals onboard’.
He said the highest loyalty level for Royal Caribbean is the ‘Pinnacle’ level, which he will reach after completing two years of cruising on the ship.
It’s also been great for his social life, too.
While Gutridge tends to have meetings in the morning and afternoons, he’s able to use lunchtimes to socialise or meet people at the gym.
“I’ve even met people that I stay in contact with and that have come back and cruised on this ship with me multiple times since,” he said.
“Working from home was isolating. I don’t have kids or pets, so it’s easy to become somewhat introverted, but cruising has really helped and made me a lot more social.”