Since this article was published, the coronavirus has shut down most cruise lines and will have an impact on travel for months to come. For an armchair adventure, scroll down to the films we recommend about life at sea.
Fine dining, entertainment, terrific views, a new adventure in every port. That’s the lure of life on a cruise ship. And it’s also why extended voyages are attractive to boomers not quite ready to settle down. Fox News reports: “While costs vary widely, it’s reasonable to figure on average $100 a day to cruise including lodging, transportation from port to port, food and entertainment. Think $3,000 a month total, which isn’t too bad considering a lot of people pay larger mortgages or rent.”
To attract capable travelers over 60, some cruise lines are booking berths for the better portion of a year. For a month or two, these “almost permanent residents” spend time visiting family or friends.
These trips aren’t all buffet dinners and shuffleboard. Viking recently announced the world’s longest cruise for the thinking person — 6 continents, 65 countries and 113 ports with the emphasis on cultural events. Of course, you don’t have to retire to live on a boat. With a good internet connection, you can work remotely, and keep adding to your income.
It’s not just the Boomers who are coming aboard. In 2019, cruises were the latest millennial travel trend. According to CNBC, the industry has been targeting a younger audience for short-term get-aways featuring sky bikes and bungee trampolines. Virgin Cruises’ new love boat, scheduled to depart from Miami in 2020 is so sleek, ultra-modern, and sexy that its owner Richard Branson has been calling it a #ShipTease.)
Before you sign up for the endless cruise, however, you’ll need to wrestle with its impact on climate change. Recent research shows that ships are worse polluters than airplanes. Bryan Comer, a researcher at the International Council on Clean Transportation, found that even the most efficient cruise ships put three to four times more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than a jet, while shipboard air is considered less healthy to breathe.
If you are concerned about these issues, we suggest you opt for some arm-chair adventures, starting with our recommendations below.
A Cruise through the Imagination
From the late 1800s to the mid-twentieth century, people went on lengthy cruises to European cities, hoping to broaden their understanding of the world. Like Henry Adams who crossed the Atlantic to see Mont Saint Michel and Chartres, their goal was to explore the art, music and architecture of other cultures.
Yet for others, the motivation to undertake a long sea journey was far more personal. Some travelers booked passage to avoid dealing with a messy scandal, conceal a pregnancy or recover from a lengthy illness. In the 1942 film,Now Voyager Bette Davis plays Charlotte Vale, a neurotic spinster lacking friends, ambition, and self-confidence. When she emerges from a sanitorium, her doctor prescribes a cruise. Blossoming onboard, Charlotte returns a different woman—elegant and self-assured. For many, an ocean journey held such a promise of redemption. And they, too, set forth, inspired by these lines from Walt Whitman: