Living on a cruise ship provides a better quality of life and is cost effective for elderly people who need help to live independently, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Cruise ships have better health facilities than most care homes for elderly people, food is far better, and there’s constant entertainment — shows, games, cinema and classes. There are plenty of facilities like lounges, pools and bars. And of course there’s a constant variety of tours in a succession of different exotic ports.

As we have commented in earlier articles, retirement villages of the “licence to occupy” type are hideously expensive.  There are three of them in Waikanae.  The one next to us, the Parkwood business, according to its website, as well as requiring renters to pay them a bond equal to the current value of the house, wants a $35,000 non-refunded “refurbishment” fee.  When they leave — usually by dying — the business keeps 20% of the then market value of the house.

So, if a house is worth say $350,000 and after eight years (the average duration of such tenancies) the house is then worth say $400,000, the heirs get $320,000 of the bond back.  Thus the right to occupy it over that time has cost $115,000, without considering the (substantial) opportunity cost of lost interest on the bond.

On top of this there is a monthly fee for things such as the managers’ salaries, rubbish collection, maintaining lawns and gardens, water and local body rates that the business is charged.

Plus there are the normal living expenses that a one or two person household has — food, power, telephone, internet, pay TV etc.

And then there’s the cost of occasional or regular medical needs, which for elderly folks can be significant .

These regular outgoing are likely to add up to at least $70 – $80 a day, probably more.  The bond costs effectively about another $80 a day including lost interest.

All up then, living in a ‘licence to occupy’ house costs $150 – $160 a day at the minimum.

The fees and charges of the other such operators in Kapiti can be even more severe, although some are less.

How does living on a cruise ship for a year sound? Taking 365 days out to relax, soak up the sun and do zero cooking could actually save you money compared to living on land.

According to this article on the Express (UK) website, Planet Cruise costed up a year-long voyage from 2 January 2017 to 5 January 2018 to compare it to the cost of living in some of the world’s most popular cities.

“The itinerary comprises 12 separate month-long cruises, taking in 163 destinations in 35 countries on five continents.

“These included spending February in the Caribbean, heading to Greece in July and celebrating the festive period of December 2017 in the Canary Islands. Not too shabby.

“The cruise company totaled up the amount for cruising the whole year round, and found that it would cost £23,908.

“This includes 12 months’ accommodation on board luxury cruise liners, plus all food and drink, travel and entertainment.

That £24,000 is about $NZ 45,000 — $13,000 less per person than what living in the Parkwood business’s property estate would cost.

We know which we would choose.