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More people on yachts than at home

Spending 200-300 USD a day, the guests in retirement age live on the yacht more than on the mainland, meet strangers more than family.

Jeff Farschman, 72 years old, used to hold the position of Deputy General Manager at the US company Lockheed Martin Services. When he retired, he planned to go bird watching in the Caribbean for a few warm months. But Hurricane Ivan devastated the Cayman Canyon, where Farschman chose to stay in September 2004. He made a decision that later changed his life completely.

Instead of vacationing in Bermuda for a week, Farschman extended his stay and booked 6 consecutive cruises, 4 Bermuda cruises and 2 Caribbean cruises, for a total of 47 days. This journey is what motivates him to spend 7-8 months a year traveling around on Holland American Line cruises when he retires.

In fact, it’s not uncommon for people like Farschman: to spend money and spend time on yachts in their retirement years. They can do that when combining single itineraries or renting and buying the entire yacht’s accommodation.





A round-the-world cruise is a popular choice for those who like to travel for months.  Photo: Cruise Passenger

A round-the-world cruise is a popular choice for those who like to travel for months. Image: Cruise Passenger

Mario Salcedo, 72, has lived only on yachts and has rarely been on land for the past 23 years, after retiring. Salcedo still has a small apartment in Miami, Florida, USA, but spends very little time there, a few hours a week when the yacht is docked, when he returns to check on the house. He spends most of the 52 weeks of the year at sea, with a total cost of about $70,000.

Not working as much as Salcedo, Janice Yetke, 77, a former travel agency, also lives four months a year on the yacht. Many people ask Yetke: “Aren’t you bored at sea?”. Yetke replied, “Let me show you the schedule. There’s so much to do if you want.”

Yetke and her husband, Richarch, 80, went on a cruise and discovered that they have a 128-day annual world tour. It was the ideal journey for her and her husband to see the world and “escape” the harsh winters in Chicago, USA.

“The room on the yacht is your home. The staff will cook for you, provide entertainment services, clean the room twice a day. For us, at this age that is enough and of course it is. We also make friends and meet guests who still come back on the same journey,” Yetke shared. She and her husband have sailed around the world 12 times, and they have reservations for 2023.





Luxury yachts are popular with elderly passengers.  Photo: Kevin P. Casey/AP

Luxury yachts are popular with elderly passengers. Image: Kevin P. Casey/AP

Tony de Leede, 69, the CEO of a healthcare company based in Sydney, Australia, is not ready to retire. He sought to both live at sea and work remotely. For the past 8 years, he has owned and used many rooms in The World hotel and yacht system. During that time, Leede spends three to five months a year sailing across the country. He thinks there is nothing better than working in a beautiful space, falling asleep while sailing in Venice, waking up in Croatia.

One of Leede’s best memories comes from balancing travel and work life. “I was on the phone with a branch of the company in Australia when the captain read the speaker to invite guests to come on deck to prepare to experience swimming in the Arctic Circle.” Hanging up the phone, a few minutes later he was jumping into the cold sea to bathe. He proudly recounts because not everyone gets to experience that.

Leede also recently purchased an additional two-bedroom apartment in the Storyline MV Narrative yacht system, which is about to launch in 2024. Here guests can use 24/24 function rooms such as gymnastics, swimming pools, rooms. co-working, bowling alley. In addition, the biggest difference is that guests are allowed to bring pets on board.

The cost of living on a yacht that travels through many countries is not small. MV Narrative’s fully-furnished rooms range from $1 to $8 million. Some 12- or 24-year room rentals start at $400,000. In addition, there are still many other monthly fees to pay for train fuel, housekeeping, food and drinks. It’s basically the same fees as the tour you’d normally pay in advance for a regular cruise ship.

For Farschman, the cost he pays depends on the type of yacht. “There are many types of rooms and yachts, I usually spend around 200-300 USD/day in Grand Voyages (of Holland America Line), for more traditional yachts it costs 150-200 USD/day.” Like most people who go on long cruises, he keeps a house on land to meet friends and family.

By booking day-long excursions, guests like Yetke can still make friends, travel around, and feel comfortable with that life. “Cruise cruises last for months, giving travelers more time to slow down and enjoy each destination,” said Carol Cabezas, director of yachting company Azamara. In 2024, the company will launch its first 5-month cruise that takes customers around the world, to places like the Taj Mahal, India or the Great Wall of China.





Mr. Jeff Farschman (left) and friends on a yacht docked in the port of Lauderdale, Florida, USA in early April. Photo: amazingvoyages2

Mr. Jeff Farschman (left) and friends on a yacht in the port of Lauderdale, Florida, USA in early April this year. Image: amazingvoyages2

According to a representative of Panama Canal tour company, many world cruisers are splitting their journeys so that friends and family members can join a few stages with tourists. However, for frequent travelers like Mr. Leede and Farschman, the schedule is secondary because they already love the life at sea.

To date Mr. Farschman has toured 165 yachts with more than 3,500 days at sea. Thanks to his delicious food experiences, good service and close relationship with yachts, he returns often. “My family supports my life right now. It makes the time we spend together all the more special. As for friends, most of them are also exploring the world on such yachts.”

Khanh Tran (According to Conde Nast Traveler)

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