Retire at Sea


Seniors can now start cruising with Oceanic Retirement Communities of America’s program that allows them to own a condo on a private residential cruise ship.

The ship provides both the independent and assisted living accommodations that are found in land-based facilities.

"People retire to Florida for three things mainly: warm sunshine, golf, and the water," said Mel Medina, president of ORCA. "This is a unique package that provides for all that plus a wellness capability."

The ORCA Lifestyle Cruising Program will provide the healthcare aspects of traditional retirement facilities on private resident-owned cruise ships to be home ported in various coastal Florida cities.

Just like a typical Continuing Care Retirement Community, seniors will have to pay a nominal entrance fee and subsequent monthly Residents' Care fees, but they would live aboard the cruise ship until health issues necessitate their moving into a nursing facility ashore.

Unlike a CCRC, on an ORCA ship, seniors own their residence like a condo. Upon passing, it reverts to their estate. The heirs can sell the stateroom or keep it for their own use by renting it out until they are 55 and ready to retire and move aboard themselves.

The first ship will enter service late summer or early fall and will take frequent cruises to the Bahamas and Central America.

"This is an ingenious concept that fosters the active and adventurous senior lifestyle so demanded among the retiring baby boomers," Medina said.

Enrollment pricing varies from $259,000 to $499,000 for two people. The fee covers all expenses of operating the ship including fuel, crew, housekeeping, medical center, insurance, cruises, port fees, maintenance, and all residents' meals.

The owners will live aboard the ship in typical cruise ship size staterooms that are about the same size as conventional land-based facilities but with a twist. This retirement community has a nightclub, martini bar, library, dining room, spa, workout room, putting green, shuffleboard, 12 guest cabins, and 6,000 square feet of sun deck. The staterooms have large flat-screen TVs, WiFi, room phones, and are fully furnished.


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