In an age where retirement homes often dominate the choices of seniors, an Australian couple has defied convention, opting for a life of adventure on the high seas. Marty and Jess Ansen, proud great-grandparents hailing from the land Down Under, have made headlines around the world with their unconventional choice: embarking on a remarkable journey of 51 back-to-back cruises, spanning almost 500 days. This courageous decision was born out of a desire to break free from the monotony of lockdowns, explore the world, and challenge the conventional wisdom of retirement living.
Their extraordinary voyage commenced on June 16, 2022, marking the end of two long years under the shadow of COVID-19 restrictions in Australia. Since then, the Ansen duo has been unstoppable, booking one Princess Cruises’ Coral Princess voyage after another, tallying an impressive 51 cruises and counting. These seasoned travelers have spent over 450 days onboard, surpassing even the tenure of most crew members, including the ship’s captains. And they have no intention of slowing down, planning to stay onboard for another two years.
Their journey began with a simple but profound declaration. Marty recounted, “Eventually, I said to my travel agent, ‘Look, whatever comes, just book it.'” This bold statement reflects their unwavering determination to embrace life to the fullest. They discovered that this unconventional lifestyle, though unique, was not only enjoyable but also more cost-effective than a traditional retirement home.
“It’s our lifestyle,” Jess asserted. For the Ansen couple, cruising isn’t just a phase; it’s a passion they’ve nurtured for decades, long before making it their full-time pursuit. Their floating home offers an array of enticing activities, from dancing to exquisite dinners, and even the luxury of a personal maid to ensure their stateroom remains immaculate.
As Jess enthusiastically explained, “Where else can you go where you go for dinner, you go to a show, you go dancing? Through the day, you have all these activities.” Her fondness for ballroom and hula dancing perfectly complements Marty’s enthusiasm for forming “lifelong friends” during their travels.
Marty humorously quipped, “Now, we don’t have to wash up anymore or make the bed. We don’t even know how to make a bed anymore, so we have to stay onboard just to stay alive.” Their journey is an embodiment of the pursuit of happiness, unburdened by the mundane chores of daily life.
Their celebrity status has blossomed onboard, with fellow cruisers and crew members alike eager to share stories and experiences with the Ansen couple. Ren van Rooyen, the ship’s hotel manager, attested, “Everyone knows them around the ship; they’re basically celebrities onboard.”
But the Ansen’s incredible journey doesn’t end here. Their celebrity status will endure for another eight months as they continue to explore the world. After their current adventure, they plan to embark on the Crown Princess, a grander vessel, for another year of thrilling exploration.
As for their family, they remain connected through periodic visits at ports near their homes. Marty, reflecting on their unique lifestyle choice, summed it up succinctly, “It’s a wonderful life.”
In a world where traditional retirement homes are the expected choice, the Ansen’s story stands out as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. They have chosen to embrace life, experience adventure, and shatter the conventions of their golden years. In doing so, they inspire us all to rethink what retirement can be – a time not just for rest, but for boundless exploration, newfound friendships, and unbridled joy.