‘We’ve spent 18 months on cruises because it’s cheaper than a care home’

Married couple Marty and Jess Ansen have booked 51 back-to-brack cruises – because it has been cheaper than moving into a care home.

The couple say they would happily go on cruising trips for the rest of their lives if they could. Their mamoth journey begane in June last year, on board the Coral Princess cruiseliner.

They spoke to A Current Affair, 455 days into the journey. Despite spending 18 months on boats, they say they have never loved cruising more than now.

Marty said: “We’re on board longer than anybody else. The wheels change over but we stay on board.

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Jess added: “We welcome the different captains on board.”

The couple, from Australia, have been cruising for decades. But after the coronavirus pandemic brought the industry to a standstill, they were eager to get back on the water.

Marty said: “Eventually I said to my agent, ‘Look, whatever comes, book it’ and that’s how it got to be such a long cruise.”

With all their meals included, and their room cleaned daily, the Ansens believe cruising is cheaper than being in a retirement home. They say the ship’s hotel manager Ren van Rooyen has been on board for less time than they have.

“We always make a joke that I go away and I come back and it’s like coming to see my family – my mum and dad again – they’re like my second mum and dad on board,” Ren said.

The great grandparents say the ship’s crew have become like family to them. They even surprised Jess on her birthday last month.

And while you may think 455 days onboard a cruise ship could get boring, the pair start each day with a game of table tennis before having “lots of fun” onboard.

Having spent a day docked in Sydney, the couple are now set to embark on their next cruise – a trip to Hawaii. They will spend another eight months on the ship before spending some time on dry land.

They will then head off on a year-long cruise once more. Marty added: “We don’t know how to wash up anymore, we don’t know how to make a bed, because we haven’t done it for so long. So now we have to stay on board just to stay alive.”

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