Woman Pays $164,000 a Year to Live Aboard Luxury Cruise Ship, Meals and Cocktails Included

Lee Wachtstetter is a permanent resident of the Crystal Serenity luxury cruise ship

Wachtstetter’s husband told her “Don’t stop cruising,” so she didn’t. 

Lee Wachtstetter, an 86-year-old woman living in Florida, has traded her sunny, five-bedroom home in Fort Lauderdale for a much more interesting place of residence.

Wachtstetter has lived aboard the Crystal Serenity, a 1,070-passenger luxury cruise ship, for nearly seven years now, and she told the Asbury Park Press that her semi-aquatic digs are like “living a stress-free, fairy-tale life.”

Now widowed, Wachtstetter says she learned to love the cruise life while traveling extensively with her husband. “During our 50-year marriage we did 89 cruises,” she told Asbury Park Press. “I've done nearly a hundred more and 15 world cruises."

This year, Wachtstetter estimates her living expenses will total around $164,000,“including her single-occupancy seventh-deck stateroom, regular and specialty restaurant meals with available lunch and dinner beverages, gratuities, nightly ballroom dancing with dance hosts and Broadway-caliber entertainment — as well as the captain's frequent cocktail parties, movies, lectures, plus other scheduled daily activities.”


“I do love to eat and regularly dine at a table for eight, Wachtstetter told Asbury Park Press of her dinner habits. “You meet interesting passengers, and I've made lots of new friends that way."