Despite the fact that the most prominent news surrounding cruise ships in the past few years has focused around the weird disasters that take place aboard them, a Ft. Lauderdale woman has chosen to live on a cruise ship for the price of $164,000 a year. Meet Lee Wachtstetter, an 86-year-old widow who sold her Fort Lauderdale house to become a permanent cruise ship resident aboard the Crystal Serenity upon her husband's death. She's now been living on the ship for seven years.
Wachtstetter is no stranger to cruises though, as it was one of the hobbies she and her now-deceased husband pursued. In fact, they took 89 cruises during their 50 years together. "My husband introduced me to cruising," she told 9 News, "Mason was a banker and real estate appraiser and taught me to love cruising." she says. Since joining the crew aboard the Serenity, she's now done more than 100 on her own.
How did she come to find this lifestyle? For one thing, her husband told her "Don't stop cruising," one day before his death. She didn't have any close friends or family who were living in the area and on the suggestion of her daughter, sold her home to become a lifetime cruise passenger.
As you can imagine, this type of lifestyle doesn't come cheap. Wachtstetter estimated her yearly expenses to be around $164,000, which pays for her single-occupancy stateroom, regular and specialty meals, gratuities, nightly ballroom dancing, movies, and other daily activities. In fact, she chose the Crystal Serenity because of her passion for dancing, as the ship and cruise line have a great reputation of the caliber of their entertainers and dance hosts.
Living on a cruise ship has afforded her the ability to live a life of luxury and to do the things she loves — dancing, socializing, traveling, and needle-pointing, which she has become famous for among cruise members.
Although she remains active by dancing every night, she has put on 25 pounds in her seven years on the ship. But by the same token, she also hasn't been sick once since her arrival on the Crystal Serenity — could cruising be the secret to staying healthy?
Now, Wachtstetter is about to celebrate her 87th birthday and the mark of her seventh year aboard the ship. She remains content with her life, as she has made friends with the crew, dines with a variety of guests, and enjoys the peaceful moments she finds when they dock, as she now stays aboard the ship to enjoy the quiet.
Images: Getty (3)