Everyone has thought about living on a cruise ship once in a while. With all the modern amenities and luxuries available on a cruise ship it seems like a dreamy place to live in. Today we will answer the key question can you live on a cruise ship permanently, and dive deeper into longer cruise trips and their unique offerings.

Can You Live on a Cruise Ship?

Yes, it’s entirely possible to live on a cruise ship. In the evolving world of cruise lines, there are now options to purchase what can only be described as apartment-esque staterooms aboard. These specialized accommodations provide a unique opportunity for those looking to swap their land-based home for a life at sea.

man standing on a cruise ship deck

If you’re not quite ready to commit to a full-time nautical residence, there’s the option of embarking on extended voyages. These can range from a few months to even a few years, covering the seven continents and offering an unparalleled cruise experience. This type of cruise is best for young adults eager to explore the world and ideal for seniors looking to experience global travel they may have missed in their younger years.

However, it’s crucial to choose the right cruise ship. Not all ships are created equal, especially when it comes to long-term habitation. A cruise ship designed for permanent living offers amenities and services that align with everyday needs, distinguishing them from traditional cruise ships.

Keep in mind, that booking back-to-back cruises with a standard cruise line might not offer the stability you’re seeking. It could mean regular room changes or even switching ships, disrupting the continuity of your sea-based lifestyle. In contrast, dedicated residential cruise ships ensure a consistent and comfortable living experience, akin to a floating community.

Ways You Can Live On A Cruise Ship

While technically, you could attempt to live on any cruise ship, it’s not always practical. It’s a common misconception that you can just hop on a cruise whenever you feel like it.

In reality, all cruises don’t always sell out, but securing the most popular staterooms and cabins can be a challenge, as they are often booked far in advance.

So, the idea of spontaneously booking a cabin every time a cruise is about to set sail might not work as smoothly as one imagines. However, there are effective ways to turn the dream of cruise ship living into reality. Let’s dive into some practical approaches:

Book a Traditional Cruise

Choosing a traditional cruise ship for the long term can be a viable option, but it requires some planning. The key here is booking each itinerary well in advance. If you’re eyeing a specific cabin, especially if it’s one of the more sought-after options, you need to be the first in line to book.

If not, there’s always the risk of someone else booking your room, potentially ‘kicking you out’ of your preferred space.

woman traveler with her hands up to a cruise ship

To avoid this, it’s advisable to book around 18 to 24 months in advance. While moving cabins between itineraries is an option, it can be quite inconvenient to move all your belongings each time. Plus, some cruise lines might require you to disembark and re-board between itineraries, adding another layer of hassle to the process.

Book a World Cruise

A world cruise is an enticing option for those looking to extend their time at sea. These voyages can span substantial durations, with some lasting up to six months, though three months is more typical. The appeal of a world cruise lies in its comprehensive itinerary, often covering multiple continents and a plethora of destinations.

norwegian cruise ships docked beside each other

However, it’s essential to note that world cruises don’t always run back-to-back. This means you would need to keep booking new cruises every time one ends. The cost factor plays a significant role here.

World cruises are often a premium offering in the cruise line industry, making the frequent booking of these voyages a potentially costly affair. You might also have to pay some hefty port fees.

Start Ship-Hopping

For a more budget-friendly approach, consider ship-hopping. This strategy involves booking a series of shorter, and often cheaper, cruises – including one-way repositioning cruises known for their attractive nightly rates. Imagine paying as little as $50 per night, with all meals included – it’s a pretty affordable way to maintain a life at sea.

cruise ship docked on a small port

However, this option comes with its own set of challenges. The process of constantly booking your next cruise can be stressful, and there’s always the risk of missing out on a booking and ending up without a cabin. It’s a game of flexibility and spontaneity but could be a viable option for those with a sense of adventure.

Start Working on a Cruise Ship

If you’re looking for a more permanent solution, consider working on a cruise ship. This path offers a unique opportunity to live on board while earning a living. You’d be looking at 6-7 day work weeks, which can be demanding and far from a relaxing vacation.

Among the various positions on a cruise ship, the role of the captain is one of the most prestigious and well-compensated. Cruise ship captains are responsible for the safety of the ship and everyone on board, navigating through diverse and sometimes challenging marine environments.

hotel service crew in uniform

But the trade-offs might be worth it. Living on a cruise ship for free, enjoying complimentary meals, and accessing employee benefits, and special areas – these are perks that can make this option appealing. Plus, you get the bonus of being paid for your time at sea. It’s a commitment, for sure, but it’s a solid way to achieve the dream of cruise ship living.

8 Cruise Ships That Allow You to Live Permanently

Living permanently on a cruise ship isn’t just a fantasy; it’s a reality on certain vessels. Here are the top 8 cruise ships where you can embrace life at sea indefinitely:

1. The World Cruise Ship

At the pinnacle of residential sea living is The World, renowned as the largest private residential ship on the globe. This majestic vessel boasts an impressive array of 165 residences, catering to a variety of preferences with accommodations that range from lavish apartments to snug studios.

What truly sets The World apart is its ownership model – residents own their space, paving the way for truly flexible living arrangements.

Life aboard The World reflects the luxury of traditional cruise experiences. Residents are treated to a wealth of entertainment options, a myriad of activities, and the pleasure of gourmet dining, akin to what you’d expect on high-end cruise ships.

MS The World Cruise Ship
Image source: wikipedia.com

The facilities on board are nothing short of extraordinary, encompassing everything from swimming pools, tennis courts, and a state-of-the-art gym to a rejuvenating spa and a selection of exquisite restaurants.

A unique aspect of living on The World is the ability for residents to cook in their kitchens – a rarity on most cruise ships. This feature adds a homely touch, allowing residents to host and entertain guests just as they would on land. While The World is primarily tailored for a mature audience and might not be the first choice for families, it represents an unparalleled opportunity for flexible, long-term stays at sea, appealing to those seeking a life of luxury and adventure on the open ocean.

2. MS Utopia

The journey of MS Utopia towards becoming a residential ship is a tale of anticipation and high expectations. Initially ordered in 2009, the ship faced several delays in its launch date, building a sense of eagerness among sea-home enthusiasts.

MS Utopia Cruise Ship
Image source: cruisemapper.com

What sets MS Utopia apart is its planned array of luxurious amenities, including 190 residential units, a hotel, a casino, and a spa, promising an upscale living experience. The ship’s intended itinerary is designed to cater to the elite, with stops at premier global events, offering residents an exclusive, world-class lifestyle at sea.

3. Majestic by Victoria Cruises

Victoria Majestic offers a unique twist in the world of maritime living. This vessel, a former commercial ship, has been repurposed to provide residential living spaces. What makes Victoria Majestic appealing is the leasing option it offers for cabins, allowing residents to live on board on a long-term basis.

Majestic by Victoria Cruises
Image source: cruisemapper.com

For those seeking a more prolonged stay, the ship offers attractive discounts for extended lease periods and people to act as a Victoria Cruises brand ambassador. This makes it a more affordable option compared to some of the other entries on this list, without compromising on the variety of onboard facilities and entertainment options available to its residents.

4. Somnio

Somnio stands out as an exclusive superyacht shrouded in an aura of mystery, with limited information available to the public. It’s known for its customizable residential apartments, which are opulent and luxurious, with prices starting from a staggering $11 million.

Somnio cruise ship on water
Image source: somniosuperyachts.com

The onboard amenities of Somnio are envisioned to be nothing short of spectacular, featuring swimming pools, a spa, bars, medical services, free laundry, cooked meals, and a variety of water sports facilities. The ship’s leisurely itinerary is focused on extended exploration at ports, allowing residents to deeply immerse themselves in the cultures and landscapes of the destinations they visit.

5. Villa Vie Residences

Villa Vie Residences presents an innovative approach to living at sea. This ship offers a dual model of ownership and cruise-like cabin booking, giving residents and guests flexibility in their sea living experience.

Villa Vie Residences cruise ship
Image source: insider.com

Leaving on an epic 3.5-year journey, Villa Vie Residences covers over 420 ports across seven continents. What makes this option particularly appealing is the affordability of cabin ownership, starting from just $99,999, albeit with additional monthly fees.

The ship promises an all-inclusive experience with the option for owners to rent out their cabins and the freedom to welcome guests, creating a vibrant community at sea.

6. MV Narrative

The MV Narrative is designed as an affordable residential community on the ocean, featuring 547 residences. This ship provides the option to lease residences annually, making it a viable long-term living choice for many.

MV Narrative cruise ship docked
Image source: businessinsider.com

The diversity of onboard amenities is impressive, including pools, restaurants, a library, and even educational programs for children, ensuring a fulfilling lifestyle for residents of all ages. Additional inclusive services like WiFi, laundry, and wellness check-ups add to the convenience and appeal of living on the MV Narrative.

7. Njord

Njord is a planned superyacht poised to enter the market of luxury sea residences. It offers a range of studio sizes for purchase, each boasting extravagant features and furnishings that cater to the most discerning tastes.

Njord cruise ship up close
Image source: robbreport.com

The ship is set to feature extensive onboard amenities, including multiple restaurants, a spa, a medical center, and a kids club, ensuring a luxurious and comfortable living experience. Targeted towards the ultra-rich, the suites on Njord are set to start from a jaw-dropping $8.5 million, defining the pinnacle of luxury living at sea.

8. MS Dark Island

MS Dark Island is a planned cruise ship that focuses on delivering adventurous itineraries for its residents. It will house 101 ultra-luxurious suites, each designed with sustainability in mind. Residents can look forward to engaging in a range of activities, including lectures, field trips, and forums, all designed to enrich the experience of expeditions. This ship is ideal for those who seek both luxury and adventure, offering a unique blend of comfort and exploration.

MS Dark Island cruise ship
Image source: cruisemapper.com


There you have it! While the idea of living on a cruise ship might sound eccentric, it’s certainly possible. The beauty of this lifestyle is that it’s not exclusively reserved for the ultra-rich or yacht-owning elite. However, it’s important to recognize that this is a significant decision. Life on a cruise ship comes with its own set of unique challenges and drawbacks, different from those encountered in a traditional home.

If you’re considering this lifestyle or even just planning an extended voyage, remember to pack wisely. Essentials such as versatile clothing, toiletries, medications, and any necessary documentation are crucial for comfort and convenience on long journeys.

While many have successfully embraced this lifestyle, it’s not for everyone. It requires careful consideration, planning, and yes, a decent amount of savings. But for those who dream of the sea, it’s an adventure worth exploring!


Is there a cruise ship you can live on?

Yes, permanent living on a cruise ship is possible with several ships catering to this lifestyle. The most notable is The World, actively sailing, which offers long-term residences. However, prospective residents should be prepared for flexible schedules, as launch dates for new ships offering permanent living can often experience delays. This lifestyle is becoming more accessible as more ships join this unique sector.

How much does it cost to live on a cruise ship for a month?

The monthly cost of living on a cruise ship varies widely. On mainstream cruise lines, expenses range from $2,800 to $6,000, covering basics like drinks packages and WiFi. For a more luxurious experience, costs can escalate significantly. A typical suite on upscale cruise lines might set you back as much as $40,000 per month, reflecting the premium services and amenities offered on such vessels.

How much does it cost to retire and live on a cruise ship?

Retiring on a cruise ship can be surprisingly affordable, starting at about $2,500 per month. This is particularly true if you opt for world cruise itineraries aboard more economical ships. However, choosing luxury residential cruises or arranging back-to-back journeys that include additional perks like drinks and internet, will increase your monthly expenses substantially, making it a more costly option for those seeking a permanent life at sea.