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Hay’s Daze: A cruise that never ends


Now that the new year is upon us kind of like being sat upon by an elephant, perhaps you’re thinking about getting out from under all that weight and smelly stress and doing something special this year. Like taking a nice road trip somewhere exotic, or learning how to play the 21-string sitar, or maybe going on a nice cruise. Or maybe you’re thinking – go big and NOT go home - like a retired Canadian couple I was reading about on the CTV News site.

This couple whom I shall call Toni and Kirk because that’s their names really really went for it by selling their Ontario home and all their stuff and moving full-time onto cruise ships. And I mean living permanently on cruise ships – as in “no plans to return to land”.

That’s right, in the past few months they’ve cruised to a dozen or so different countries including Japan, Costa Rica and Antarctica with Australia and Brazil booked down the road. (Or should I say down the sea…) Toni and Kirk must have “done all right” as the saying goes, because the cost for living on a cruise ship is estimated at anywhere from $40,000 to $150,000 a year. But Toni and Kirk say cruising is actually less expensive and they are “potentially spending half what they used to.”

But, boy, I don’t know about giving up your kitchen for endless buffet dinners, giving up driving your car around whenever you want to. Living full time in a hotel room-sized, well – hotel room? I’ve been on a couple of cruises, and my first gut reaction to the notion of constant cruising is…. OMG! NOT IN A MILLION YEARS!!

As I may have mentioned previously (and often) my Rotten Kid, the daughter one, was a performer on a cruise ship out of Miami for a year and a half. This was a few years ago when she had just turned 18 and went far away to be a professional dancer which caused her father’s hair to immediately turn grey and his Better Half to have insomnia for a decade or so. But of course, we had to sell the furniture and the cat (kidding) to go see her as much as possible, including getting the fam damily together to spend Christmas with her chugging around on tropical seas of Jamaica, Mexico and the Florida Keys.

It’s the off-boat adventures that are a big reason to cruise (except for people who go only to sidle up to the trough for the all-inclusive all-you-can-eat-all-of-the-time gut-bomber buffets) and we logged some life-long memories swimming with dolphins, driving Jeeps on the beach on Christmas Day and wading thigh-deep petting dozens of flopping manta rays on a sandbar somewhere in the middle of the ocean (although the B.H. preferred to stay on the sightseeing boat to observe the rather aggressive extraterrestrial sea creatures from as far away as possible.)

And the parties, music and entertainment on the cruise ships are top-notch. We got to watch the best dancer in the entire known universe rock the stage for awesome professional shows two times a day. But we also got a glimpse, especially through our RK, of what life might like on a permanent basis stuck on – I mean, living on a humongous boat with 5,000 or so other strangers constantly elbowing their way to the feeding stations. Sorry, “dining rooms”. Let’s just say I don’t think salt water runs in any of our personal veins.

But apparently, there are lots of “thalassophiles” around. In fact, “ocean lovers” can now be ocean lifers by purchasing their very own permanent “apartments” on specialized cruise ships. And I’m sure they’ll get first dibs for the front of the food lineups.

Harley Hay is a Red Deer author and filmmaker. Reach out to Harley with any thoughts or ideas at

Byron Hackett

About the Author: Byron Hackett

I have been apart of the Red Deer Advocate Black Press Media team since 2017, starting as a sports reporter.
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