A Florida widow, who now lives on a cruise ship, has been sailing for nearly 7 years and plans to continue to make it her residence. Lee Wachtstetter, 86, enjoys to cruise, and while most people frown on the idea of spending $164,000 per year on it, she has made the Crystal Serenity her new home, the Examiner reports this Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, and the cruise line itself has high marks among those who have traveled the vessel.
It all started when Wachtstetter wanted to start a new life after her husband passed away. The widow didn’t want to live in a retirement home, so she sold her 5-bedroom home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida to sail the seas. She’s known as “Mama Lee” on the ship.
Where does Wachtstetter sail? She jokingly says that she “stopped counting after 100” countries and rarely gets off the vessel these days. “Just say I’ve been to almost any country that has a port.” She’s not kidding about that, but she still enjoys being on the ship because “there’s plenty to do.”
However, Istanbul is one port she loves to visit. “I can’t resist the Grand Bazaar,” the cruise ship widow said. “You can find gorgeously regal or glitzy outfits there, perfect for formal or casual wear and not terribly expensive. I have to restrain myself every time because of my limited cabin space.”
Limiting herself on the space she uses is easy. If she has too many items, she gives them away to crew members or guests. A retirement home would have the same rules, so why not aim for the open seas?
“The crewmembers bend over backwards to keep me happy. Some are almost like family now. If they don’t have what I want, they get it. Even if they have to buy it off the ship or make it to my specific needs.”
While Wachtstetter pays $164,000 per year, she points out that it covers all of her necessities. According to USA Today, “That’ll cover costs of 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.”
Widow Mama Lee loves living like a celebrity, and who wouldn’t? If you got the funds, why not spend it on a retirement home that actually travels around the world? When she’s not dining or attending parties, she likes to think of gifts for the crew.
A cruise ship is a great way for a person to live out their retirement years, if they can afford. Here’s to you, Mama Lee!