How is a Cruise Ship Like a CCRC? (and good news!)

Bored, that’s me.  Pondering the relationship between my CCRC home and my current isolated, temporary residence on a cruise ship and realizing that both have lots in common: demographic challenges, COVID recovery, very similar labor issues, and long-term issues of environmental sustainability.  How’s that for boring?

Looking around this ship (pre-isolation), the age and demographic is almost identical to that found in CCRCs: white, wealthy, post 75, entitled and demanding.  In neither cruise nor CCRC industries can that continue.  Both need to appeal to younger crowds while maintaining the loyalty of their current base.  For cruise ships, the young crowd seems to be attracted by short, cheap trips with DJs and alcohol and very limited service.  Oceania just tried three such trips, and the crew was truly relieved to see we sweet old-timers return. For CCRCs, the secret to attracting younger residents may be increased independence, a cafeteria of upscale amenities and an emphasis on a more global culture. 

COVID created a full-out cruise “pause” (the term used by our cruise crew), while CCRCs struggled to meet their contractual obligations to residents—but both business models were challenged economically and postponed needed long term planning, particularly related to labor and sustainability issues, which brings us to….

Labor for a cruise ship is largely provided by young adults from countries with low employment opportunities; the money earned is essential income for the home families of these young adults.  Oceania advertises that there are 81 nationalities on board.  Labor for a CCRC is also significantly provided by minimum wage workers.  CCRCs could look to the cruise model to provide a global workforce, or better, engage in revising immigration policies to allow an increase of global workers pursuing citizenship.  It works for the US military, which recruits non-US citizens to serve in exchange for a quicker path to citizenship.

To quote the estimable Judd Apatow, “It’s not worth killing the oceans to get free buffets.” The cruise industry is tending to its public sustainability issues.  We get no plastic water bottles, for a tiny example, but are given refillable metal water bottles to take on excursions. YouTube is filled with videos of the sustainability efforts of cruise ships.  CCRCs have a long way to go.

On the medical side:  I just received the first of two essential NEGATIVE COVID tests!  I have no COVID!!!  Meanwhile, Bob’s COVID fever appears to have broken; he’s on the mend!!!! A confirmatory test tomorrow could set me free!!!  If so, I’ll wave good-bye to Reykjavik from anywhere but this room!!! Maybe I’ll even get to visit Isafjor on Wednesday!! Cross your fingers.

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Betty Warner

Married female, mother of two, grandmother of five. Living in a senior living community, where dinner, house maintenance, and continuing care are part of the contract. Residents in this community are actively engaged in our lifestyle here; I currently help produce Zoom programs, and help edit our webpage. Physically "healthy for your age" despite shortness of breath, two knee replacements, a cardiac murmur, various skin issues and an incipient back problem.

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