Man Who Lives On A Cruise Ship 300 Days A Year Because It's Cheaper Than Rent Shows Just How Impossible It Is To Survive The Costs Of Living

He's considering selling his house and car altogether.

A man is on a cruise ship doing work. CandyRetriever / Shutterstock

Ryan Gutridge's unusual life choice of spending more than 300 days a year aboard a cruise ship as an IT professional isn't just about seeking an adventurous lifestyle; it's a practical, calculated response to the skyrocketing costs of living.

This cloud-solution engineer's life aboard the Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas provides a fascinating insight into modern work, technology, lifestyle choices, and the pursuit of financial pragmatism. He told his story in a 2023 article he wrote for Business Insider.


Ryan Gutridge lives on a cruise ship 300 days a year because it's cheaper than rent.

The decision to turn a cruise ship into a full-time home didn't happen overnight for Gutridge. The genesis of this idea emerged during the pandemic when remote work became the norm for many professionals.

As Gutridge started working from home in 2012, transitioning his workspace from land to sea was not an entirely foreign concept. The opportunity presented itself in 2021 when he booked two four-night cruises to test the feasibility of working from the ship.

man lives on a cruise ship 300 days a yearPhoto: Muratart / Shutterstock


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"I've been to CocoCay and Nassau in the Bahamas more than 70 times each over the last two years," he wrote.

It's his new normal, balancing work responsibilities with socializing, physical well-being, and personal discipline. The financial aspect of cruising full-time is intriguing and defies conventional wisdom. 

Gutridge's careful examination of his budget showed that living aboard a cruise ship was close to what he paid for an apartment in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. 

"This year, my base fare budget is about $30,000, and last year when I started really looking at the numbers and evaluating how much base fare I paid to be on a ship for 300 nights, I found it was almost neck-and-neck with what I paid for rent and trash service for an apartment in Fort Lauderdale, Florida," he wrote.


The added benefit of free drinks and internet, thanks to his loyalty program with Royal Caribbean, made the decision even more appealing. The transition to life at sea did come with its challenges, however.

Gutridge's dedication to maintaining a healthy and disciplined lifestyle required navigating the ship's culinary offerings to find healthy food options. 

"On the weekends, anything goes, but during the week, I stay diligent about finding healthy food options that are available on the ship. I stay away from desserts, and I absolutely don't drink sugary drinks. If I drink alcohol at all, I save it for the weekend because, come Monday morning, it's back to work and back to being responsible," he wrote.



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His life at sea offers a blueprint for those wishing to explore unconventional ways to make modern living more affordable.

The sense of community aboard the ship adds another layer to Gutridge's narrative. His strong relationships with the crew, describing them as his "1,300 roommates," reflect the human need for connection and the ability to find family in the most unlikely of places.

Gutridge's story has implications beyond the personal. It opens up a dialogue about the current state of the cost of living and how remote work is changing our lives.

Living on a cruise ship is a really unique and amazing way to combat housing costs on land. However, not everyone can afford $30,000 per year to make this dream a reality. And many of those who can are working jobs that are not remote.

Even Gutridge is still finding it necessary to scale back on costs. He's contemplating selling his car, getting rid of his apartment, and even scaling back his cruising budget due to inflation.


Since the pandemic, the housing market has made it more and more difficult to buy a home. According to a July 2023 article from USA Today, the median home price reached $410,200 in June of this year, the second-highest ever in the United States.

When was the all-time high? It wasn't right before the 2007 housing crisis; in fact, it was just last year, in June 2022, with a median house price of $413,800. 

Some people like Gutridge can use this as an opportunity to live an extravagant life, not thought possible before. But for many people who don't have the budget, they may be left houseless.


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Ethan Cotler is a writer and frequent contributor to YourTango living in Boston. His writing covers entertainment, news, and human interest stories.