The digital nomad lifestyle has gained popularity in recent years, allowing people to work from anywhere in the world while exploring new destinations. It has led many to choose unconventional workspaces, seeking adventure and freedom. How about cruising full time?
One such path gaining traction is the idea of living and working on a cruise ship as a digital nomad. In this blog post, we’ll explore why cruising is an ideal option for digital nomads:
- Discuss the unique benefits and potential challenges
- Highlight our real-life experience
- Provide practical steps to embark on this exciting journey
The Appeal of Long Term Cruising and Ship Living
Cruise ships offer a unique blend of convenience, luxury, and adventure for digital nomads. Imagine starting your workday with a view of a new, breathtaking destination just beyond your window.
Cruise ship cabins, can be more affordable than long-term rentals, and provide a cozy, compact home base. Meanwhile, onboard amenities such as gourmet dining, fitness centers, and entertainment options make life at sea not only comfortable but enjoyable and convenient.
One of the most compelling aspects of cruise ship living for digital nomads is the ever-changing scenery. While traditional digital nomads may stay in a single destination for months, cruise ship residents wake up to a new view each day. This constant change is inspiring and invigorating, providing fresh perspectives and eliminating the monotony that can come with remote work. Whether it’s the sunny Mediterranean, the exotic Caribbean, or the stunning fjords of Norway, cruise routes often take you to stunning destinations.
Plus, with inclusive pricing, many of your daily expenses, like meals and entertainment, are bundled into one affordable package.
Finally, the life of a digital nomad can be lonely at times. On cruise ships, there is a never-ending and ever changing group of people who all have interesting stories and love to share. These elements combine to create an ideal environment for remote work and exploration.
Navigating Challenges at Sea
There are challenges when living on a cruise ship, even though it sounds like a never ending party. Limited cabin space can be a concern, especially if you’re used to spacious apartments or coworking spaces. However, many cruise ships offer library spaces to use for work. It’s like they have already considered digital nomads in their design!
Finding a balance between your work responsibilities and the myriad distractions and temptations on board can be tricky. Especially when there are a ton of regularly scheduled shows and activities. If you are planning to cruise for 1 week as a digital nomad, the temptations are overwhelming (FOMO is real). After a week the cycle repeats and it is much easier to avoid distractions!
Additionally, staying connected with the outside world and ensuring a reliable internet connection is crucial for remote work, and this can sometimes be a challenge at sea. Cruise lines are increasing their wifi standards to encourage digital nomads to cruise.
However, many digital nomads who have embraced cruise ship living have found ways to overcome these challenges. They adapt their routines and work schedules, make use of communal workspaces on board, and utilize digital tools to stay connected. This flexibility, paired with the incredible experiences and potential cost savings associated with cruise living, make it a compelling choice.
Cruise Destinations for Digital Nomads
Cruise ships offer access to a wide array of destinations that are particularly attractive to digital nomads.
You can explore the ancient ruins of Greece, the bustling markets of Thailand, the serene fjords of Norway, or the exotic islands of the Caribbean – all in one seamless journey.
The variety of cruise routes ensures that there’s something for every type of traveler and worker. Whether you’re seeking cultural immersion, natural beauty, or historical exploration, cruise destinations have it all.
One of the advantages of cruise-based digital nomadism is that it allows you to experience multiple destinations without the hassle of packing and unpacking at each stop. Your “home” travels with you, offering a familiar and comfortable space to return to after a day of adventure.
Many digital nomads find this variety of experiences incredibly enriching and inspiring, and it’s an aspect that sets cruise-based digital nomadism apart from other forms of remote work. Whether you’re working from a desk in your cabin, a scenic spot on the ship, or a beach club at port, the constant change of scenery and culture keeps your creative juices flowing and your workdays intriguing. It’s an ideal blend of work and wanderlust.
Digital Nomad Cruise Programs
For those who are intrigued by the concept of cruise-based digital nomadism but want some structure and community, organized digital nomad cruise programs have emerged like this one. These programs curate itineraries with remote workers in mind, offering shared workspace areas, scheduled events, and a ready-made community of like-minded individuals.
The benefits of joining a digital nomad cruise program are numerous. They provide an environment where you can network, learn, and socialize with fellow nomads while enjoying the adventure of cruising. These programs cater to various preferences, from work-focused experiences to those with a strong emphasis on social activities and networking.
In addition to structured programming, many digital nomad cruise programs provide support for essential logistics, such as booking your cruise, arranging group excursions at ports of call, and facilitating connections with fellow travelers. For those who want to take the leap into cruise-based digital nomadism with a safety net, these programs can be an ideal starting point. They offer the opportunity to build both personal and professional connections while exploring the world on a cruise ship.
Alternatively, you can create your own experience by utilizing cruising tools, like this one, where you can filter for your exact specifications and requirements (like cost, cabin, length of stay, etc). This gives you the flexibility and customizability you may desire as a digital nomad.
To provide a real-world perspective on cruise-based digital nomadism, we have first hand experience in cruising while working. Hopefully, this provides invaluable insights into what it’s really like to embrace the cruising lifestyle.
In order to start our digital nomad journey, we took a cruise with Royal Caribbean across the Atlantic Ocean for 12 days where we explored the stunning Azores islands, French Beaches, and the city of Southampton UK before continuing our journey. We took another cruise around the Mediterranean, exploring Athens, Bodrum, Mykonos, and Santorini. We were inspired every day by the changing scenery and that let us stay productive.
The biggest challenge is time management as there is so much to do on a ship. Luckily, that becomes easier the longer you cruise as things get less interesting after you have done them a couple of times.
Cruising while working is an amazing and rewarding experience; we look forward to our next adventure!
Hidden Benefits of long term crusing
Most of the benefits are not noticeable at the surface level. Here are the hidden benefits!
- Food and Cooking – You save boatloads of cost, time, and brain space when you don’t have to worry about where your next meal will come from. Plus you can choose healthy options!
- Gym And Free Classes – Most ships have morning classes for yoga and fitness that can help keep you sane when living the crazy life that is full-time travel. Additionally, the Gym is a great way to meet like-minded people on board. Finally, there are sometimes sports tournaments that you can participate in. Fun times!
- Entertainment – Go to a show if you have down time! Some of the best shows you will ever see are on cruise ships. And no, it’s not Opera…unless its MSC.
- Daily room cleaning and toiletry products – Nothing better than coming back to a bed made and ready for you. A mood lifter and convenient for sure.
- Potential Friends Everywhere – Full-time travel can be lonely, but cruise ships are full of people on vacation who want to have a good time. You can make lifelong friends on cruises!
How to Get Started
If the idea of cruise-based digital nomadism has captured your imagination and you’re considering setting sail, there are several practical steps to take.
- Research cruise options, keeping in mind factors such as destinations, cruise lines, cost, and the length of your journey.
- Consider whether you want to book a single long term cruise, several short cruises, or opt for an organized digital nomad cruise program.
- Be sure to take into account your work needs, such as reliable internet access.
You should explore additional options for enhanced connectivity, even though many cruise ships now offer Wi-Fi throughout; Some even have Starlink. Some digital nomads invest in portable Wi-Fi devices local SIM cards, or E-Sim cards (We recommend Airalo) at each destination for added assurance.
Remember to pack essentials for both work and leisure while preparing for your life at sea. This includes your laptop, necessary adapters, a comfortable workspace setup, and appropriate clothing for both work and recreation. Check out this post for our guide!
Remember, you can always purchase things in ports.
Won’t I get bored on the cruise?
There is literally always something to do, even a gym on board. If you hang out there enough, you will run into the crew – who definitely know how the ins and outs of living on a ship.
I don’t like everything being scheduled!
Just remember, the posted activity schedule is available as optional activities that apply to a range of wants and abilities. You don’t have to do anything if you don’t want to! Different cruise lines have different things that are “scheduled” such as dinner or shows. There’s always another option though so don’t be too concerned.
As a digital nomad, I understand the need for freedom, but having some structure is required to stay productive. The cruise style is nice because there are typically sea days between ports where you can focus on working.
Port days are perfect since you you have a choice. You can explore the local area and even go on an excursion if you want (I recommend making your own excursion because ship excursions are pricy and full of tourists). Or, you can choose to spend the time on the quiet ship (since everyone has gone to port) and knock out some extra work.
What if I get bored of the food?
Cruises are designed to provide at minimum, acceptable food (oftentimes high-end and gourmet as well). It is all cost-dependent, you can spend more to eat at a specialty restaurant or spend a bit extra to eat on land. Some cruise lines are better then others at food. Checkout this post about Virgin Voyages Restaurants to get an idea of what is offered.
What if I feel cramped in my cabin?
The world is your office and living room! From our experience, you spend very little time in your room, just to sleep and get ready for the day/night. These ships are so big, there is always a quiet nook that can be your haven.
Conclusion: The Ideal Nomadic Voyage
Is cruising the ideal choice for digital nomads? The answer isn’t a simple yes or no but rather depends on your personal preferences, adaptability, and career aspirations. Cruise-based digital nomadism offers unique benefits, including an ever-changing backdrop, cost savings, and access to incredible destinations. However, it also comes with its own set of challenges, such as limited space and potential connectivity issues.
For those with an adventurous spirit, a love for exploration, and the flexibility to adapt to life on the high seas, cruising can indeed be an ideal choice. It’s a lifestyle that can offer a rich and inspiring blend of work and wanderlust. The world becomes your office, and adventure is just beyond your cabin door.