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Innovative Concept Targets Active Baby-Boomer Retirees

Oceanic Retirement Communities of America (ORCA) has started taking reservations for a program that will allow seniors to own a condo on a private residential cruise ship that also provides both the independent and assisted living accommodations typically found in land-based facilities.

"People retire to Florida for three things mainly — warm sunshine, golf, and the water," says Mel Medina, president of ORCA. "This is a unique package that provides for all that, plus a wellness capability."

The ORCA Lifestyle Cruising Program will provide the health care aspects of traditional retirement facilities on private resident-owned cruise ships to be home ported in various coastal Florida cities.

Seniors would enter the program just as they would a typical continuing care retirement community (CCRC) with a nominal entrance fee and subsequent monthly residents' care fees. They would live aboard the cruise ship until health issues necessitate a move into a skilled nursing facility ashore.

Unlike a continuing care retirement community, program participants on an ORCA ship would own their residence like a condominium. Upon death, the condo reverts to the resident’s estate. The heirs can sell the stateroom, or keep it for their own use by renting it out until they are 55 and ready to retire and move aboard.

The first ship will enter service sometime late this summer or early fall and will take frequent cruises to the Bahamas and Central America.

Enrollment pricing in the ORCA Lifestyle Cruising Program varies from $259,000 to $499,000 for two people. Monthly residents' care fees are about the same or a little less than conventional retirement facilities.

The fee covers all expenses of operating the ship including fuel, crew, housekeeping, medical center, insurance, cruises, port fees, maintenance, and all residents' meals. The owners will live aboard the ship in typical cruise ship size staterooms.

This unique retirement community includes a nightclub, martini bar, library, elegant dining room, spa, workout room, putting green, shuffleboard, 12 guest cabins, and a sun deck. The staterooms have large flat-screen TVs, WiFi, room phones, and are fully furnished.

"All things considered, we think most retiring baby boomers and seniors will rather move onto a beautiful ship whose view changes frequently,” says Medina, “rather than sit in a typical shore-bound facility that lacks the ambience of moonlight on the open sea.”

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