Once you've taken care of the money aspect of retirement, how do you make sure you enjoy your time in retirement?
As you know, the name of our podcast is Keen On Retirement. Normally, we talk about things like Social Security and retirement income. But today we're going to talk about a fun part of retirement.
Our guest today is Mark Wolf. Mark has been a close personal friend of mine for nearly 20 years. He also has a long history in the travel industry, and he is an expert on cruising.
Carissa and I returned from a European cruise a few weeks ago. It made me think about how nice it would be to have someone come on the show, especially someone as close as Mark, to talk about spending some time cruising in your retirement.
Mark has 50 years of experience in the travel industry and he shares some tips and pointers on how to get the most out of your cruising experience. Whether you've been on a cruise before or not, Mark has some great ideas and thoughts on how to make your next cruise your best cruise. After listening to the episode, if you would like to talk with Mark directly he can be reached at 913-236-7100.
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Insights On Going on a Cruise
1. Let your past experience inform where you go on your cruise.
If you're approaching your retirement and you want to take your first cruise, the Caribbean might be a market that's appropriate for you, said Mark. If you're a little more adventurous, you could take a combo land/sea cruise in Alaska and spend part of the time on the ship and part on a train. And if you like Europe but are looking for a different experience, consider a European River Cruise--they've been very popular the last few years.
2. Taking a cruise today is much different than "The Love Boat" from the 1970s show.
Today's largest cruise ships are multiple times larger than The Love Boat. In fact, these big ships are "destinations." They have specialty restaurants, extensive spas, health clubs with the latest equipment and personal trainers, rock climbing walls, wave simulators, and even ice-skating rinks. Some ships even have casinos with nightly entertainment that rivals Las Vegas. You'll never get bored on one of these big ships.
3. A river cruise is more like a floating hotel.
River cruises in Europe are more personal experiences. The ships are much smaller than the typical ocean-going vessel and you get to know many of your shipmates. You make numerous stops along the way and get a chance to see cities and towns that are off the beaten path. It's a much more intimate way to see a country and experience it up close the way the locals do.
4. If it's in your budget, consider hiring a local guide for your excursions.
Being in a foreign country can be a little confusing. On our recent trip, we hired local drivers to drive us around and show us some of the sights when we got off the ship. They also helped us navigate some of the local customs and we found it very beneficial. It's a big relief to have somebody who speaks the local language and can translate for you. Having a local guide tends to eliminate surprises that can crop up during travel and reduce your stress.
5. Pay close attention to your room placement on the ship.
To determine the best place on the ship to book your room, you have to consider your itinerary and the type of ship. For example, if you're making a transatlantic crossing, the best ride in the ship is mid ship and slightly lower in the deck. That will be the least "sea sick" part of the ship. Also, if you're on one of the new big ships with an entertainment center, you don’t want a cabin located over the disco that's booming until 4:00 in the morning. That can put a damper on your vacation, said Mark.
Mark Wolf on taking a cruise...
Travel begins with anticipation and continues with memories that last a lifetime.
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Bill Keen is a CHARTERED RETIREMENT PLANNING COUNSELOR℠ and independent financial advisor with more than 25 years of industry experience. As the founder and CEO of Keen Wealth Advisors, a registered investment advisory firm, he specializes in providing personalized retirement planning designed to help people thrive before and during their retirement years. With a passion for educating others, Bill regularly blogs about retirement planning, hosts the podcast Keen on Retirement, and has contributed to U.S. News and World Report, Reuters, Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch, Yahoo Finance, and other publications. Based in Overland Park, Kansas, Bill and his team work with clients throughout the greater Kansas City area and across the nation. To learn more, connect with him on LinkedIn or visit www.keenwealthadvisors.com.
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