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Saturday, April 13, 2024

I sold all my belongings to live like a millionaire on a cruise ship – staff do everything for me but there’s a downside

MONICA Brzoska, 32, from Chicago, USA, is sailing around the world with husband Jorell, 36.

She tells us about her extraordinary life.

Monica Brzoska now lives on a cruise ship with husband Jorell

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Monica Brzoska now lives on a cruise ship with husband Jorell
She had her first cruise with Jorell in 2016 - and it was like a dream

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She had her first cruise with Jorell in 2016 – and it was like a dream

“These days, making decisions is tricky. Should I spend the day in the pool, the spa or exploring a beautiful beach?

I definitely won’t be doing laundry or cooking, because all my meals are cooked by chefs and staff change my bedding.

I haven’t stepped into a kitchen or used a washing machine for a year. I’m not a millionaire – I just live full-time on cruise ships.

Growing up in Chicago, I was desperate to see the world.

It was still my dream when I met my husband Jorell through a teaching job in Memphis, in July 2015. 

He was also a teacher and I instantly connected with his adventurous spirit and kind heart. 

A year later in October 2016, Jorell suggested going on a week-long cruise to visit Mexico, Belize and Grand Cayman. Those seven days were like a dream.

Over the next four years, we went on a further nine cruises, visiting Puerto Rico and the Panama Canal, Costa Rica and Turks And Caicos, before Covid hit.

Wanting to make our love official, we got married in July 2020 with a tiny ceremony.

Meanwhile, both my parents developed health problems, and watching them struggle made us see how fragile life is.

I went aboard the world’s biggest cruise ship – it had 7,600 guests, 7 swimming pools and 22 restaurants

When my dad Andrzej, now 68, needed a liver transplant in August 2022, my mum Lucyna, 60, said to me: ‘Don’t wait for retirement to follow your dreams. Do it now.’

That’s when Jorell and I had an idea. We already had a week-long Caribbean cruise booked for March 2023.

Instead of coming back, why not keep booking consecutive cruises for as long as we could afford to?

It sounds mad, but the numbers made sense. Accommodation, food and entertainment would be included – we’d only need spending money.

And because we’d been on so many Carnival cruises, we’d earned access to some amazing offers.

If we chose the cheapest cabins, our savings from the pandemic would allow us to book eight months of cruising for £7,900 – some trips paid for in full, others with deposits.

We didn’t know how long our money would last, but in the meantime we decided to make the most of every minute

Monica Brzoska

We could then use the rent from our three-bedroom house in Memphis to make extra payments as needed.  

Many cruises start and end in the same ports, so we knew we’d be able to disembark and easily board our next ship, or otherwise fly to the port. 

Friends and family were thrilled for us, especially Mum.

Of course, I was worried about leaving her and Dad, but I knew they supported us.

By the time we stepped on board in March 2023 in Miami, we’d left our jobs and sold nearly all our possessions. 

Monica and Jorell enjoying a date night on a cruise

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Monica and Jorell enjoying a date night on a cruise
The couple have been everywhere from Hawaii to Japan

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The couple have been everywhere from Hawaii to Japan

I instantly felt free. We didn’t know how long our money would last, but in the meantime we decided to make the most of every minute.

We quickly fell into the rhythm of our new life. Before, there had always been lesson plans, cooking and cleaning – but all of that was gone.

As we floated from the Bahamas to Honduras, I kept pinching myself.

At first, our cabins were always small and without windows, but on a huge ship that didn’t bother us.

My day always started with the 9am craft activity, plus I also loved the quizzes and never missed the comedy show.

Meanwhile, Jorell would relax, watch cooking shows or sit at the bar and chat to people.

Without the daily stresses of life, we rarely argued, but always told each other if we needed space or more time together.

We ensured we got dressed up for a date night each week at one of the fancier onboard restaurants. 

I feel like my whole life is a glimmer – it really is a dream come true

Monica Brzoska

As the months rolled by, we visited so many countries, with one 22-day cruise taking us from Australia to Fiji via Hawaii and Seattle.

We adored Japan and, as a history fan, I found Greece incredibly interesting. 

In the last year, we’ve been on 36 consecutive cruises.

People are amazed when they hear we live on ships, and I’m always happy to share the tricks we’ve learned to save money.

We’ve won excursion tickets, jewellery and spa treatments in onboard raffles, while on land, we do our own tours, using local transport to explore. 

There are challenges, of course. We miss our families, but know we can fly home if there’s an emergency.

With at least six months of cruises ahead of us, visiting the Caribbean and Australia, there is no end in sight.

In our old life we’d have moments we called ‘glimmers’, when everything seemed magical.

Read more on the Irish Sun

Now I feel like my whole life is a glimmer – it really is a dream come true.” 

  • Follow Monica on Instagram @life_by_any_means.

BTW

Royal Caribbean’s Icon Of The Seas is the world’s largest cruise ship, carrying up to 7,600 passengers.

In 2022, holidaymakers from the UK and Ireland took 1.7m cruises.

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