Widow Pays $164,000 Per Year to Live on a Luxury Cruise Ship
Lee Wachtstetter, an 86-year-old Florida widow, has been living onboard the Crystal Serenity for nearly seven years following the death of her husband. Known as Mama Lee by the cruise ship staff, Wachtstetter sold her five-bedroom Fort Lauderdale-area home to settle on the cruise ship.
The intrepid sailor has disembarked in so many different countries she stopped counting them at 100.
Her husband Mason, a banker, introduced her to cruising and the pair enjoyed 89 during their 50-year marriage.
Since his death from cancer in 1997 she has done nearly a hundred more and 15
Mama Lee finds Asian countries the most fascinating because they are so vastly different from her home nation, she told the Pensacola News Journal.
She said “The day before my husband died of cancer in 1997, he told me, ‘Don’t stop cruising.’
“So here I am today living a stress-free, fairy-tale life.”
Although she rarely bothers going ashore because she has been to the countries before, she admits the Grand Bazaar at Istanbul draws her in every time.
“You can find gorgeously regal or glitzy outfits there, perfect for formal or casual wear and not terribly expensive,” she said.
“I have to restrain myself every time because of my limited cabin space.”
She admits she misses her family, but stays in touch with her three sons and seven grandchildren via the web.
“I dance every night for a couple hours after dinner, have been doing it for years.
“And I’ve also trained with the ship’s dance instructors.”
But her luxury lifestyle has come at a cost – she has put on 25 pounds since taking to a life at sea.
Hubert Buelacher, Serenity’s hotel director said: “She’s just an amazing woman, one of a kind.”