Lee Wachtstetter, an 86-year-old Florida widow, sold her five bedroom Florida home and became a permanent luxury cruise ship resident after her husband died. She’s been aboard the Crystal Serenity for seven years. Her husband introduced her to cruising and the couple went on nearly 90 cruises during the span of their marriage. “The day before my husband died of cancer in 1997, he told me, ‘Don’t stop cruising.’
She stopped counting how many countries after she reached 100. And she rarely bothers going ashore nowadays because she’s most likely already been there. Plus she loves the peace and quiet of having the ship all to herself when most people go ashore.
Istanbul is an exception. “I can’t resist the Grand Bazaar,” Wachstetter said. “You can find gorgeously regal or glitzy outfits there, perfect for formal or casual wear and not terribly expensive. I have to restrain myself every time because of my limited cabin space.”
What she misses most is her family, but manages to keep in touch with her three sons and seven grandchildren via laptop and visits them whenever the ship docks in Miami.
She estimates living on theSerenity this year will cost her just above $160,000. This includes her cabin, meals, gratuities, entertainment and other activities.
She’s discovered another hobby: dancing. Some cruise ships offer dance hosts for passengers traveling alone.”My husband didn’t dance, just didn’t like to, and encouraged me to dance with the hosts. She previously lived on a Holland America line for three years but left when they stopped offering dance hots.
Nightly dinners include meeting new passengers all the time for Mama Lee. “She’s put on 25 pounds since coming on board, she confides, and has been on a fruit and vegetable liquid diet, trying to shed them.
Most days Mama Lee can be found in the Palm Court lounge doing needlepoint work.”It’s my second love, have been doing it for 50 years. I’ve even helped teach it to some passengers. Everything I make I give to crew members. Gives me great pleasure.”
Full story: http://www.9news.com/