The news is in and the news is sad: Australian seniors—your mum and dad, make no mistake; now or in the future—are addicted to cruises. Can't stop, won't stop. Not while the buffet's hot and the divorcee cruise ship comedians are even hotter. Because it's their time now. To drift down the River Danube; to sup on wines from the grapes engorged at its edge, to put their orthotics down on quaint fucking cobblestones, however often they please.
But what of the children? Michael Hutton, head of wealth management at HLB Mann Judd, tells news.com that the name for all this is "spending the inheritance." Cruise addicts' kids are "doing it pretty tough with mortgages and school fees when parents are living it up," he explains. "Sometimes their children are giving them a hard time about their spending because the children already think of the money as theirs.”
Australia has 3.7 million over-65s. They are dancing naked around the computer, smashing the "Book" and "Confirm" buttons in a trance. Avocado-smeared offspring peer through their windows, weeping.
“They get addicted to cruising,” reiterates concerned financial planner, Patrick Canion.
Social researcher Mark McCrindle says older people could even run out of money “before they run out of life”. There is a big trend of “downageing”, he says—that's when people feel and act younger than they are. “That’s why we are seeing the rise of the bucket list, the travel and the spending splurge.”
Precisely 1,281,159 Australians took a cruise in 2016. The growth of 222,378 passengers from the year prior "is the biggest increase on record" according to an industry report by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). “Australia’s ocean cruise passenger numbers have increased by an average of 19.4 per cent annually since 2007," said CLIA Managing Director, Joel Katz. “In 2016, Australia achieved the equivalent of 5.3 per cent market penetration. That’s one in 19 Australians taking a cruise, making this the highest per capita ratio in the world."
Listen, I take addiction seriously. It's a disease. But let's not cruise-shame seniors. They raised your little ass; let them drift down a goddamn river once in a while. And anyway, who says it's better to run out of life before money, than money before life? Luckily we, inheritors of the
earth our parents' cruise portraits, may never know.
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