A 93-year-old woman sells everything and chooses to spend her retirement on a cruise ship

Most of us imagine living old age in a very “classic” way: perhaps we imagine ourselves sitting in the armchair at home, with the longed-for retirement and a series of quiet days spent doing our chores, participating in a group playing cards or joining a bowling club. One lady, however, has chosen a decidedly more “adventurous” lifestyle. After being widowed in 1997, a Florida woman decided to honor her late husband’s wishes and live forever at sea. She sold all of her possessions and chose to spend her old age on a cruise ship.

Lee Wachtstetter – or simply known as Mama Lee – worked as a nurse for decades. One day she meets Mason Wachtstetter on a Hollywood beach and they fall in love with her. The couple had four beautiful children with whom she loved to spend time together. It was Mason who introduced Mom Lee to the cruise. Before he died, Mason asked Mom Lee never to stop going to sea and she promised him. So, at age 86, Mama Lee sold her five-bedroom home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA, and she moved into a stateroom on a luxury cruise ship. Even today, at the age of 93, the old lady continues to live her old-age dream around the world. The widow, who often went on cruises with her husband during their 50-year marriage, lived on a Holland America Line ship until the company discontinued the hospitality program. She later moved to the Crystal Serenity and still lives on this 1,070-passenger ship.

Some of the ship’s 655 crew members have taken to calling her Mama Lee: “Nobody can say my last name, so I’m fine with that,” she said. Mrs. Wachtstetter rarely goes ashore, but she keeps in touch with her family via computer and visits her when the ship docks in Miami. Sure, she misses her children and seven grandchildren, but “they have their own families and I know they’re doing well and doing what’s right for them,” she said. Since she joined the ship, Ms. Wachtstetter has completed more than 200 cruises, including 15 round-the-world cruises, visiting more than 100 countries. The captain and crew said Mama Lee loves to dance. She dances every day, and this is perhaps one of the reasons why she looks so young and happy. According to her mother Lee, she is so pampered on the ship that she has never had a sick day. The crew makes sure she has everything she wants and needs. “I live a fabulous life and I’m sure my husband would be proud of my promise kept,” she said.

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