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The inspirational sailing journey of an older couple

The world of cruising has always been filled with adventure, relaxation and the thrill of discovering new horizons. For one extraordinary couple, Marty and Jess Ansen, cruising isn’t just a pastime; it’s a way of life

The world of cruising has always been filled with adventure, relaxation and the thrill of discovering new horizons. For one extraordinary couple, Marty and Jess Ansen, cruising isn’t just a pastime; it’s a way of life. A recent interview with A Current Affair revealed the remarkable story of the Ansens, who embarked on a breathtaking journey that is nothing short of inspiring.

Imagine booking — not one, not 10, but — 51 back-to-back cruises! This adventurous couple did just that, making headlines with their marathon cruise adventure that began in June last year aboard the Coral Princess. Their journey has taken them across oceans, introduced them to diverse cultures and rekindled their love for cruising.

In a conversation with A Current Affair, 455 days into their remarkable journey, Marty Ansen exclaimed, “we’re on board longer than anybody else; the wheels change over but we stay on board.” This unyielding commitment to their voyage has allowed them to forge unique connections with the cruise ship and its crew.

“We welcome the different captains on board,” added Ms Ansen.

Their love affair with cruising dates back decades, but it was the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic that fuelled their desire to return to the open seas. 

“Eventually, I said to my agent, ‘look, whatever comes, book it’ and that’s how it got to be such a long cruise,” Marty explained.

Aboard the Coral Princess, they’ve discovered that cruising offers a remarkable alternative to traditional retirement homes. With all their meals included and their room cleaned daily, the Ansens have found that the cost of cruising is surprisingly competitive.

Ren van Rooyen, the ship’s hotel manager, has become a cherished friend.

“We always make a joke that I go away and I come back and it’s like coming to see my family — my mum and dad, again — they’re like my second mum and dad on board,” van Rooyen said.

This sense of camaraderie extends to the entire crew, who have become like family to the great-grandparents. The crew even orchestrated a delightful surprise for Jess on her birthday last month, highlighting the warmth and connection that can be found on board a cruise.

One might wonder how the Ansens have managed to keep their spirits high during 455 days on a cruise ship. According to the couple, it’s all about maintaining a routine. They kick off each day with an hour of table tennis together, ensuring they stay active and energetic. As Jess Ansen noted, table tennis provides the perfect balance, allowing her to indulge in the buffets on board.

Currently docked in Sydney for a brief restocking stopover, the Coral Princess is preparing for a round trip to Hawaii. However, the Ansens’ adventure doesn’t end there — another round-the-world cruise is on the horizon, promising more unforgettable experiences and new horizons.

The Ansen’s story is a testament to the enduring spirit of adventure and the boundless possibilities that life can offer, no matter your age. Their journey is an inspiration to us all, reminding us that life’s greatest adventures often begin when we set sail beyond the horizon.

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