For decades, a businessman named Mario Salcedo dedicated his life to work and climbing the corporate ladder. For a while, the raises, bonuses, and promotions were fulfilling enough and gave him enough incentive to keep toiling away in an office.
After a few decades of dedicating his life to work, Mario’s effort paid off when he was promoted to the director of international finance at a multinational corporation in their Miami office. However, after a while, Mario knew he didn’t want to live the rest of his life like he had been…
Mario had dreams of seeing the world and even starting his own small business, both of which were impossible with his already demanding work schedule. He knew that in order to live the life of his dreams, he wouldn’t be able to keep his corporate job.
Considering The Options
“I decided I had enough of the corporate world, and I wanted to spend the rest of my life traveling the world,” Mario explained. After thinking about his options and making sure he had enough funds saved to finance his future for a few years, Mario finally decided to follow his dreams…
After decades working tirelessly in business, Mario quit his job and went into early retirement in his mid-40s. With his schedule finally clear to do what he pleased, he started thinking about what kind of traveling he wanted to do.
“I didn’t know how I was going to travel, whether I was going to fly everywhere. All I know is I wanted to travel the world,” Mario said. Then one day, inspiration struck the retiree as he was walking around Miami…
Travel By Sea
Mario had been living in Miami for decades and had seen cruise ships come into port and dock countless times. However, after going into retirement, it occurred to him that going on a cruise ship might be a nice, and more leisurely, way to see the world.
The First Cruise
Mario went home and did some research. Shortly after, he booked his first cruise. He had no idea if he would even like being out on the ocean for days at a time, but after his first day on the water, he knew he had found something he would be passionate about for the rest of his life…
A Lifelong Love
“I tried my first cruise and I said, ‘That’s it, I’m sold’… and that’s how I got hooked,” said Mario, who immediately started looking into other cruises and more destinations as soon as he got back to his home in Miami after that first cruise.
Sampling The Cruise Lines
Mario went on as many cruises as he possibly could to try out different cruise lines to figure out which was his favorite. After 3 years of sampling different cruise lines, however, Mario still loved being on the water but was craving some consistency in his life…
“I was jumping from ship to ship. I felt like a gypsy… ship-hopping every weekend,” Mario said about those first 3 years of cruising. “[Then] I said this doesn’t make sense, this is really not a good quality of life. I need to have some stability in my cruising life.”
20 Years Later
By that point, Mario had determined that Royal Caribbean was his personal favorite cruise line, so in 2000, he started booking trips exclusively with Royal Caribbean. So far, Mario has been on about 1,000 cruises over the past 20 years, and more than 850 have been with Royal Caribbean…
Mario, now 68 years old, is considered a ‘frequent floater’, or someone who typically spends months on a cruise ship at a time. “I’m totally addicted and hooked,” Mario said about his love of cruises. “I cannot live on land. I’ve lost my land legs.”
52 Weeks At Sea
Rather than paying to live in a retirement home, Mario pays about $70,000 every year to spend about 52 weeks traveling the world on a cruise. When he’s not at sea with Royal Caribbean, Mario stays at his condominium in Miami checking up on his property and doing any errands that need to be done while on land…
Life In Reverse
“I live life in reverse. I have one week that I call my week off, or my vacation week if you want to call it that,” said Mario, who has earned enough reward points over the past 20 years to qualify him for reduced rates to help him afford his ‘reverse’ lifestyle.
The Small Business
Over the years, Mario also managed to fulfill his second dream of starting a small business while traveling the world by starting an online investment management business. On a typical day, Mario explained he works from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. “I spend five to six hours per day running the business in my pool deck office,” he said. “Without internet access, free or otherwise, I would not be able to live on a cruise ship…”
A Typical Day
When Mario is finished with his work, he usually spends his days doing activities like dancing, swimming, and seeing shows on the boat. While at port in the Caribbean, he likes to go scuba diving. While doing European cruises, he likes to tour as much of the city he can while at port.
“It never gets boring,” said Mario, who has earned the nickname ‘Super Mario’ since he’s been on 22 out of 24 Royal Caribbean ships. “Mario is famous. He is our absolute No. 1 cruiser,” said Gordon Marshall, Navigator’s hotel director…
A Local Celebrity
“He’s a good, well-known fixture on the ship … and he’s genuinely a very pleasant person to deal with,” Gordon added. “Everybody knows who Super Mario is, and he’s a very nice person,” said bar server Cristiana Iordan. “He doesn’t give a hard time. He’s just Super Mario.”
After being on a ship for the better part of the past few decades, Mario explained he no longer feels comfortable on land.“I’ve lost my land legs. The week that I spend on land, I don’t like sleeping in my bed. I miss the rocking of the ship,” said Mario, who has no plans of trying to get his land legs back. “I’m going to be on cruise ships as long as I’m healthy and as long as I’m having fun.”