What’s it like to live a life at sea, not as a merchant marine, but in a constant state of cruising? We caught up with Mario Salcedo, who lives aboard different Royal Caribbean cruise ships, to find out.
How long have you been a frequent floater?
I started cruising in 1997, so almost 20 years. I have cruised pretty much to all the continents and places — North America, Alaska, South America, through the Panama Canal. I’ve done many Mediterranean cruises through northern Europe. I’ve done the Middle East and the Far East, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific islands.
Do you ever take time off?
There are 365 days in a normal year, and I’m on the ocean approximate 355 days cruising. People ask, “What do you do the other 10 days?” Those are isolation days. I may have to wait two or three days to pick up the next ship. Every year, I fly to Europe and take a cruise from Spain. I lose those days. If I’m not on the ocean, I’m in transit. Today happens to be one of those isolation days. I have been on a ship for two months.
Do you have a favorite ship?
The Freedom of the Seas, a 16,000-gross-ton megaship.
Do you work? Or do you have a great 401(k)?
I have not retired, even though my home is on a cruise ship. I have a small business that I created many years ago: I manage money for private clients. It’s a very small business — I have a dozen high-net-worth clients. I do all the work from the pool deck. Would you believe it — they give me a designated office, a table with four chairs, and a sign that says “Super Mario’s Office.” I spend about five hours a day working my business. The rest of the time I have fun.
How heavy is your passport?
Well, 70 percent of my cruises are in the Caribbean. You don’t need a passport. You have a passport card, a driver’s license or a birth certificate.
How’s your social life?
That’s an important question. Aside from business and scuba diving, a big chunk of my time is spent mingling and socializing. A lot of them are frequent floaters that I see repetitively. I also like to socialize with the crew. A good part of my cruise life is rubbing shoulders with the crew and also with the frequent-floater guests.
Any chances for romance?
Nowadays, there are a lot of singles on cruises, and there are a lot of opportunities to meet nice ladies and have dinner and drinks with them. So there’s opportunity to get romantic.