94-Year-Old Navy Veteran Lived On Cruise Ship For Past 13 Years: “Life Couldn’t Be Better”
If you’ve never been on a cruise, you’re seriously missing out. Generally, they cater to older people, but the average age on cruises has recently dropped well below 50, meaning the younger generation is learning.
Although cruises are more expensive than cheaper vacation alternatives, it’s very hard to compare the luxury offered on cruises. Everything onboard is catered towards the passengers, who are tasked only with relaxing.
By the time you have to go home, you won’t want to leave, just like an ex-sailor whose story went viral.
He has lived on a cruise ship for over a decade, showing everyone younger than him how life should be lived. This is his story.
If you were to board the Seven Seas Navigator, you would probably walk by ex-U.S. Navy Captain Morton Jablin without thinking there was anything unique or different about him.
Unlike other passengers, though, he has become a fixture on the ship over the past 13 years he has lived on it. But why in the world is he living on a ship, specifically and exclusively this one? How does he afford it? The answer to these questions might not be what you’d expect
Captain Jablin was born in 1924 and was raised in Brooklyn, New York. Stereotypically, New Yorkers don’t see much of a need to leave the concrete jungle for anywhere else, yet Jablin is definitely an exception.
Ever since he joined the U.S. Navy in the ’40s, he has had a love for the high seas, so it’s not like his decision to live on a cruise ship came out of nowhere. And once you see how he lives, it’s a wonder that more people don’t do what he does.
“Overly Gracious And Kind”
The reason more people don’t go on cruises is most likely because of the cost, and we will get to how the captain can afford this lifestyle later.
When you look at his living conditions on the Seven Seas Navigator, money aside, it’s quite clear why Jablin has chosen to remain on the cruise ship. “I couldn’t achieve this lifestyle anywhere else,” he said in an interview. “The crew is overly gracious and kind to me. I can’t think of enough good adjectives. They are unbelievable.”
Every morning when he wakes up, Jablin sets off on a routine on the ship that is mostly the same, day after day. When you take a look at this repetition, it seems like an extremely dull and uneventful way to live, but keep in mind that Jablin is a has lived for a long time.
Now in his 10th decade, this lifestyle is just what he needs to keep him entertained at his age without overexertion. He starts with breakfast in his bedroom, while the other meals are eaten in the common area.
“Routine But Comfortable”
“My life is very routine but comfortable,” Jablin concludes. Indeed the ship has all the amenities to keep him happy. “The food is excellent overall,” he said, “but I prefer to eat Dover sole at both meals, every day.”
If you’ve never tried Dover sole, it is a delicious flatfish. Can you imagine eating the same thing not just every day, but twice a day? While we might get bored, at Jablin’s age he has tried so many new things that he just wants to stick with what he likes.
Perks And Limitations
Despite continuing to do the things he loves, Jablin has also had to give up on many of those things because of his advanced years. One of the perks of cruise ships is that you can disembark in different ports to experience totally different cultures.
Sadly, he can’t participate in these outings anymore with the other passengers because of his failing eyesight. According to interviews he has given, Captain Jablin is nearly blind. With all of his limitations, it’s impressive how he keeps in such high spirits.
“Already Been Everywhere”
Some challenges he can overcome, yet he figures he must cut his losses. And although hasn’t made landfall in years, it’s not the end of the world, as he said in an interview. “[My wife] Charlotte and I had already been everywhere,” he said.
But failing eyesight has made it hard for him to do other things he likes besides experiencing new places. “I used to get four newspapers and do Sudokus and crossword puzzles. But I haven’t been able to do that either for the last two years.”
It might sound like there isn’t much to do for “the captain,” as the crew calls him. Yet he still knows how important it is to keep his mind and body active, particularly in his advanced age.
Even though he is nearly blind, he is still able to navigate the decks of the Seven Seas Navigator. After years of experience on vessels, he knows exactly where he should and shouldn’t be. But his favorite deck is definitely the shopping deck…
Still Has Sea Legs
As Jablin explains, “I’m intelligent enough not to walk where I’d have a problem. Nobody is on that deck during the day, and as an ex-Navy man, I have my sea legs.”
The crew, meanwhile, has made sure that the gentleman has everything he could want in his room. The crew has set up a regal suite for him. “They’ve installed brighter lights in my cabin, handrails in the bathroom, and a special shaving mirror,” he said.
Not A Gambler
For entertainment, the captain goes to one of the decks where there are live performances of music from the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s. One place he doesn’t go is the casino, which is located on the shopping deck.
“I was never a gambler,” he explained. If he were one, chances are he wouldn’t be able to afford to stay on the ship, as the house wins eventually. As the story of Captain Jablin and his unconventional life went viral, more and more people praised him…
Articles about Jablin piqued the public’s interest, as people praised the captain for choosing such a luxurious lifestyle for himself. “This sure beats being cooped up in a nursing home,” one Facebook user pointed out. “And probably costs just as much.”
In response, another Facebook user said that “for many, it costs far less than a nursing home!” Indeed, national nursing home costs average at well over $3,000 a month, while that is the regular monthly fee to live on a cruise ship.
“Doing It Right”
“This man is doing it right, in style and on his own terms,” another Facebook user said. This sentiment was shared by someone else, who said that the captain “is a smart and lucky person. He does that because he can afford it.
This way, he doesn’t feel alone, has everything he can need at hand. He is living a luxury life, eating good food and so on.” That being said, other people pointed out the bad side to Jablin’s lifestyle…
What Could Be Wrong?
Looking at things a bit more critically, another Facebook user said, “The only bad things are the days with sea storms. I guess he will have [through] a lot of them.
I also guess that his life would be better if he could share his time with a friend, somebody to talk with.” Indeed, Jablin has a family who he doesn’t see that often because his location is constantly shifting. Despite this, he has a very close connection with them, and they visit him every time the ship docks in Miami.
His family isn’t the only one that comes to visit him when he docks, though. Sometimes old acquaintances come to visit, but as he admits, “At my age, most of my friends are dead.”
It’s easy to strike a conversation with him because he’s such a friendly guy, but he generally keeps to himself. Although he seems 20 years younger, the age gap between him and most others makes it difficult to relate. That being said, the crew keeps him surprisingly good company.
Staff On Hand
Besides keeping him company, “If I need a nurse or doctor, someone is in my cabin within five minutes,” he pointed out. “No matter what time of day, if I need something, someone is here in ten or 15 minutes.
If I weren’t on this ship, I would have to have someone living with me. Where else could I feel this secure and safe? Life on board couldn’t be better.” But just where is he getting the money for this lavish lifestyle?
An Overseas Idea
Jablin lived overseas for several years while working for the U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence and came back in 1946, bringing with him a plan that would bring him eventual financial success and stability.
He met a German manufacturer while he was abroad working for the Navy and the two became friendly. The pair discussed importing lace-making machines stateside, and when he got back to the U.S. this idea kept on going around in his brain. Initially, though, he didn’t pursue this venture.
After The Navy
After several good years in the Navy, Jablin needed to find work. He started off by working as a pharmacist, earning just $60 a week. This sounds like nothing, but you shouldn’t forget that a dollar went a long way back then.
In fact, it was well above the minimum wage. The lace idea was still in his mind, so he decided to do something about it. Jablin started his company eventually, but it was anything but smooth sailing the whole way.
Jablin, his wife Charlotte, and their two children ran the business successfully, ultimately. There were some serious threats along the way, most notably the entrance of cheap Chinese labor into the mix. This helped China become the leading manufacturer of lace in the world, displacing firms all over the U.S. and Europe.
Many factories closed down after the free market put companies across the world in dire straits, but not Joblin. Refusing to break, he weathered the storm and came out on top at the end.
Steering To Safety
Thankfully, Jablin steered his business on a course that would lead him to own over half of the lace-making machines in the U.S. Out of 70, he owns over 45. In 1989, though he made a big decision for the company: he was going to leave.
After working so many years in the Navy, in the private sector, and running his own business, the ex-Navy captain retired. He left his grandson in charge. The decision to live on a ship came later, only when one of the most significant constants in his life changed…
All the while Jablin was building his business, he and his wife would go on cruises all over the world. This lasted for over 50 years, over which the couple made friends and acquaintances everywhere.
“My wife, Charlotte, always traveled with me, and we made friends with other couples and crew.” Jablin was blessed to have made a good enough living to enjoy a life of leisure with his wife. Their love of traveling and cruises continued long into their years of retirement…
What Cruise To Choose?
Thanks to some friends they had, they learned about Radisson Seven Seas Cruises, now known as Regent Seven Seas Cruises. The Navigator, the ship Jablin currently lives in, is one of many ships in their fleet
Between all these ships, Jablin and his wife initially selected ships like the Voyager and the Mariner to set sail on. Eventually, though, they switched it up, preferring the Navigator. By 2000, this was the ship they chose every time they left for a cruise.
Seven Seas Navigator
The attraction of the Navigator was likely because it is the smallest vessel in the Seven Seas fleet. This means a more intimate relationship with both the crew and the other passengers, so the Jablins were happy to be listed in the manifest.
Everything was as perfect as it could be for the pair, leaving for long trips around the world while coming back home to Florida. But all that changed in 2005 with the loss of the one constant in Jablin’s life…
A Worthy Place To Retire
Charlotte died in 2005, leaving her family completely heartbroken. That being said, the tragedy was at least mitigated by the knowledge of the fulfilling life she lived that was full of love.
After she passed away, Jablin packed his bags one final time to come onto the Navigator permanently, returning to the place where they shared some of their best memories. Ever since making that decision, this sailor has woken up every morning knowing he made the right choice.