Elderly Man Has Lived On A Cruise Ship For 13 Years And Absolutely Loves It

The open sea is a calming force that some people can’t get enough of. That certainly is the case for Morton Jablin, a former Navy officer from Brooklyn. He and his wife spent years traveling on cruise ships and befriending fellow adventurers. After decades on various cruise lines, they settled on their favorite and became well-acquainted with its crew members. Years later, Morton is devoted to spending his final years aboard his home away from home.

A Brooklyn Boy Turned Navy Officer

A boy sits on a building stoop in Brooklyn.
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Rae Russel/Getty Images

Long before Morton Jablin ever dreamed of living on a cruise ship, he was a resident of New York. Born in 1924, Morton grew up in Brooklyn.

He developed a deep love for the sea and joined the Navy in the 1940s. As a Navy officer, Morton’s appreciation of the ocean became stronger than ever. He spent time abroad as a part of the Office of Naval Intelligence. It wasn’t until 1946 that he returned to the US.

He Started His Own Business

A textile worker operates a machine.
© Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images
© Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

When Morton returned to the states, he worked as a pharmacist, married a woman named Charlotte, and had two sons. As though he didn’t already have plenty on his plate, Morton also started his own business.

While overseas, he’d met a textile worker who he collaborated with on getting lace-making machines to the US. From there, Morton began his own lace-making business, which has managed to stand the test of time. He has since passed it on to one of his grandsons.

He And His Wife Loved Cruises

A couple dances on a cruise ship.
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Fox Photos/Getty Images

One of the things that Jablin and his wife bonded over was their mutual love of the sea. They would travel to various places together, preferring cruises over any other mode of transportation since they could be on the open ocean.

In the decades that the pair spent together, they traveled on dozens of cruises. They didn’t stick with the same line, as they loved to get different experiences and to compare and contrast what each company had to offer.

Becoming Close To Crew Members

Cruise crew members smile and wave to the camera.
Peter Bischoff/Getty Images
Peter Bischoff/Getty Images

Since Morton and Charlotte were such avid cruisers, they made tons of friends while aboard. They also got to know many crew members well. One crew member they’d become friends with eventually retired to work on a private yacht.

When he did, he suggested that the couple try the Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Charlotte and Morton took the man’s advice, and it’s a good thing they did. The couple loved the line so much that they stuck with it.

Trying Different Seven Seas Cruises

morton-ship
Pinterest & Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Pinterest & Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Thanks to the advice of their crew member friend, Charlotte and Morton were able to spend several years on different Seven Seas cruises. For the first five years, they split their time between the Seven Seas Mariner and the Seven Seas Voyager.

In the year 2000, the couple fell for the Seven Seas Navigator. The ship was the smallest of its kind, carrying only 500 passengers. They must have liked the intimacy because Morton and Charlotte ended up spending the next five years living on the ship.

After Charlotte Passed, Morton Remained On The Ship

An elderly couple stands aboard a ship.
In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images
In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images

When Charlotte passed, Morton decided that the Seven Seas Navigator was his true home. He still has a condo in Florida to house his belongings and to use as his permanent address, but the cruise ship is where he spends his time.

Morton told Forbes that he “couldn’t achieve this lifestyle anywhere else.” He went on to explain, “The crew is overly gracious and kind to me. I can’t think of enough good adjectives. They are unbelievable.”

He No Longer Goes Onshore

An old man walks on the beach.
Antoine GYORI/Sygma via Getty Images
Antoine GYORI/Sygma via Getty Images

Due to health restrictions that Morton has begun facing in his old age, he is limited in his excursions. He’s lost most of his eyesight, so he can no longer participate in onshore explorations.

Instead, he stays on the ship and takes comfort in having a familiar schedule. Having spent most of his life traveling alongside his beloved wife, Morton has seen just about everything already. It’s no longer the land that he longs for, but the open seas.

He Has A Very Strict Schedule

A planner is filled out.
Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images
Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Part of maintaining his safety and sanity is keeping a strict schedule. Every day, Morton takes his breakfast while in bed. He used to play games like Suduko, but he’s no longer able to manage that due to his eyesight.

Since he knows the ship like the back of his hand, Morton is able to get around quite well, and spends two hours a day walking. He takes his lunch and dinner in the main dining room and enjoys the ship’s musical entertainment.

Dover Sole Is His Favorite Meal

Sauce is poured over a grilled dover sole.
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At Morton’s age, he can do just about whatever he wants. Yet, he’s experienced so many things in life that know he likes to stick to what he knows. A prime example of this is his favorite meal, which he likes to eat twice a day.

For both lunch and dinner, Morton prefers the Dover sole. It may seem over-the-top to eat that much fish every day, but the man knows what he likes and he’s sticking to it!

Everything Is Arranged So He Can Find It

A waitress sets a dining table.
INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP via Getty Images
INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP via Getty Images

Morton always sits at the same table in the dining room and it’s always set up the same way, so he doesn’t have a problem finding the right spices and utensils. Given his loyalty to the luxury cruise line, they’ve done all they can to accommodate Morton as he ages.

They increased the brightness in his room and installed hand railings. They even supplied Morton with a special shaving mirror so he can stay as well-groomed as ever.

He’s Known As “The Captain”

A captain looks to sea from a ship.
JDHC Archive/Getty Images
JDHC Archive/Getty Images

Though Morton isn’t the captain of the ship, the crew makes him feel that special by referring to him as “the Captain.” He certainly has an authoritative way about him given his experience on the ship and in the Navy.

With all of his experience on the sea, he walks with ease on the cruise ship, exploring the shopping areas and throwback nightclubs. What Morton doesn’t do is visit the casino, purely because he’s “never been much of a gambler.”

His Family Comes To Visit Him

A man visits his father at a nursing home.
JUDY GRIESEDIECK/Star Tribune via Getty Images
JUDY GRIESEDIECK/Star Tribune via Getty Images

The two young boys that Morton raised with his wife Charlotte are now elderly men themselves! While Morton is in his 90s, his boys are in their 60s and have children and grandchildren.

This means that Morton is a great-grandfather, and has plenty of family to come pay him a visit. Since his family lives in Florida, they come onboard to catch up with him whenever the ship docks in Miami.

He Doesn’t Have Many Close Companions

An old man sits on a bench by himself.
Orlando/Three Lions/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Orlando/Three Lions/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Though Morton sees his family regularly, he doesn’t have many people in his day-to-day life who he’s close with. The crew members treat him wonderfully, and other passengers will swing by his table and strike up a conversation.

But most of the people Morton interacts with are the same age as his sons, if not younger. Since he’s limited on how much he can relate to younger generations, he keeps things light and friendly, but ultimately embraces his seclusion.

He Sometimes Runs Into Old Friends

An elderly man smiles at someone.
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

One thing that can be fun about his living on a cruise ship is when he sees a familiar face. After all the traveling he’s done, Morton sometimes will see an old companion who also loves to explore the world.

The two may have met on another cruise or in another country years, or even decades, ago. But like a transient city, people who arrive at the cruise are bound to leave. Only Morton sticks behind, comfortably residing in his home away from home.

A Different Kind Of Nursing Home

An elderly man walks with the assistance of a nurse.
STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP via Getty Images
STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP via Getty Images

Part of why Morton loves living on the cruise ship so much is because he doesn’t have to live at a nursing home. He boasts, “If I need a nurse or doctor, someone is in my cabin within five minutes.”

Even if it isn’t a medical need, Morton says that someone arrives at his beck and call in less than 20 minutes. Plus, the cost of living on the cruise ship is comparable to many nursing homes.

One Downside: Sea Storms

Waves crash against a lighthouse.
GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images
GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images

The only downside to living on a cruise ship is that the weather conditions out at sea can be risky. With all of the movies that have been made about ships sinking, you’d think that Morton’s odds of being in a dangerous storm are pretty good.

In reality, he’s lived a perfectly safe life during the several years he’s spent aboard. Plus, as a former Naval officer, he had to embrace the chance of things going wrong decades ago.

People Admire His Way Of Life

A man lounges in a hammock.
Getty Images
Getty Images

Those who have heard about Morton’s lifestyle or who meet him while onboard have often praised him for daring to be different. While many elderly men end up doing whatever their families think is best, Morton has held to his own convictions.

Not only is he living on his own terms, but he’s doing so in the lap of luxury. For some who are in a similar time in their lives, Morton’s story is inspiring.

His Story Is Well-Known

A woman logs into Facebook.
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Since many have become fascinated by Morton’s way of life, his story has gained popularity over the years. One Facebook user said that Morton is “doing it right,” referring to his freedom and fortune.

As his story spreads, people are realizing that their later years don’t have to look so traditional. There are still an array of options to chose from, even as you age. Granted, Morton has been very lucky to have the support of the crew and the financial backing to pull this off.

He Keeps Up To Date With Some Technology

An amazon echo sits on a coffee table.
Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images
Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images

While Morton may not be up-to-date with how his story has floated around the internet, he stays apprised of some technological advances. He has an Amazon Echo in his room to make it easier to gather information.

He also has a cell phone to stay in contact with his family in between their visits. For someone well into their years, Morton has managed to stay as connected as he needs to be, even while in the middle of the ocean.

His Life Couldn’t Be Better

A man poses on a cruise ship.
Getty Images
Getty Images

Morton couldn’t be happier with his decision to spend his final years on a cruise ship. We suspect that it reminded him of the adventurous times he’d spent with his wife over the course of their long marriage.

After securing a successful career and raising a family, Morton gets to enjoy time to himself without a care in the world. He even gets to enjoy his preferred meals in his favorite place. Best of all, he’s doing what he loves: cruising.