There are only a few more ambitious travel experiences than a three to six-month vacation that includes more than 20 countries. The magic of traveling to the most iconic destinations in the world on board of impressive luxurious ships, just can’t be matched.
It’s an experience that offers the opportunity to explore lively capitals and remote villages over an extended period, all from the comfort of your ship. The appetite for world cruises and more destination-focused “grand voyages” has grown and that’s why most leading providers now offer such trips.
Some people relish in familiarizing themselves with native currency, finding local hotels and savoring unknown foods, others, however, are more reluctant in emerging into unexplored destinations.
A key selling point for world cruises is the ability to learn about a new culture and get a real local experience during the day and then come back to the ship in time for a shower, an aperitif and dinner of choice.
There is also a population called “destination-collectors” that opt a long journey aboard a ship to get to places that are difficult to reach overland. For that reason, cruise lines often strive to add to their itineraries new remote ports of call, like Safaga in Egypt, Lautoka, the second largest city of Fiji, or the Galapagos.
What kind of world cruise is the best for me?
The concept of a world cruise used to be very simple: you stepped aboard a ship in Port A, sailed eastwards or westwards for some months and came back to Port A. Now, beyond this “standard” around the world trip, there are additional itinerary options, such as:
There is the possibility to book a portion of a complete world cruise, thus joining in for part of the trip ranging from two weeks to several months. This is an excellent way to sample a world cruise experience when you are tight on time and money. Some people as well book a segment as a try-out before deciding on a world cruise. For others, joining for one leg is an opportunity to enlarge their work or holiday trip at sea to relax and get cuddled in a luxurious environment while discovering some new places.
Many cruise lines offer lengthy journeys of 60-90 nights that may start in one continent and end in another or stay focused on a single continent or hemisphere.
These “grand voyages” allow travelers to dip into long cruises, to specific parts of the world that are appealing to them. Often, these cruises hit more ports of call and fewer days at sea (thus more sightseeing and less long navigations). Australia, Asia, and South America are the most popular destinations for these trips in “grand” style.
A novelty on the world cruise market is the “boomerang” cruise, which combines two ships in one trip (usually of the same cruise line). At the moment, the two ships are staying in the same port, you will make a transfer (the crew will help you with your luggage) to the new ship that will bring in new faces, dining options, activities and scenery for the second half of your journey. It also happens that the cruise line will put you up for a few days until your second ship arrives which can be a good way to spend some time in a city that you’ve always wanted to see.
What about the costs?
You may already guess that such cruises don’t come cheap. A high-end room on a world cruise can cost as much as $200,000 per person, and other longer cruises may cost between $10,000 and $60,000 per passenger.
But many argue that even five to six-figure cruises are a relative value when you consider what it would cost in flight tickets and (equivalent luxurious) hotels to get to and stay in these remote destinations.
Who is making world cruises?
World cruises require a lot of time away from home that many people with a limited number of vacation weeks a year, don’t have. Still, world cruises aren’t entirely populated by retirees. Internet access, for example, is making long cruises increasingly popular among entrepreneurs, who can turn the ship into a virtual, floating office. And even families opt to spend part of their sabbatical aboard a ship to make an exciting but a safe and trouble-free journey with their kids.
Once you’ve made the decision to go on this adventure journey, it is time to start preparing. Even though a full pack of necessary travel documents from the cruise line will arrive automatically on your, there are quite some things to take care off before leaving. Get your passport and visas ready, and check if you need an additional travel insurance (many policies only cover personal trips of less than 30 days).
Pack appropriately. You’ll need clothes for warm, cold and wet weather, as well as formal, semi-formal and smart casual evenings. But don’t worry, most cruises have laundry services aboard. Grab some good books for the days at sea, and of course, make sure to have your camera (and batteries!), your journey will be filled with stunning scenery.