World Cruise------How to pick the right Around the World Cruise for youPlanning the Around the World "Cruise of a Lifetime" needs the proper approach !
By Joan Dann
An Around the World Cruise is high on the "Bucket List" of many people. For many...it is the trip of a lifetime. For others.....it is something that they do year after year on the different versions of World Cruise itineraries. As the cruise lines...individual ships & their amenities....and length of voyage are all quite different.....there are some important considerations in choosing the right situation for you.
There is a World Cruise for almost every budget ! There are several wonderful cruise lines who offer World Voyages.....Regent Seven Seas, Silversea, Seabourn, Cunard, Crystal, Holland America, Princess. The first three are All-Suite Ships with all gratuities, cocktails and wine included. The last four lines listed offer a variety of different levels of accommodation and amenities. The first...Regent Seven Seas....is the most all-inclusive with all Shore Excursions also included. (2012 data)
All Cruise lines offer different itineraries (and will vary them from one year to the next for variety) and World Cruise or Grand Voyage lengths can vary from 70 to 116 Days or more. You may even choose to do a Segment Voyage....a short segment of the full World voyage, approximately 15 to 77 days. (The seasoned World Cruisers onboard may refer to you as "Seggies", as if you are a Pledge.) If this is all the time away or funds that you can afford....its a nice way to get a little taste of the excitement of this kind of voyage.
World Cruise people are part of a special club or Fraternity. They all seem to know one another ! Many return year after year to the same cruise line.....some move from one luxury line to another the next year. They know most of the staff .......arrive with suitcases upon suitcases (often shipping two suitcases ahead is included in your fare) and have a bustling social life onboard. (If you have ever wanted to feel like the Duke and Duchess of Windsor...you have come to the right place.)
"Oh that's too long" ...some will say. I know a number of people who park themselves in Florida for six months a year at the same condo. With a cruise...the stateroom stays the same but the view always changes. Besides....I know of few people at condos in Florida for the winter who have a Butler, a room steward and non-stop entertainment and fabulous food prepared for them daily. I remember one tall good looking gentleman who we got to know who had done seven World Voyages. I asked him if it got to be too long..."It takes 21 Days just to relax !", was his answer.
World cruisers really know how to enjoy the quiet and relaxing days at sea. (Great time to write a book !) Many are avid readers, needlepointers or Bridge players. Almost all make the most of the wonderful entertainment, fun parties, fabulous lecturers and lavish service while onboard. Some enjoy the solitude and the luxury of doing just exactly what they want to do. Some are avid Golfers....and take this opportunity to golf all over the world ! Many enjoy the Spa, Beauty Salon and the brisk exercise program. Some have gotten married at the beginning of a World Cruise on the ship....and enjoyed the long extended Honeymoon ! The fun of meeting new friends and sitting in the restaurant over lunch or afternoon tea until you are the last ones there--because you have gotten along so well and have found so much to talk about. The personal connection on these voyages is amazing. Once you settle in and unpack....your days are full and the time flies. Of course...all of the places you will go and the things you will see ! The exotic World locations will literally be at your fingertips !
For many, discovering the wonderful world of cruising is still in front of them. The classic 7 day voyages of the Caribbean are a good place to start cruising..and fall in love there. After discovering the wonderful food and service and ease of travelling from one port to another---with your clothes all in the same closet...you will be ready for more. The World Cruiser is looking for the long and the exotic. They know, for instance, that a ship can carry them to India and dip them in for three days....and then on to the next port of call. Just enough to get a taste of the country and see the highlights...without a long flight...and then back to the comforts of the ship.
"The comforts of the ship" are comforts indeed. The Western tastes and standards in food.........the English speaking staff..........the clinic onboard in the event you need them.....the unbelievable service.....the cabin steward who cleans your stateroom twice a day. Some swear that the steward must be hiding underneath their beds !
By the way..."Around the World" is not always the case. Some lines still do the Classic around the world itinerary but some lines now are offering very lengthy and intense "Grand" voyages.....a complete circumnavigation South America or Australia, for example. And all lengthy voyages are not always leaving in January or February. There are "Ring of Fire" cruises, for instance, that circle the Pacific Ocean on a lengthy voyage in the Fall---beginning in Alaska...on the Orient....down thru the South Pacific. (We once sailed with a group of "Ring of Fire" cruisers in Alaska who were on for 2 1/2 months.....home for a few weeks for the Holidays....and then back again for a World Voyage. The cruise line stored their belongings in between.)
As always, I strongly suggest working with an experienced well travelled Travel Agent who really understands cruises......World cruises......and YOUR cruise line of choice ! A well-connected agent is also able to provide additional amenities for your special voyage (other than those offered by the cruise line to World Cruisers or Past Passengers) such as special complimentary shore excursions and special cocktail gatherings from their exclusive travel agency. There may be Visas & Immigration requirements, required shots, trip travel insurance, cancellation policies to understand, dress codes and what to pack (there can be a great many formal affairs and traveling through many different climates), best time to book to take advantage of special savings etc. that require a specialist who understands them. I always tell people..."Book your cruise with someone who will think about you when you are gone." They will live your trip with you....and worry about you. This can be a priceless relationship !
And finally---GO while you can ! If you can afford it....have the good health to do so....(there is a clinic onboard !)......just go. Whether you are going alone..or with your spouse or others.......remember that you will make many wonderful friends among the special World Cruise people. There will be special parties, exclusive complimentary shore excursions offered by the cruise line just for those doing the full World Cruise. It wasn't all that long ago when there were barely computers onboard to use. NOW---you can stay so connected to all of your friends and family from the far corners of the world. (Remember...if you send letters home...you are your friends and families "eyes and ears" of places that they probably may never ever see.)
Remember that gentleman I mentioned earlier ? I remember him also saying..."The best friends I have are the ones I see year after year on the World Cruises." There IS a special bond among people who LOVE to travel ! As a general rule...they are well read, adventurous, interesting, fun, happy and open minded.
If you are a World Cruiser, I would love to hear from you.
Bon Voyage !
Joan Dann can be reached via her website at www.Dann-Online.com and email her at firstname.lastname@example.org .
She is President of Great Explorations ! Travel and a Cruise Expert....and a World Cruise Specialist. She is also Co-Owner of Dann Men's Clothing & Dann Formal Wear as well as other upscale shops. For 30+ years she has worked with the luxury customer ...their travels....their clothing...etc.