A worldwide cruise redefines the trip of a lifetime. Spanning continents and taking in some of the world’s most spectacular and fascinating destinations, an international cruise is a once in a lifetime experience. International cruising is a terrific extended holiday, with cruise lengths varying between 75 and more than 100 days.
Passengers who choose international cruising tend to be in the over 55 age range. This is because most passengers on a worldwide cruise are retired, with the time to embark on such a wonderful journey.
International cruising offers delectable dining experiences with a level of gourmet dining comparable to any other luxury cruise liner. Menus that reflect the region of world you’re travelling in, special dining events and excellent snacking and beverage options throughout the day, all delivered with the outstanding service of an attentive crew.
Tips For First-Timers
You don’t have to be an experienced cruiser to take a long voyage, but it does help to love cruising; committing to months at sea without knowing if you’ll enjoy the experience is a big gamble.
Seasoned world cruisers tend to be repeat customers, often booking the same ship and cabin year after year, and creating lifelong friendships with crew and fellow passengers.
As a new cruiser, it’s a good idea to get a feel for life at sea by taking two or three short cruises with a couple of different cruise lines. That way, you’ll not just find out if you like cruising, you’ll also learn what style of cruising you prefer. Aboard a new ship on a long-haul itinerary is not the time or place to experiment with something new, only to discover you’ve made a less-than-ideal choice.
A Home Away From Home
You should take into consideration the size and style of the ship. The variety of ships offering comprehensive world cruises was once limited, but today choices include everything from small ultra-luxe ships like those in Silversea’s fleet to giant iconic ships such as Cunard’s Queen Mary 2.
Small ships have their advantages, offering a more personalised service and the ability to fit into small ports. So if you’re well travelled, a small ship with a more exotic itinerary might be more suitable than a journey on a large liner. Still, it’s worth noting that small ships are also more prone to the whims of the ocean and offer less-varied facilities, restaurants and entertainment.
Splurge on the biggest and best cabin you can afford. This space will be your home for some time, and a balcony can be a blessing if you want some private time outdoors. At any rate, it pays to decide early – the best deals and cabins on world cruises sell fast, often soon after bookings open, which is usually about 18 months in advance.
Take Your Time
Most world cruises travel for more than 100 days and give you plenty of opportunities to go ashore. Some lines even offer hotel stays and extended touring at certain ports. Of course, you’ll spend numerous days at sea – the ship has a lot of ocean to cover! – so make sure you’re comfortable spending that much time away from land.
Sea days provide an opportunity to brush up on your skills and interests by attending expert lectures and participating in onboard activities. And if you’re looking to relax, you can indulge in spa treatments or just curl up on deck with a good book.
A world cruise has another important bonus: you can disembark for in-depth, multi-night excursions, either during an overnight call or by rejoining the ship at its next port. Yes, these trips can be expensive, but they enrich the experience and offer an interesting break from onboard routine. If you’re looking for such options, check the itinerary.
Several round-the-world cruises offer voyages you can join for just a sector or two. Lines often divide their global cruises into sectors that range anywhere from two weeks to a month or more. This flexibility is a great way to dip your toes into the world-cruise experience, particularly if time and money are issues.
The ‘boomerang cruise’, a recent development, combines two ship journeys in the one trip. For example, Queen Mary 2 would go from Southampton to Sydney, then Queen Elizabeth would do the return trip. Sometimes the two ships will be in port together, so you transfer on the same day; at other times, the cruise line accommodates guests for a few days until the second ship arrives.
What To Wear
After choosing a ship, an itinerary and a cabin, packing has to be the most difficult task facing today’s circumnavigators. Sea voyages demand clothes for warm, cold and wet weather, and evenings call for formal, semi-formal and smart-casual wear, all of which will need to last months.
Happily, travel usually involves shopping, so sailing the world can see a whole new wardrobe sail into your closet. A somewhat less-happy fact is that many people gain weight on a cruise, especially during months at sea – but that does make for a good excuse to buy new outfits!