How long is a cruise around the world? The answer has changed with time, but it used to take three years or so. Depending upon your perspective that might have been preferable to today’s faster journeys!
The first known circumnavigation of the Earth was a Spanish expedition that set out on August 10, 1519, to find a western route to the East Indies. A fleet of five ships, led by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, set sail from Seville with high hopes.
A bit more than three years later – on September 22, 1522 – just one of the ships was able to return to Seville after sailing around the world. The ship was full of valuable spices but was without Magellan, who had died in the Philippines. We regret his demise, but what a journey this must have been…just imagine weeks rather than days in port!
Today, the speed record for circumnavigating the globe is 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds, achieved in 2012 by French skipper Loïck Peyron on the Banque Populaire V, a sleek trimaran yacht (it’s built for speed, and definitely not for cruising).
Most world cruises are three to four months long
The length of an average world cruise lies between those two extremes.
Few are less than 100 days long: Crystal Cruises’ 2016 world cruise, at 102 days, is one of the shorter world cruise itineraries. More often, world cruises come in at about 120 days, including the 2016 offerings from Holland America Line, Cunard Line and Silversea Cruises. There are some exceptions on the lengthy side, too: Oceania’s 2016 world cruise will take a leisurely 180 days to visit dozens of fabulous destinations.
A world cruise really highlights all that’s best about cruising. Traveling by ship solves many of the logistical problems that trip around the world by air would involve. For example, your accommodations travel with you; you don’t have to scrutinize guidebooks to find a place to have dinner; you save on packing and unpacking time; and you avoid repeated airport security checks, flight delays and weather-related cancellations.
The luxury of time to explore what’s onshore
Sailing the world with fellow passengers, sure to become new friends, can add another level of fun to the voyage.
Together, you’ll be taking the time needed not only to sail the world and visit exotic ports, but to truly explore those destinations and appreciate their history and culture. Many world cruise itineraries feature overnight stays in major ports, giving you and your companions more time to immerse yourselves.
There’s variety in world cruise itineraries
Note that not all world cruises complete a full circumnavigation of the globe (those that do earn you the right to be called an “all-arounder”).
And, world cruises that do complete a full circumnavigation follow different routes. Cruise Specialists can help you sort out the options: for example, do you want to traverse the Panama Canal, or sail around Cape Horn? Many world cruises also tend to sail past Europe: if you want to visit some Mediterranean and Western European ports, we can help you find the right itineraries.
Don’t shy away from days at sea
Another itinerary feature to consider is the number of days at sea. Trust us, you wouldn’t want to spend every day of a world cruise on shore – you’ll need some “rest and reflect” time between port calls. But if you’d like to avoid very long stretches of days at sea, we can help.
For more insights on world cruises – from ship sizes and styles to unique ideas for shore excursions – talk with us. We’ll help make your world cruise dream come true!