A cruise of the world is on many wish lists, even for people who have never been on a cruise. Consider this brief description of Holland America Line’s 2017 Grand World Voyage: “Without a single international flight, explore 36 ports of call and stay overnight in 10 magical cities during our 2017 Grand World Voyage.”
It’s enticing! If you’ve been wondering “should I do a world cruise?” because you’ve heard all the amazing stories of adventure and love time on the water, today we’re providing some great things to think about first.
WHAT IS A WORLD CRUISE?
Most world cruises are 90 to 120 days, usually calling on five or more continents. Several cruise lines offer world cruises; most are premium or luxury lines, with country club-style dress codes. They most often use mid-size ships, which carry about 600 to 1,500 guests. It’s not unusual to find families and young professionals on a world cruise, but they mainly attract older adults who have the time and money to treat themselves to this fabulous form of travel.
Some itineraries actually circumnavigate the globe, which will give you the status of “all-arounder.” Others don’t make a complete circle, but explore a significant part of the world. Most world cruises depart in January (a great way to start a new year).World cruise fares provide tremendous value for a three-to-four-month voyage; still, it’s definitely an investment. If you’ve never cruised before or have taken only short cruises, how can you figure out if a world cruise is for you?
TIPS FOR TESTING THE WATER
If your cruise experience is non-existent or limited, we highly recommend taking a shorter cruise before signing up to sail the world. Frankly, we think that anyone would love a world cruise: but, a shorter cruise can help you decide the type of world cruise you will enjoy the most. It will also give you some experience in preparing and packing for a cruise, familiarize you with lifeboat drills and other safety procedures, and acquaint you with shipboard life.
Here are some tips for choosing a “test” cruise that will help you evaluate your world cruise choices:
Select a cruise line with a world cruise that interests you.
Ask your cruise travel professional to help you compare the world cruises offered by a variety of lines, including Crystal, Cunard, Holland America, Oceania, Princess and Silversea. Among these fine cruise lines, there are small but important differences in ship size, dining style, dress code and what’s included in the basic fare. Your test cruise will be an opportunity to make sure you enjoy the style and atmosphere of a specific line.Find an Itinerary that features some days at sea.
Many cruise itineraries include at least one “day at sea,” which is a day with no port calls. It’s a great opportunity to relax, explore the ship and reflect on what you’ve seen on shore. World cruises have days at sea, too, and may have several in a row. Your test cruise will be a good chance to find out if you enjoy days at sea and want lots of them, or as few as possible, on your world cruise.
Go somewhere a bit exotic.
One of the attractions of a world cruise is going to faraway places, including some that are off the beaten path. A shorter cruise can test your liking for exotic locales, where English is not the first language, the currency is different and the cuisine is unfamiliar (and most often delicious). Your cruise travel professional can help you select a destination in the Caribbean or Mexico that will test your adventurous spirit.Study your stateroom.
Pay attention to the features of your stateroom and how much you use them. For example, if you reserve a stateroom with a balcony, do you use it every day or would you be just as happy without one? Can you get along without a tub in your bathroom, or is it a must? Do you like being close to an elevator, or would you rather be in a quieter location? Remember that, on a world cruise, your stateroom will be your home base for three months or more: you’ll want to be comfortable there.
For lots more guidance and good advice on selecting a test cruise – and then, the world cruise of your dreams – talk with Cruise Specialists!