Embarking on a cruise is a something like beginning a class. Within the typical two-week itinerary, you’ll see the region’s most celebrated art and architecture, enjoy an array of regional cuisine and gain exposure to traditions, language and history through up-close encounters with the local culture. Perhaps you’ll meet some new friends and you’ll round out the syllabus with a handful of party-stopping stories and album-worthy pictures.
But where the typical cruise is one class, a world cruise is the whole degree. The stakes are high — itineraries ranging from 90 to 245 days come at a steeper cost than a typical cruise — but the rewards are exponential. Venturing tens of thousands of miles. Exploring dozens of ports, both large and small. Traversing the world’s most legendary seaways. And in some cases, a literal circumnavigation of the entire globe. World cruising is pushing travel to bold new frontiers, challenging not only how we travel, but also why.
The environment is reminiscent of freshman orientation — the first day of school for an effervescent group of new retirees, sabbatical travelers and those explorers bold enough to sign up for such an intrepid itinerary. On the first day of a world cruise, there’s an excited energy in the air that’s markedly distinct from a traditional cruise. New neighbors mingle in the hallways, posting maps and photos on their doors as butlers deliver luggage to each stateroom. Onboard hosts help familiarize guests with the ship and introduce them to staff and fellow cruisers over an elegant Champagne reception.
Being on a ship for four months is something like moving into a new apartment, meeting the neighbors and checking out what the neighborhood has to offer. Inside each stateroom, the amenities are also different. Because many world cruises depart on smaller, more intimate ships, travelers can expect an elevated experience from the average cruise — from walk-in closets to larger balconies and upgraded bathroom amenities — that mirror the comforts of home in a more luxurious setting.
It’s expected that the destinations on a world cruise are transformative — witnessing the landscapes shift from one port to the next, visiting places unreachable on a typical weeklong cruise, taking part in unique shore excursions lead by expert naturalist guides — but just as inspiring as the time in port is the time in transit. Sea days not only provide time for much-needed relaxation between active days rambling through colorful Indian bazaars or hiking the purple peaks of Patagonia, but they also provide the opportunity to cultivate new hobbies you might struggle to find time for back home. Whether it’s a crash course in photography or oil painting, learning another language or finally getting around to the yoga class you’ve been meaning to take, world cruises afford the time — as well as the professional instruction and high-quality class materials — to become more deeply immersed in ongoing self-development at a level that’s not achievable at home or on a traditional cruise.
Imagine an evening at a five-star restaurant, savoring a sumptuous, Michelin-grade meal before heading out to a Broadway-style performance and perhaps, if it’s an especially ambitious night, cocktails and dancing to top it all off. Unless you’re living just off 42nd street in Midtown Manhattan, chances are that this isn’t the typical evening in your own neighborhood. On a world cruise, however, this could be your nightly routine. Alternatively, you could just as well spend every night curled up on your balcony with a glass of wine, watching the sun melt into the sea.
Part of what makes world cruises so captivating is the sense of freedom — not to mention relinquishing cooking and cleaning duties for months on end — to do whatever you want, whenever you want. Plus, many itineraries depart directly from the United States, meaning you’ll get to skip long transatlantic flights and start relaxing (or partying) right away.
If you’re torn between a traditional cruise and a world cruise, there’s an undoubted appeal in the grand escape of the latter — in addition to the progress you’ll make with that scratch-off world map. What’s more, sharing these experiences with a small group of like-minded individuals is inherently bonding. Many world cruisers become lifelong friends who go on to visit each other across the country and even co-plan future voyages. From the destination to the onboard experience and everything along the way, a world cruise is miles from a typical vacation, both figuratively and literally.
Eager to embark on a life-changing journey around the world? Give one of our travel agents a call to get started. Not only do our agents act as a treasure trove of tips and recommendations for every stop of your journey, but also through their professional relationships with industry-leading names, you’ll find yourself savoring plush amenities and luxurious perks on the house.