Hurricane Florence slowed down enough for me to make it home to North Carolina last week. In fact, our local area north of Charlotte was really spared compared to much of the state, which is still underwater as I write. My thoughts are with everyone affected. With regard to my work week, everything pointed me to cruises this week, especially long ones! There was an impromptu poll in one of our travel advisors forums asking us advisors to list our own number one dream trip. There was a decent majority who said, "a World cruise" please. Then I listened with great interest to Seabourn's SVP, Global Sales and Marketing, Chris Austin, describing his cruise line's latest offerings and plans, and an unbelievable world cruise was featured.
Now, World cruises are obviously for a very select market, mainly retirees, but they are incredibly popular and there is often a mad scramble for the top staterooms when new itineraries go on sale. Crystal Cruises for example launched their 2021 World cruise this week, and many of the top staterooms are already gone! So, if you have a World cruise on your wish list, whether in the next few years or many years down the road, make sure you plan it a LONG time in advance. Here's my list of what I currently consider to be the Top 5 World cruises.
Top 5 - World Cruises
1. Seabourn 2020 - 146 days (map above)
This ultra luxury small ship cruise with a max of 450 passengers visits dozens of marquee cities including Dakar, Abidjan, Cape Town, Durban and Mombasa; Madras, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh, Hong Kong and Sydney. A wealth of hidden gems that the large ships can't visit includes Mindelo, Luderitz (Namibia, below) and Ilha de Moçambique, Nosy Be and Praslin, Hamilton Island, Ile des Pins and Manele Bay on beautiful Lanai. Unlimited laundry included!
2. Cunard 2019 & 2020 - 35 to 113 nights
Both the Queen Victoria and the Queen Mary II (below) sail various length world itineraries. Perhaps the best route is the 2020 Queen Mary II cruise that visits 42 UNESCO World Heritage sites in just 99 days. Cunard is probably the most elegant and traditional world cruise offering available.
3. Viking 2019 - 245 days
Yes, 8 months on a luxury ship, visiting 53 countries and with 110 guided tours! Viking have taken the luxury cruise market by storm in the last few years and their cruise liners are far more upscale than their river cruise ships, it's really like 2 separate companies. Their Ultimate World Cruise on board the Viking Sun (below) lets you enjoy a full circumnavigation of the world and is officially the longest ever continuous World cruise itinerary.
4. Silversea 2020 - 140 days (map below)
Silversea are not shy in calling their offering for 2020 the Legends of Cruising World cruise. As the greatest rival to Seabourn in the ultra luxury small ship category, this itinerary is the first ever to visit all 7 continents which includes Antarctica. So if you'd like to swim in every ocean, learn of countless cultures and see innumerable natural wonders, all whilst being pampered with incredible personalized service, this is the one for you.
5. Oceania 2020 - 180 days
Still considered small ship cruising but with larger vessels than Seabourn or Silversea, Oceania are in the sweet spot of offering a little more on board without having the large ship crowds. This is an epic 180 day itinerary that transits the newly-expanded Panama Canal, rounds Cape Horn, and explores Alaska and the Aleutian Islands (below). You will circle South America from cloud-kissed Machu Picchu to the samba beat of Rio de Janeiro, encounter Africa’s magnificent wildlife, and explore the pagodas and tea houses of Japan.
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