|Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 in Sydney, Australia. Cunard will offer two world cruises in 2011.|
The world cruise is the gold standard in vacationing—what many work their entire lives to take. The 2011 world cruise season will be a good one ripe with new ships, shore excursions and hot destinations. Since each cruise line covers most of the globe, the only difficult decision will be choosing the right one.
|A Veranda Suite aboard Silversea’s Silver Spirit. The ship's Spirit of Discovery voyage will depart Los Angeles on January 19 and call at 60 destinations.|
Silversea’s Spirit of Discovery voyage will set sail from Los Angeles on January 19, 2011, aboard the line’s newest ship, Silver Spirit. We recommend this cruise for those seeking an intimate experience, as the vessel will carry no more than 540 guests on a 119-day journey, calling at 60 destinations, including 11 overnight port visits, in 25 countries.
We like this itinerary because it gives travelers a well-rounded experience, appealing to all tastes. Think beachside lounging in French Polynesia, adventure travel in Australia, cultural immersion in Asia, a glimpse into the ancient world in Egypt and classic Mediterranean sightseeing from Italy to Portugal.
Since not all travelers can take 119 days of vacation, Spirit of Discovery can be booked in shorter segments ranging from 44 to 117 days. However, for those booking the full journey, a treat of four complimentary world cruise events awaits. We like the overnight stay in the private Krungthep Wing of the Shangri-La Bangkok and the festive dinner in the sand dunes of Dubai’s Arabian desert.
|Regent Seven Seas' Prime 7 steakhouse aboard Seven Seas Voyager was part of the line’s multimillion-dollar fleet enhancement program.|
Nice Touch: Silversea has arranged for a wide array of world- renowned speakers to deliver lectures throughout the odyssey (think Dan Rather, famed archaeologist Zahi Hawass and historian and author Robert Lacey).
Sweet Suites: Each ocean-view accommodation comes with its own personalized butler. Guests also have the option of six dining venues and 24-hour room service.
Seabourn’s world cruise sets sail on January 5, 2011, also from Los Angeles, aboard Seabourn Sojourn. The ship will visit 46 ports on a 111-day voyage, which will conclude in Southampton on April 27, 2011.
This cruise is hot for its perks (and who doesn’t like those?). There will be 10 complimentary events and experiences throughout the journey for guests to sample from around the world.
Full-cruise guests will be treated to cultural performances and dinner in Tahiti; cultural delights at Werribee Park Mansion in Melbourne, Australia; cocktails at the top of Singapore’s giant observation wheel; a traditional souk in the deserts of Dubai; and a dinner at Château Kirwan in Bordeaux.
|A penthouse aboard Crystal Serenity, whose Grand Exotic Expedition in 2011 is 110 days long and includes 75 new shore excursions.|
Rest assured, there are some tantalizing treats for even those who book shorter segments (from 16 to 69 days), such as a Colonial Fair in Akaroa, New Zealand; a Balinese festival in Padang Bay, Bali, Indonesia; a cultural evening in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; a taste of local cuisine in Kerala, India; and an afternoon tea and traditional music at a Bedouin camp in the Sinai desert.
Pre-Cruise Perk: Full-cruise guests are entitled to a pre-cruise bon voyage event with dinner and an overnight in Los Angeles. A shipboard credit of $1,000 per guest is also granted.
Crystal Cruises is no new kid on the block when it comes to world cruises as it will be ringing in its16th year of world cruising in 2011. Their Grand Exotic Expedition is a 110-day voyage departing Los Angeles for London aboard Crystal Serenity. We hear that the coming year’s itinerary includes more than 75 new shore excursions, taking their tally to over 300. If you want it all, Crystal is the way to go.
There’s a little something for everyone in its diverse experiences. Unleash your inner crocodile hunter in Darwin, Australia, where guests can cage dive with crocs in Crocosaurus Cove.
Crystal’s 2011 itinerary also pays homage to West African heritage and history, with several adventures, including a visit to Gorée Island, known for its historical links with slave trade; attending a traditional voodoo ceremony in the village of Sanguera, Togo; and a traipse through Kakum National Park in Ghana.
Time-conscious? Look into the variety of segments, ranging from 12 to 21 days that can be booked from January 17 through April 17.
|Seabourn Sojourn, the line’s newest ship, which launched June 5, will operate a 111-day world cruise beginning next January.|
Crystal also prides itself on its star-studded roster of onboard visitors. Think Olympians Dara Torres and Dorothy Hamill, Wayne Newton, Rita Moreno and Doris Roberts, Roger McGuinn and scores of authors, historians and other renowned figures.
Departing from San Francisco is Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Seven Seas Voyager. The all-suite, all-balcony vessel sets out on January 14, 2011, and wraps up in either Rome (131 nights) or London (145 nights).
Seven Seas Voyager is still sporting a fresh look after its multimillion-dollar renovation in 2008, which included the creation of Prime 7 steakhouse, a brand-new lounge, and more casual dining options.
New on the menu: This cruise line’s 2011 itinerary has been spiffed up with the addition of two new ports. Cruisers will disembark at Sihanoukville, Cambodia, which is the gateway to Angkor Wat, and Balikpapan, Indonesia, where guests can explore Lawi Lawi. Note: All shore excursions are free and unlimited.
Guests signing on for the full itinerary have First Class and Business Class air paid for and are treated to an overnight bon voyage gala in San Francisco on January 13.
Star-Gazing: Broadway star Rita Moreno and CBS sportscaster Jim Nance will be on the 25-night Sydney-to-Beijing segment. Jack Hanna, of wildlife fame, will join the cruisers on the 20-night Dubai-to-Civitavecchia leg.
Finally, Cunard is offering its world cruise itineraries on two of its classic ships, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary 2. The global odysseys together will make 57 ports of call in 34 countries.
The Buzz: Queen Elizabeth will leave for its maiden world voyage on January 5, 2011, and sail for 103 days. Her first world cruise will be celebrated with a circumnavigation, including overnights in Sydney, Hong Kong and Dubai. Other stops of note include New Zealand, Bali, Egypt, Greece and Portugal.
Queen Mary 2, a four-year veteran of the world cruise, will begin its voyage from New York. Overnight ports include Cape Town, Sydney and Hong Kong. We hear that she will be making maiden calls at Beijing and Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt.
Segment cruises can be booked on both vessels. Guests can book 12- to 25-day legs aboard Queen Elizabeth and 15 to 25 days on the Queen Mary 2. Nice Touch: Guests can combine consecutive segments to create as long an itinerary as their schedules permit.