Silversea will sail a 115-day World Cruise in 2016 that would visit 31 countries, including Australia.
The pinnacle of a sailing adventure for many travelers is a full World Cruise, a lengthy exotic voyage that often encompasses more than 50 ports and spans 100-plus days. Luxury lines also create exclusive specialty events and programs ashore for full World Cruise guests. So what’s ahead for 2016?
Around the World in 180 Days: For avid cruisers who’d love to “live” at sea, not just vacation on it, Oceania Cruises offers the next best thing—a 180-day World Cruise on the 684-guest Insignia, departing January 4, 2016, from Miami. Guests will visit 92 destinations and have more port time flexibility with 14 overnight stays in ports.
Taking a southern and then easterly global route, Insignia sails first to the Caribbean and then continues on to South America. Along the way, it calls at ports in Trinidad and Tobago, French Guiana and Brazil. Then it’s a trans-Atlantic crossing to Africa for Angola, Namibia, South Africa and Mozambique, before heading on to Asia where guests will have overnight stays in Hong Kong, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi (Halong Bay) and Xiamen, China, along with two-night stays in Rangoon, Myanmar, and Shanghai, China.
We suggest travelers enjoy Hong Kong’s street markets, which combine shopping, cuisine and local color. At Hong Kong Island’s “Upper Lascar Row,” better known as Cat Street, we like browsing the antique stores, curio shops, and art galleries with everything from Ming dynasty furniture to ancient snuff bottles and Cultural Revolution propaganda posters. Good bargains often include jade, silk, embroidery and wooden handicraft items.
Another one-of-a-kind experience? We’d recommend a stroll through Kowloon’s Temple Street Night Market; it’s fun to bargain for trinkets, tea ware, electronics, watches, menswear and jade, as well as try the claypot rice and seafood noodles at the market’s stands.
The Crystal Serenity’s Vintage Room promotes wine education and the vast wines available on board.
One Insignia maiden call is at the Australian port of Cooktown, where British Explorer James Cook landed in 1770; one activity for maritime buffs ashore is to explore the James Cook Museum which boasts an original cannon and anchor from his fleet. Insignia also sails to Hawaii, Los Angeles, through the Panama Canal and returns to Miami on July 1, 2016.
Among the many exclusive shore events planned for Oceania’s World Cruise guests are a patriotic evening onboard the USS Missouri at Pearl Harbor and a “Royal Balinese Temple Feast.” In the latter, guests will enter the Taman Ayun Temple via a torch-lined entrance, listen to a traditional gamelan orchestra, meet Mengwi villagers in traditional attire and observe the kecak chant, fire dance and legong dance prior to the feast.
Storied History, Three Voyages: Operating World Cruises since 1922, Cunard Line has sailed more global circumnavigations than any line. In 2016, it will operate three different World Cruises, one on each of its ships. All will depart roundtrip from Southampton, U.K., on January 10, 2016, but head to different parts of the world.
The “Venetian World Odyssey” on Silver Whisper will conclude with two nights in Venice.
Seeking a full global circumnavigation? Flagship Queen Mary 2 will make her first such voyage in nine years on a 120-night west-bound voyage with eight maiden calls. In South America, the ship will overnight in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Punta del Este, Uruguay, then sail around Cape Horn to Chile. Then it’s across the South Pacific with a “sail-by” of Easter Island and calls in Tahiti. Spending additional overnight stays in such ports as Sydney, Australia, and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, it will also transit the Suez Canal en route home to Southampton.
Queen Victoria will operate a classic westbound circumnavigation of the globe with nine maiden calls. During a 120-night World Cruise, the ship will sail through the Panama Canal, provide scenic cruising in Milford Sound, New Zealand, and have overnight calls in San Francisco, CA; Sydney, Australia; and Cape Town, South Africa.
The longest Cunard voyage at 121 nights will be operated by Queen Elizabeth. It’s recommended for those eager to explore Asia in depth. Port calls are planned in Japan, Korea, China, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines.
One perk to pamper the senses? Guests will go ashore in Japan during the annual Cherry Blossom season, when the lovely, fragrant pink flowers are expected to be in bloom. Other benefits to this cruise are two nights overnight in Cape Town, South Africa, plus overnight stays in Sydney and Singapore.
The ship will transit both the Suez Canal and the Dardanelles. During an Istanbul call, we recommend travelers taste the traditional Turkish “boza,” a slightly sweet, creamy drink made of fermented wheat and topped with cinnamon. It’s often sipped by locals while snacking on “leblebi” or roasted chick peas. For the ultimate authenticity, we’d order it at Vefa Bozacısı, founded by Hacı Sadık Bey who created boza in 1876. Attaturk’s personal boza cup rests on a back wall shelf. Tip? Visitors should book a reliable car service to travel here and back; it’s difficult to find, despite being in the city center.
Cunard guests booking a full World Cruise prior to February 28, 2015, will receive a reduced deposit, sizable onboard credit and free gratuities, plus World Club members have additional savings. A new Flagship Collection of packages with multiple perks will benefit guests pre- and post-cruise; hotel choices include the Sofitel Dubai and the Peninsula Hong Kong, among others.
Grand Pacific Panorama: For those desiring a West Coast roundtrip World Cruise, Crystal Cruises offers a robust “Grand Pacific Panorama” on Crystal Serenity from San Francisco, departing January 24, 2016. Heading west, it overnights at Honolulu before sailing to multiple South Pacific isles—from Apia in Western Samoa to Noumea in New Caledonia, from Fanning Island in Kiribati to Mystery Island in Vanuatu and more.
Cunard Line’s Queen Victoria will sail through the Panama Canal during its 120-night World Cruise.
Then it’s on to Sydney for two nights with plenty of time for exploring. After seeing the Sydney Opera House or Bondi Beach from ground level, luxury cruisers might opt to board a helicopter for a private tour of the sites from above. Experienced operator Sydney HeliTours can arrange private charter flights around Sydney or to the Blue Mountains and Hunter Valley wine region.
Crystal Serenity will also sail “down under” to Brisbane, Hamilton Island/Whitsunday Island, and Darwin, before calling at Komodo Island, Indonesia. It will stay for two nights at Bali/Benoa and then head to Malaysia and Singapore. The ship also spends time in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and China, including two-night stays in Ho Chi Minh City, Shanghai and Beijing/Xingang and an overnight in Hong Kong.
Then it’s on to Korea and more than a week exploring multiple ports in Japan, including Fukuoka on the island of Kyushu. We suggest travelers sample Fukuoka’s hot-pot style (nabe) dishes, among them motsunabe and mizutaki.
Another unusual feature of this cruise is its calls at Korsakov and Petropavlovsk in the Russian Far East followed by visits in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands and Inside Passage, before a last port call in Vancouver, B.C.
Perks for full World Cruisers include a gala the night before embarkation, private enrichment classes, fitness programs, entertainment, social invitations, mementos and two exclusive events/parties ashore during the cruise. One unusual benefit? Guests have the chance to earn college credit for getting tech-savvy—simply by taking the computer classes offered onboard.
From Florida to Venice: If travelers seek a voyage that begins in the U.S. but ends in Europe, Silversea Cruises will sail a 115-day “Venetian World Odyssey” on Silver Whisper from Fort Lauderdale, FL, to Venice, Italy, on January 5, 2016. Geographically, it proceeds in an overall westerly approach, first heading south and into the Panama Canal and then sailing South America’s western coastline to Ecuador and Peruvian ports, before heading across the Pacific.
Destination collectors will check off 31 countries and 51 “bucket list” destinations; 13 of the port calls are multi-day. Highlights include visits to such South Seas isles as Easter Island, Chile; Pitcairn Island and multiple isles of Tahiti. Then it’s on to explore New Zealand and Australia.
Calls in Asia include Hong Kong, Singapore, Bali, Indonesia and Phuket, Thailand, along with Myanmar. Then it sails for India, the Arabian Peninsula, and eastern Mediterranean ports before concluding with two nights in Venice.
After a morning or afternoon exploring Venice, World Cruisers might do as the locals do and enjoy a glass of sparkling wine at Al Prosecco, located on Campo San Giacomo da l’Orio. The outdoor shaded area is a great place for “people watching” while tasting organic wines, fresh cheeses, marinated fish and oysters.
Travelers sailing on the full Silversea World Cruise will receive a gala Bon Voyage reception, dinner and overnight stay at Miami’s Mandarin Oriental hotel, a sizable onboard spending credit, Internet package, commemorative gifts, as well as these complimentary features: business class air, transfers (between home, airport, hotel and ship), baggage valet service and laundry service.
Silversea’s full World Cruise guests will also be treated to an exclusive masked ball in Venice, an elegant lunch on a private island in Sydney Harbor and, most incredibly, a chartered flight to India’s Taj Mahal for a tour and lunch, and a return flight to re-board the ship. Three complimentary Silversea Experiences will also be offered in Easter Island, Halong Bay in Vietnam, and at the Royal Opera House of Muscat in Oman.
Seabourn Cruise Line no longer operates a full World Cruise but, as with other lines, offers a series of longer voyages, including one of 77 days around the Pacific. Regent Seven Seas had not yet announced its 2016 World Cruise at press time.
Pictured: Ruth Turpin, owner of Cruises Etc., is shown here in London.
What World Cruise most interests the clients of Ruth Turpin, owner, Cruises Etc., a Virtuoso agency in Fort Worth, TX, which also is a Crystal Platinum agency and top producer for many other luxury lines? “We’ve had some good interest in the 2016 Crystal Grand Pacific Panorama,” she says, adding that clients like the exotic combination of South Pacific, Australia and in-depth Asia to such destinations as Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Hanoi, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Japan.
“Especially, though, they love the in-depth Japan,” Turpin emphasizes. Events ashore that her travelers are excited about are Crystal’s “Temples of Borobudur” in Indonesia and also “The Dragons of Komodo Island” tour.
For any advisors just starting to sell World Cruises, Turpin says it’s important to act quickly when any World Cruise itinerary is announced. Otherwise, the travelers might not get the accommodations they want. “We have an active list of past World Cruisers and also of our high-end Crystal past cruisers that we contact immediately with the itinerary, because these often sell out quickly, especially the Penthouses,” Turpin stresses.