|Crystal Serenity in Venice. The ship kicks off its 94- day world cruise January 18.|
The 2012 world cruise season will be notable for its destinations, but we say the number of distinguished speakers lined up puts it over the top.
Crystal Cruises’ 94-day world cruise aboard Crystal Serenity, which departs January 18 roundtrip from Los Angeles, will feature no less than 13 well-known and regarded speakers, who run the spectrum from sports to military.
A glimpse: television personality Regis Philbin; baseball legend Hank Aaron; two-time Super Bowl-winning coach Don Shula; Olympians Dorothy Hamill and Cathy Rigby. Joining these names will be an assortment of scholars and lecturers on topics ranging from space travel and terrorism to media and global trends.
|Azamara Journey’s Club World Owner’s Suite comes with English Butler service.|
Of course, the world cruise, which consists of five 16- to 22-day segments through Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, China (including a three-day Beijing exploration), South Korea, Japan, Alaska and Canada, will also offer a wide range of destinations to visit and numerous overnight port calls (we say the more the better; overnights are the best way to really soak in a destination).
Note: Crystal Serenity in May emerged from a $25 million dry dock, which gave the ship a complete facelift from staterooms to the outdoor pool deck. While Crystal Penthouses were refreshed with new soft goods, we say take a look at one of the refurbished Penthouse Suites, which have a new contemporary design highlighted by floor-to-ceiling tufted headboards and tech touches such as Blu-ray players.
|The Royal Suite aboard Silver Whisper has two marbled bathrooms and a teak verandah.|
Silversea will operate its 115-day world cruise aboard Silver Whisper, departing January 6 from Fort Lauderdale and ending in Monte Carlo on May 1. Note: The cruise can be broken up into two segments—World Journey I (56 days, Fort Lauderdale to Singapore) and World Journey II (59 days, Singapore to Monte Carlo).
It too will have a who’s who list of noted figures to offer lectures, including television icon Hugh Downs, well known for his work on NBC’s Today Show and later ABC’s 20/20. He joins the cruise January 23-February 5, from Rio de Janeiro to Cape Town.
Likewise, guests will have a chance to pick the brain of celebrated author Bill Bryson, whose numerous international bestsellers include the science book A Short History of Nearly Everything. He comes aboard Whisper during the cruise’s Singapore to Shanghai leg, March 3-14.
Silversea’s world cruise will visit 45 ports in 27 countries stretching from the Caribbean and South America to Africa, the Far East, Arabia and Europe. Note: A total of 13 overnight visits are scheduled.
|The Winter Garden Suite aboard Seabourn Quest features a glassenclosed solarium with tub and daybed.|
Top Touch: Those who book the full world cruise are entitled to a bevy of extras, including five world cruise events. On January 12, in Bridgetown, Barbados, full world cruisers will be able to enjoy an afternoon at the Whisper Cup Polo Match; later on in the cruise, an overnight in Bangkok includes a stay in the exclusive Krungthep Wing of the Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok coupled with a themed gala dinner with traditional Thai entertainment.
Note: Visit Silversea’s website for a full list of added bonuses.
Seabourn is wasting no time getting their newest ship, Seabourn Quest, into the world cruise mix. The ship, which debuted in June, will operate a 109-day world cruise, departing January 5 from Fort Lauderdale and ending April 23 in Venice. Like most world cruises, it can booked by segment and we say segment V looks most appealing. It departs February 27 from Singapore and calls in such cities as Ho Chi Minh City, Chan May and Nha Trang in Vietnam; Cochin and Goa in India; Dubai; and Hong Kong and Shanghai.
Top Digs: If booking Seabourn’s world cruise, why not make it as special as possible? Quest’s Wintergarden Suites are that and more featuring large windows with ocean views, dining for six, bathroom with whirlpool bathtub, glass-enclosed solarium with tub and daybed, pantry with wet bar, and flat-screen TVs. Note: For those who can’t get away from some work while on vacation, Wi-Fi service is complimentary.
Note: Wintergarden Suites Nos. 743 and 745 or 744 and 746 can be combined to form a 1,189-square-foot Grand Wintergarden Suite with an additional 214 square feet of outdoor space.
|Regent Mariner ’s Deluxe Suites have 301 square feet of space and private balconies.|
Regent’s longer sailings are designed for intrepid travelers. Its 29-night Northern Odyssey aboard Seven Seas Voyager departs from London on June 3 and culminates in Stockholm. Ports of call are scattered throughout the British Isles, Ireland, Iceland, Norway and the Baltic and include Dublin, Copenhagen and Oslo. Note: There are overnight calls in Reykjavik, Oslo and St. Petersburg.
For those who like it a bit better down south, Regent’s 27-night Latin Sojourn aboard Seven Seas Mariner is the pick. The cruise, from Monte Carlo to Buenos Aires, departs November 9 and visits some of Costa del Sol’s finer spots (think Barcelona, Cartagena, Granada) before calling in North Africa and the Canary Islands.
Meanwhile, we say Azamara’s extended voyages are for those who like to really soak in a port. How do we know? Consider Azamara Journey’s 77-night voyage from Stockholm to Rome departing June 27. It features a 25 overnight stays, with four being two consecutive nights. This voyage also features a “Jazz in the Norwegian Fjords” itinerary, which highlights the North Seas Jazz Festival. Note: Acts include Tom Jones, Paul Simon and Snoop Dogg.
Those who want to explore the Far East, Azamara Journey’s October 26 72-night voyage is actually a combination of six voyages—Holy Land, Egypt & Suez Canal; Luxor, Petra, Sinai & Eilat; Luxor Petra & Sinai; The Spice Coast & Ceylon; Burma & Andaman Sea Islands; Vietnam & Thailand, Christmas and New Year—for an in depth exploration of the region.
Journey’s sister ship, Azamara Quest, will operate its own 78-night voyage departing February 29 from Singapore to Athens. It, like Journey, combines six voyages: Trade Routes to the Orient; Japan & Taiwan; Manila, Sabah, Borneo, Komodo & Bali; Spice Route; Petra, Sinai & Luxor; Holy Land, Egypt & Suez Canal.