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Alternative to a World Cruise


cruisermsoon
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On the same ship for three months, at a fairly high price, may seem like a great idea, however if you look on the same cruise company site for GRAND CRUISES or GRAND VOYAGES, you will find shorter, but still quite long, offerings that very often have much more interesting itineraries that the World Cruises have, in locations that may be of more personal interest to you than the generally uninspired World Cruise offerings. 

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1 minute ago, cruisermsoon said:

On the same ship for three months, at a fairly high price, may seem like a great idea, however if you look on the same cruise company site for GRAND CRUISES or GRAND VOYAGES, you will find shorter, but still quite long, offerings that very often have much more interesting itineraries that the World Cruises have, in locations that may be of more personal interest to you than the generally uninspired World Cruise offerings. 

Sometimes those Grand Voyages can cost more than a world cruise though.

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Well, not only the price can be the same easily, at least when we look at the price per night. Grand voyages are in most cases simply the repositioning of the ship. For example between Caribbean and Mediterranean before the different seasons start. A transatlantic can’t be done without a row of sea days. Crossing each and every ocean can’t. I did several crossings, this year from South Africa to Italy with 18 days at sea out of 30, this was 60% of the time. Longest time between two ports was five days on Indian Ocean and Red Sea. On my upcoming world cruise 64 days at sea are planned out of 126 - or 50.8% of the time. Longest time in a row also will be five days, both on the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean.
 
Whether time aboard a ship is long or not depends mainly on perception. The grand voyage from Cape Town to Venice was way too long, because it was on a completely run down ship with bad food and terrible service. In such a case getting off the ship is a great relief. I did longer cruises than these 30 days before and felt at the end that I could have stayed longer.
 
Are world cruises uninspired? Those cruises doing every single week of the year the ever-same round in the Med definitely are uninspired. Some world cruises I personally regard as being too short and rushing around the globe, which also results in relatively more sea days. But these few don’t constitute a rule. I’ll set my feet with the exception of Antarctica onto all continents, combine indigenous South American culture with visiting Japan, snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef and enjoy the Canal Grande. At least I am inspired!
 
What you definitely miss out on repositioning cruises is the Magellan feeling - circumventing the globe. It’s not only the same ship and the same cabin (I regard it as great advantage not to carry around my luggage), I’ll stay in the same hotel before and after the cruise.
 
And there is another huge advantage: I don’t need to go on a long haul flight. The lesser the time I am pressed into narrow rows the better for my legs. Even better, I can go very comfortable by train to the port and the highest seat category remains cheaper than the cheapest flight and since there is no direct flight available for me the time involved is about the same.
 
I think you compare here apples with oranges. Both can be tasty, but are not the same.

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Also consider sailing multiple back-to-back segments of a world cruise.  We can't spend the money, or stay away for 6 months, but a 55-day LA to Bali part of the upcoming Oceania ATW is a very interesting itinerary for us.  Good cruising whatever your choice...

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12 hours ago, cruisermsoon said:

Perhaps, but then they don't have as many sea days.

 

The number of sea days is entirely dependant on the itinerary and the cruise line. I have seen a number of Grand Voyages over the past 40 years that have just as many sea days as World Cruises. When a cruise crosses an ocean, regardless of whether it is classed as a World Cruise or Grand Voyage, it generally has more sea days

 

The type of cruise line has a huge impact in the ratio of sea days to port days on both World Cruises and Grand Voyages, with Premium/Luxury lines normally having a much higher percentage of port days. Since you mentioned 3-months for a World Cruise, I assume you refer to one of the mainstream mega ship cruise lines, since many Luxury/Premium lines take 4-months for a Grand Voyage and 6-months, or more, for a World Cruise.

 

Our 2015 World Cruise on Princess took 104 days and less than 40 were port days. In 2020, the Viking World Cruise lasted 245-days, having only 1 stretch of 8 sea days. Well over 60% were port days, which is better than most Grand Voyages that include an ocean transit.

 

When comparing Grand Voyages to World Cruises you also need to compare the total costs, specifically the included benefits. As an example, Viking did not provide any additional benefits to Grand Voyages, which can be 90+ days, but World Cruises receive a host of benefits worth many thousands of dollars, including considerable OBC, luggage shipping, Visa procurement, etc.

 

I certainly wouldn't consider World Cruises as uninspiring, but that is all up to individual expectations. Personally, I couldn't image booking a Caribbean cruise and even the Meddy, which has some great ports, but many of them are grossly overcrowded. Even back in the days when I worked an entire Australia cruise season, we went to most of the same islands every 2-weeks. Boring possibly, but certainly not uninspiring. I have seen many fabulous World Cruise itineraries from a variety of cruise lines, especially cruises based on smaller ships.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Heidi13 said:

 

The number of sea days is entirely dependant on the itinerary and the cruise line. I have seen a number of Grand Voyages over the past 40 years that have just as many sea days as World Cruises. When a cruise crosses an ocean, regardless of whether it is classed as a World Cruise or Grand Voyage, it generally has more sea days

 

The type of cruise line has a huge impact in the ratio of sea days to port days on both World Cruises and Grand Voyages, with Premium/Luxury lines normally having a much higher percentage of port days. Since you mentioned 3-months for a World Cruise, I assume you refer to one of the mainstream mega ship cruise lines, since many Luxury/Premium lines take 4-months for a Grand Voyage and 6-months, or more, for a World Cruise.

 

Our 2015 World Cruise on Princess took 104 days and less than 40 were port days. In 2020, the Viking World Cruise lasted 245-days, having only 1 stretch of 8 sea days. Well over 60% were port days, which is better than most Grand Voyages that include an ocean transit.

 

When comparing Grand Voyages to World Cruises you also need to compare the total costs, specifically the included benefits. As an example, Viking did not provide any additional benefits to Grand Voyages, which can be 90+ days, but World Cruises receive a host of benefits worth many thousands of dollars, including considerable OBC, luggage shipping, Visa procurement, etc.

 

I certainly wouldn't consider World Cruises as uninspiring, but that is all up to individual expectations. Personally, I couldn't image booking a Caribbean cruise and even the Meddy, which has some great ports, but many of them are grossly overcrowded. Even back in the days when I worked an entire Australia cruise season, we went to most of the same islands every 2-weeks. Boring possibly, but certainly not uninspiring. I have seen many fabulous World Cruise itineraries from a variety of cruise lines, especially cruises based on smaller ships.

 

 

Agree, especially about costs. I took the 2019 Oceania world cruise and they included nearly everything into the fare and I also had tons of OBC. We had 60% port days and it was a lifelong bucket list trip fulfilled. No regrets choosing this cruiseline or itinerary. 

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2 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

you also need to compare the total costs, specifically the included benefits

 

I couldn’t agree more. The grand total is very important. But this also includes the question whether included things are really needed or whether these are as expensive or complicated as it seems.

 

People always panic about visa. I don’t know why. In these days for Western citizens and some Eastern as Japan or Singapore in the very most cases there is no longer travelling to consulates or embassies needed. In theory I need to arrange visa or ETAs for seven countries. One country (South Korea) has suspended the ETA procedure until the end of 2024 for most countries and only the passport is needed. From the rest half the countries has special visa waivers for cruise guests, including Papua New Guinea, where normally quite a documentation about a booked holiday is required. And the other half has a simple online procedure. Total fee is 40 US$, all together less than an hour involved for filling forms and scanning documents.
 
I booked for two suitcases (maximum weight 32 kg per piece) luggage transport from my home address to my cabin for 176,28 €. Sending these bags back home it will be cheaper, because the amount mentioned includes a holiday surcharge.
 
Never forget that everything included is a gift, but is reflected in the price. In the very end all these items are included to earn money with.

 

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1 hour ago, At7Seas said:

 

I couldn’t agree more. The grand total is very important. But this also includes the question whether included things are really needed or whether these are as expensive or complicated as it seems.

 

People always panic about visa. I don’t know why. In these days for Western citizens and some Eastern as Japan or Singapore in the very most cases there is no longer travelling to consulates or embassies needed. In theory I need to arrange visa or ETAs for seven countries. One country (South Korea) has suspended the ETA procedure until the end of 2024 for most countries and only the passport is needed. From the rest half the countries has special visa waivers for cruise guests, including Papua New Guinea, where normally quite a documentation about a booked holiday is required. And the other half has a simple online procedure. Total fee is 40 US$, all together less than an hour involved for filling forms and scanning documents.
 
I booked for two suitcases (maximum weight 32 kg per piece) luggage transport from my home address to my cabin for 176,28 €. Sending these bags back home it will be cheaper, because the amount mentioned includes a holiday surcharge.
 
Never forget that everything included is a gift, but is reflected in the price. In the very end all these items are included to earn money with.

 

 

I certainly don't panic about getting the required Visas, as I thoroughly research the requirements well before they are required. However, for some countries, a visit to an Embassy/Consulate is still required.

 

China is notoriously challenging, as we have experienced twice. The first China Visa required queuing outside the consulate before sunrise, to ensure you got a number that got processed that day. If you weren't successful, you returned the following day. Once the Visa was issued you repeated the process to pick up the passport. China also won't provide a Visa in passports that are not from country of application. While Viking paid for and arranged our Visas, China would not process our Visas in a Canadian or UK Passport, in the US. We had to go through the lengthy application and make 2 visits to the consulate downtown.

 

For a number of months, India stopped processing any Visa for Canadians, so getting an India Visa was impossible for anyone with a Canadian passport. This is not the first time India has created problems for Canadians getting a Visa.

 

Recently Egypt initiated a requirement for Visas prior to arrival, as previously Visas were always issued to the ship upon arrival. A consular visit is required and the closest one to us is about a 3,000 mile drive or a 5 hr flight, then the same drive/flight to return home.

 

We also experienced issues with the India eVisa, as they would not issue the Visa until 3 months before arrival and we had already departed on the cruise. The Visa procurement agency copied our passport details, made the application at the correct time and forwarded directly to the ship.

 

You may have been fortunate that all Visas required were available by eVisa, but that is not always available. So even these days, acquiring all required Visas can be challenging.

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1 hour ago, Heidi13 said:

I certainly don't panic about getting the required Visas...

 

Oh, there are enough people in panic, even if you aren’t. And companies make abuse of it by selling overpriced services. And of course cruise lines use it as argument for selling their cruises. I admit that China can be challenging. I am absolutely not aware about Canadian passport holders, but I know that pre covid some short time visits during a cruise or for (dis)embarking were possible without prearranged visa for a number of nationals. For longer visits ashore you are in all cases right. Except Hong Kong (passport only required) China is not on my cruise, so I am not up to date. Shouldn’t be a surprise as this cruise was designed in 2022 when China was still completely closed for tourism without any sign of change. I also have to file for my Sri Lanka ETA when I am already aboard, this should not be a problem as cruise lines are aware about these deadlines. India states that they resumed e-visa for citizens of 165 countries. Not for Canadians? What did you do (not personally of course, but as country)? In March 2023 Egypt stamped a 72 hour transit visa for free into my passport when I visited during a cruise. And for many tourists visa on arrival or alternatively e-visa are available for other stays up to four weeks. I have a list of countries that require generally a face check for visa and if still up to date 28 countries are on this list. It starts with Afghanistan and from top of the list I don’t have the impression that this would be my bucket list of countries with perhaps the exception of Bhutan, which has strict limits in numbers of tourists of course. But I have no ambitions in visiting Eritrea or Libya, North Korea or Syria. The list ends as tourist friendly as it started with Yemen.

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I don't regard a repositioning cruise as a Grand Voyage. They are two very different animals. Repositioning cruises, often at discounted prices, usually involve crossing the Pacific, Atlantic or Indian Oceans with many sea days, and my conception of a Grand Voyage is one that incorporates a region intensive itinerary. They can be long, but not necessarily so. 

Let's compare one cruise lines' World and Grand Voyages: [overnight stays counted as 2 days]:

Azamara 2024 World Cruise 155 nights 107 port days [sold out] 

Azamara 2025 World Cruise 155 nights 102 port days from $390pd 

Azamara 2026 World Cruise 155 nights 102 port days from $365pd 

GRAND VOYAGES: [35 to 70 days]: 

Europe [Nice to Amsterdam]  35 days with 1 sea day from $352pd 

South Africa to Portugal 37 days with 9 sea days from $365pd 

Canada to UK 39 days with 5 sea days from $380pd 

Japan to Greece 41 days with 10 sea days from $556pd 

Europe [Copenhagen to Barcelona] 46 days with 3 sea days from $396pd 

Europe [Oslo to Venice] 59 days with 4 sea days from $500pd 

South Africa to Italy 61 days with 8 sea days from $305pd 

Italy to South Africa 62 days with 9 sea days from $380pd 

New Zealand to Japan 62 days with 15 sea days from $355pd 

Greece to Australia 70 days with 10 sea days from $335pd 

This last one is obviously a big chunk of the world cruise, and for anyone contemplating a world cruise of 4 or 5 months, I would strongly suggest you divide it into two sections, undertaking one half one year and the other the following year. 

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To me there's no substitute for a true "world cruise". A complete circumnavigation of the globe where I embark and disembark at the same port on one booking.

 

Grand voyages are just that, grand.  

 

Segments are just that - segments.

 

JMHO.

 

 

Edited by SargassoPirate
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3 hours ago, cruisermsoon said:

I don't regard a repositioning cruise as a Grand Voyage. They are two very different animals. Repositioning cruises, often at discounted prices, usually involve crossing the Pacific, Atlantic or Indian Oceans with many sea days, and my conception of a Grand Voyage is one that incorporates a region intensive itinerary.

 

Not sure where the reference to repositioning cruises came from, since nobody has mentioned them in this thread. Having worked in the industry and spent almost 30 years as Master on pax vessels, I am very well aware of the voyage definitions.

 

A repositioning cruise, or as they used to be called "Line-Voyages", can be any cruise where a ship is repositioning from 1 home port to another. Some of these voyages are long, being considerably more than an ocean crossing. Back in my days on cruise ships, SS Oriana did two 7-week repositioning cruises each year, departing Southampton, crossing the Atlantic, sail the entire west coast of North America to Vancouver and then down to Sydney. She retraced the route 4 months later, returning to Southampton. Not technically a Grand Voyage, but an impressive itinerary and longer than most of the options you posted.

 

Viking also has about 4 lengthy repositioning cruises annually on Orion and Mars. The Viking Orion is based in Sydney/Auckland during the southern hemisphere summer then repositions up to Vancouver for the Alaska season. In August/September she returns to Sydney/Auckland. The entire journey lasts 93 days, but again this is a repositioning cruise, not technically a Grand Voyage, which also has numerous shorter segments.

 

Personally, cruises of only 30 - 40 days don't meet my definition of a Grand Voyage, as those are just nice relaxing short cruises. I consider a true "Grand Voyage to be about the same length as the shorter World Cruises, they just focus on specific regions, rather than circumnavigating the globe. A classic example of my expectation for a Grand Voyage is the  HAL 133-day Pole to Pole cruise R/T Ft Lauderdale in 2025.

 

Without knowing the cruises you quoted, I'll suggest some of them are segments of longer World Cruises, or repositioning cruises.

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18 hours ago, At7Seas said:

Well, not only the price can be the same easily, at least when we look at the price per night. Grand voyages are in most cases simply the repositioning of the ship. For example between Caribbean and Mediterranean before the different seasons start. A transatlantic can’t be done without a row of sea days.
 

 

There are many Grand Voyages that are not repositioning, for example several cruise lines offer Grand Voyages that circle South America, Africa or Australia.  There are other formats too, like Indian Ocean sailings, Pacific Rim/Asia focused cruises.  I don't consider transatlantic/transpacific cruises to be Grand Voyages on their own.

 

 

1 hour ago, Heidi13 said:

 

Not sure where the reference to repositioning cruises came from, since nobody has mentioned them in this thread.

 

The bold is mine but At7Seas mentioned repositioning cruises as a version of a Grand Voyage.

 

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@Heidi, yes, I wrote about repositioning cruises. I am completely with you that there is a clear definition of repositioning. @cruisermsoon and @mchell810: most cruises sold under the name grand voyage are repositioning cruises. Most, not all. I can’t remember that I booked ever a cruise under the name repositioning, while I was on many. In fact there are not a lot of cruises circumventing Africa for example. There are much more ships sailing during Southern summer in South Africa and in Northern summer somewhere in the Northern hemisphere. Including repositioning these ships and selling these cruises as grand voyage. How good the itinerary is, whether it follows an interesting route, is a completely different question. Just as with every cruise.
 
There is not only one cruise line, although the examples for world cruises cruisermsoon mentioned are from one cruise line only. Perhaps this limitation leads to some distortion. However, even these data show that the price argument is not valid. Most examples are within +/- 10% the world cruise prices, one grand voyage example is cheaper, two are significantly more expensive. And now let’s lift the limit to Azamara. All examples are per day much more expensive than my own world cruise. Why should I from the pure financial point of view go along European coasts only when I can go for the total price on a full world cruise?
 
You may be attached to a single cruise line, that is your right. Just as people may do every year the same seven day cruise again and again, because they like it so much. But both are not the only way of cruising. I am completely with @SargassoPirate regarding the definition of a world cruise and the possibility of substitution. Of course there are valid reasons not to do a world cruise. For example if you simply don’t want. But also if you can’t leave your home for a long time by various reasons. Or you don’t have the money.
 
Would I even think about the suggestion of @cruisermsoon to divide a world cruise into two segments and completing it the other year? As long as I am able to do it completely? Definitely not! What would I do after sailing exactly this example with the world cruise segment from Greece to Australia? Searching a repositioning cruise to return to Europe comfortably. The other year I will do another great thing, not completing what I destroyed the year before.

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13 hours ago, SargassoPirate said:

To me there's no substitute for a true "world cruise". A complete circumnavigation of the globe where I embark and disembark at the same port on one booking.

 


DH feels the same way.  He has been unwilling to even consider any world cruise, even on a favourite cruise line, if it doesn’t begin and end at the same port.  He also feels it’s not a true World Cruise without that circumnavigation.

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25 minutes ago, bookbabe said:


DH feels the same way.  He has been unwilling to even consider any world cruise, even on a favourite cruise line, if it doesn’t begin and end at the same port.  He also feels it’s not a true World Cruise without that circumnavigation.

SWMBO refuses to consider a world cruise or even a grand cruise because of motion sickness issues.  She can deal with a shorter cruise with ginger capsules but cannot sit and read like I do so the experience is not as enjoyable for her.

 

Thus, I going solo on a world cruise.  

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  • 1 month later...
On 11/21/2023 at 2:45 PM, Heidi13 said:

 

The number of sea days is entirely dependant on the itinerary and the cruise line. I have seen a number of Grand Voyages over the past 40 years that have just as many sea days as World Cruises. When a cruise crosses an ocean, regardless of whether it is classed as a World Cruise or Grand Voyage, it generally has more sea days

 

The type of cruise line has a huge impact in the ratio of sea days to port days on both World Cruises and Grand Voyages, with Premium/Luxury lines normally having a much higher percentage of port days. Since you mentioned 3-months for a World Cruise, I assume you refer to one of the mainstream mega ship cruise lines, since many Luxury/Premium lines take 4-months for a Grand Voyage and 6-months, or more, for a World Cruise.

 

Our 2015 World Cruise on Princess took 104 days and less than 40 were port days. In 2020, the Viking World Cruise lasted 245-days, having only 1 stretch of 8 sea days. Well over 60% were port days, which is better than most Grand Voyages that include an ocean transit.

 

When comparing Grand Voyages to World Cruises you also need to compare the total costs, specifically the included benefits. As an example, Viking did not provide any additional benefits to Grand Voyages, which can be 90+ days, but World Cruises receive a host of benefits worth many thousands of dollars, including considerable OBC, luggage shipping, Visa procurement, etc.

 

I certainly wouldn't consider World Cruises as uninspiring, but that is all up to individual expectations. Personally, I couldn't image booking a Caribbean cruise and even the Meddy, which has some great ports, but many of them are grossly overcrowded. Even back in the days when I worked an entire Australia cruise season, we went to most of the same islands every 2-weeks. Boring possibly, but certainly not uninspiring. I have seen many fabulous World Cruise itineraries from a variety of cruise lines, especially cruises based on smaller ships.

 

 

I always look forward to reading your contributions. I generally agree with your views and value your comment. As a fan of Viking , they would be my choice for a world cruise. That said, I think they need to update there offering.

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1 hour ago, friendlyfifer said:

I always look forward to reading your contributions. I generally agree with your views and value your comment. As a fan of Viking , they would be my choice for a world cruise. That said, I think they need to update there offering.

 

Totally agree. I believe the itinerary has had minimal changes since 2020. They are still selling, but well past time to make some itinerary changes.

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I’d love the time and money to string a bunch of cruises together with land trips in the middle..ie transpacific followed by a month in Aus then find a Sydney to Asia cruise, spend a few weeks, find a Dubai to Europe then time in Provence, Tuscany and then a transatlantic home.  

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On 1/24/2024 at 10:28 PM, Cruise Junky said:

I’d love the time and money to string a bunch of cruises together with land trips in the middle..ie transpacific followed by a month in Aus then find a Sydney to Asia cruise, spend a few weeks, find a Dubai to Europe then time in Provence, Tuscany and then a transatlantic home.  

I am currently working on something similar for Europe in 2025. It get's a little boring going to the same ports over and over again. It will not be similar to a World Cruise but just Europe and again 2 month, like my kids and I did in 2022, considering they don't have more then 2 month time off. On the cruises I have so far picked I have been to a few of the ports already but the one's we have not been to make up for that. Will spend time in between in places I have not been to since 1971 like Malta. Have found some excursions there I am looking forward to take. To early to look for accommodations and flights but checking on what is offered for 2024 it looks like it will be a great trip. I am fortunate to speak German besides English so for 2026 I have booked a cruise going through the Caribbean Islands offering more ports then the one's which are usually included in all North American Cruise-lines. Funny thing is living in the Caribbean I will fly to Europe to take this cruise. I will get off in Rio but the cruise continues around South America but have been there several times already.

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