This is a contribution from my long time client Ellie.
A world cruise can be the trip of a lifetime. For me, it represented a chance to see places that I would otherwise never have a chance to visit, while traveling in the comfort of a cruise ship, the advantages of which are many. You unpack once and that’s it. Your cabin is your own private space, which you can get away to when you want, with all the services of a luxury hotel.
For days at sea, there is an enjoyable shipboard routine. I sang in the chorus, played trivia, worked on jigsaw puzzles, listened to lectures, attended nightly shows. On days in port, there were a multitude of trips, previously vetted by the ship’s tour staff. Food was delicious, with 24- hour buffet and assigned or a choose-your-own option dinner options. There were also specialty restaurants.
You should pick your ship according to your lifestyle. Every line has its own personality. I cruised on Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth, which has elegant public spaces and a British flavor, with high tea served daily. It is the perfect ship for those who like to dress up, (formal nights every 10 days or so), dance, (an elegant ballroom with a combo and singer, a professional couple who could give private lessons, opportunities for line dancing), and bridge! The ship has two luxury classes, the Queen’s Grill and the Princess Grill, which have reserved deck space and their own dining rooms. However, most of us were “normal” travelers, and all the public spaces and activities were open to everyone.
I didn’t do the entire 103-day Southhampton to Southhampton trip, which included the transatlantic crossing, the Caribbean, the Panama Canal, and the west coast of central America; I joined in San Francisco for the last 83 days. Our itinerary included Hawaii, Samoa, Papua/ New Guinea, the north island of New Zealand, Australia (Sydney and Brisbane), Kobe, Japan, Shanghai, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, India (Mumbai), the Emirates, Oman, the Suez Canal, Istanbul, Malta, and Lisbon.
Some of the highlights for me were sailing under the Golden Gate bridge, snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef, paddling a Maori dugout canoe under the tutelage of a tattooed gentleman, who taught us the haka, that Maori technique where they stick out their tongues and make horrible faces, visiting friends in Australia, Japan, and Malaysia, exploring the Cu Chi tunnels outside of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon, where the Viet Cong hid out from the time of the French), encouraging a reluctant sea turtle to take to the sea , haggling for silk in Mumbai, cruising through the sand dunes of the Suez in a 64-ship convoy, visiting mosques and museums in Istanbul. We participated in a moving sunrise service for Anzac Day, a commemoration of the Australians and New Zealanders who landed in Gallipoli during the First World War. I met some wonderful people and appreciated the hard-woking staff and crew on board the ship. For half the trip, we had a highly competent woman captain, who, according to a guide in Oman was probably “worth a thousand camels”.
The passengers on this trip are definitely a senior crowd, folks who have the leisure and funds to make such a voyage. Most are from English-speaking countries, with English, Americans, and Australians predominating. The world travelers receive some special perks: a dinner in Dubai, gifts, their own lounge section.
I savored this world cruise. I think others who know what to expect will too.