More and more people want to sail around the world, or at least a sizable portion of it. That’s the message from seven cruise lines belonging to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), and the companies have responded by offering ten different voyages, the first – a highly unusual “longitudinal” itinerary from the top of the world to the bottom – beginning in late September. The others, departing in early 2009 from ports on the East Coast and West Coast, will follow the sun from west to east, keeping their pampered guests basking in perfect weather throughout the Caribbean, South Pacific, Asia, Africa and Europe.
“Even during uncertain economic times, it appears that growing numbers of travelers are eager to sail the globe or, at the very least, take a nice long segment of a world cruise in a part of the world they probably have never seen before,” said Terry Dale, CLIA’s president and CEO. All the world cruises are available for the entire voyage – some lines report that almost half their guests stay onboard from start to finish – or in segments ranging from less than two weeks to more than two months. Typically, the voyage averages about 90 to 100 days.
Here are some world cruises offered by members of CLIA in the coming months:
Crystal’s 14th annual world cruise, on board Crystal Serenity, departs Los Angeles January 21. The 106-day voyage will visit 45 cities in Mexico, the South Pacific, New Zealand, eastern and western Australia, Indonesia and Southeast Asia, China, Japan, Russia, Alaska, British Columbia as well as San Francisco and back to Los Angeles. Segments are available in lengths of 12 to 22 days. Special guests onboard will include Deborah Norville, Ed McMahon, Richard Dreyfuss, Jack Hanna and more than two dozen experts on world affairs and other topics. The trip will also feature 125 new shore excursions, including several on a complimentary basis.
Cunard Line continues to honor its tradition of world cruising that began in 1922 as both Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria embark on their second World Cruises. Queen Victoria makes a 99-day Exploration of Distant Horizons world cruise departing from New York January 10 and calling on the Caribbean, Panama Canal, Mexico, the South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand, Asia, the Middle East and Europe. It is also available in four segments including the 17-day New York to Los Angeles segment and the 27-day Sydney to Singapore segment. Queen Mary 2's 90-day Epic Expedition departs Ft. Lauderdale January 13 and circumnavigates South America before sailing "down under" and then through Asia and Europe. Space is still available on some of the most popular segments including the 28-day Ft. Lauderdale to Los Angeles segment and 31-day Singapore to New York segment.
HOLLAND AMERICA LINE
Ms Rotterdam returns to world cruising in 2009 with a 114/117-day Grand World Voyage departing January 19 from Los Angeles. The westbound route sails the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii, the South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand, and on through Asia and Africa before visiting the Caribbean and home to Ft. Lauderdale. Additionally, guests will have plenty of time to explore several ports of call with overnights in Sydney, Australia; Hong Kong and Shanghai, China; Mumbai, India; Mombasa, Kenya, and Cape Town, South Africa. Segments of 22 to 69 days are available as well. In a departure from many other world cruise itineraries, the trip will feature the east coast of Africa to South Africa and a rare "Midnight Golden Line Crossing” when ms Rotterdam crosses the equator and the international date line simultaneously.
MS Fram, the newest adventure ship in the CLIA fleet, embarks on its second annual Longitudinal World Cruise on September 23 from Reykjavik, Iceland. The only itinerary of its kind, the 67-day voyage begins above the Arctic Circle and features Antarctica. Along the way, the ship visits the U.K. and Ireland, crosses the Atlantic, and visits Canada, the East Coast, and Central America before transiting the Panama Canal and sailing down the west coast of South America. As the ship nears Antarctica, expert guides join the cruise to provide lectures about the destination. The Drake Passage, Cape Horn, the South Shetland Islands and other stops around the “White Continent” are featured.
Based on the enthusiastic response to its return to world cruising, Princess will offer two global itineraries in 2009. The 670-passenger Tahitian Princess and 710-passenger Royal Princess will offer similar 107-day itineraries from Ft. Lauderdale, the former departing January 12 and finishing up in Dover, England and the latter sailing January 20, concluding in Rome. The itinerary features South America, the South Pacific, Australia, Asia, India and Egypt as well as a variety of European destinations. Both will feature a new port for Princess – Port Blair in the Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean. Other exotic destinations include Vietnam, Cambodia, Papua New Guineaand the Great Barrier Reef.
REGENT SEVEN SEAS CRUISES
Regent Seven Seas is the only cruise line in the luxury category to offer two simultaneous world cruises in 2009. The 700-passenger all-suite, all-balcony Seven Seas Voyager and Seven Seas Mariner will visit a total of 110 ports of call in 50 countries on six continents. Segments ranging in length from 12 to 24 nights highlight destinations in the Caribbean, South America, the South Pacific, New Zealand and Australia, Southeast Asia, Japan, India, the Middle East, North African and the Mediterranean. Celebrity guests onboard will include former Florida Governor Bob Graham, football coach Don Shula, Apollo astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Al Worden, former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and many others.
Silversea Cruises is offering the company’s first ever Grand Pacific Voyage in 2009, a 92-day extended odyssey timed to coincide with prime regional seasons of the Pacific Ocean. The voyage will depart Los Angeles on March 7, 2009 on Silver Shadow. On this epic journey, composed of six themed segments, guests will visit 45 ports, 15 countries and two hemispheres, enjoying overnight stays in Bora Bora, Sydney, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong and Tokyo. Guests sailing the full voyage will receive complimentary hotel accommodations in Los Angeles on the eve of departure, plus transfer and baggage handling between airport, hotel and ship. Enrichment speakers scheduled on board include Dr. Kathryn D. Sullivan, the first American woman to walk in space, and acclaimed author and Pulitzer Prize winner, Frank McCourt.