The world cruise is back. Following the pandemic, longer voyages that sail to more places are en vogue, and that includes the longest of the bunch from several lines — across both oceans and rivers.
Here are several of the trends we’re seeing among current and future world cruises.
Waitlisted Cruises and Additional Sailings
The popularity of world cruises is inspiring lines to double up on their offerings. Both Holland America Line and MSC Cruises are in the midst of not one, but two, world cruises at this very moment. Luxury equivalents are also traversing the globe onboard Silversea Cruises and Viking, which is planning two of its own concurrently later this year.
In fact, the latter celebrated the christening of its latest ocean ship — Viking Neptune — during its “2022-2023 Viking World Cruise” while it was calling on Los Angeles on Jan. 8, 2023. The line has its next two scheduled to sail from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to London only three days apart at the end of this year: Viking Sky leaves on Dec. 20, and Viking Neptune departs on Dec. 23. Both are 138 days in length, visit 28 countries and include 57 guided tours.
Silversea, meanwhile, is now sailing a 139-day “South Side Story” world cruise for 2023, which began in the southern hemisphere in Sydney in January. To give clients a sense of just how popular these itineraries are at the moment, Silversea’s 2024 world cruise is already completely full and waitlisted. Bookings are next available only on its 2025 global voyage from Tokyo to New York.
Holland America Line’s Volendam and Zuiderdam are currently sailing the brand’s “South America & Antarctica Grand Voyage” and “Grand World Voyage,” respectively. Altogether, the two cruises will traverse six continents, 43 countries and 95 ports. The next full-length 128-day “Grand World Voyage” from Holland America will embark on Jan. 3, 2024, with shorter segments available.
Meanwhile, MSC’s MSC Magnifica and MSC Poesia are on their respective world cruises now — both left from Genoa, Italy, simultaneously on Jan. 5 — and the line is also looking ahead to its next one in 2025. With the option to depart from any of four European ports from Jan. 4-7, 2025, MSC Magnifica will leave from Rome; Genoa, Italy; Marseille, France; or Barcelona, Spain. The 116-night sailing will even cover 22 destinations never before showcased on an MSC world cruise, including 19 days in and around Australasia.
A Three-Year World Cruise
Although a relatively unknown brand — Life at Sea Cruises, owned by Miray Cruises — just announced an extensive, three-year world cruise onboard its MV Gemini. Set to leave on Nov. 1, 2023, from Istanbul, the route will cover a staggering 130,000 miles to visit 135 countries across seven continents.
“Life at Sea Cruises offers the ultimate bucket-list cruise without having to sacrifice the comforts of home,” said Irina Strembitsky, director of sales and marketing for Life at Sea Cruises. “It’s your home at sea with the world as your backyard.”
Of interest to those able to work abroad for such extended periods of time, the line further points out that “cruisers may also enjoy additional tax benefits when working as an international resident onboard the ship.”
An Extensive River Itinerary
Last, but not least is a river cruise option from Uniworld Boutique River Cruises. While understandably not available contiguously on a single vessel, the unique 55-day itinerary highlights three continents and 10 countries onboard four of its Super Ships starting on Oct. 3, 2024.
First featured will be the Amazon River on either Aria Amazon or Aqua Nera visiting Peru, Argentina and Brazil, before guests transfer to Europe to visit the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and Hungary onboard S.S. Beatrice. Next up will be France via S.S. Catherine, and finally, Vietnam and Cambodia onboard Mekong Jewel.
“We’re thrilled to debut our second Rivers of the World sailing, back by popular demand, for 2024” said Ellen Bettridge, president and CEO of Uniworld Boutique River Cruises. “Our guests are not only planning to travel more, but they are seeking longer trip durations that can cross off bucket-list destinations in one trip. That’s why we’re excited to be announcing this new sailing with an even longer, farther-reaching itinerary, bringing our guests across South America, Europe and Southeast Asia for the ultimate action-packed luxury journey.”
The “Rivers of the World” route includes all onboard dining; unlimited premium wine, beer and spirits; Wi-Fi access; shore excursions; airport transfers; onboard gratuities; and airfare between voyage segments.