Think that 100 nights of exploring faraway lands is more of a dream than a reality? Well, it's no dream for the people who are making world cruises some of the most popular on the 2018 and 2019 cruise calendars -- including at least three ships departing from Australia and New Zealand.
It's been nearly a century since the first world cruise sailed on Cunard's RMS Laconia in 1922. The phenomenon, which has sagged a bit in popularity some years hence, was long considered a viable travel option only for the most senior of seniors.
Nowadays, it's still a great draw for folks of a certain age. (How many others have the time -- not to mention the cash -- to take off for three months or more?) But we're also seeing a new spark of energy in this traditional cruise milieu. More lines have been announcing world voyages, and some -- like Cunard and P&O Cruises -- even run two or more a year.
One irony about world cruises is that most actually don't really sail fully around the world. But these one-third-of-a-year or longer voyages do offer passengers a chance to see a widely varied portfolio of diverse cultures -- all wrapped into one sailing. And even those folks who can't commit to the full trip can participate through an increasingly popular option in which you can buy a "segment," ranging from a week to more than a month.
World cruises typically begin in January and end in March, April or May. However, every now and then, there's an anomaly, so be on the lookout if you want something a bit different.
Whether you want to dream big or live large, here's the rundown of 2017 and 2018 world cruises.
2017 World Cruises
Viking Ocean Cruises
The Trip: Viking Sun will sail Viking Ocean's first world cruise, uniquely timed to start in December rather than January. The 141-night journey, sailing from Miami to London, will make up the majority of the new ship's maiden season. Viking Sun will visit 35 countries on five continents. Its first stop is Cuba, and then it will continue through the Caribbean and Panama Canal to the South Pacific and Australia/New Zealand before heading to Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Twelve ports will feature overnight calls.
Departure Date: December 15, 2017
Itinerary Segments: Segment information is not available.
Price: Full world cruise fares range from $49,999 to $130,499 per person.
2018 World Cruises
In 2018, Crystal Cruises will offer not one but four different world cruise options. You can sail aboard Crystal Serenity, Crystal Symphony or both in one trip.
The Trip: Crystal Symphony's "Stunning Skylines & Halcyon Harbors" is a 114-night voyage that calls nearly exclusively on ports in the Southern Hemisphere, beginning in Cape Town on January 7, 2018. The voyage kicks off with five ports in South Africa before exploring Mozambique and Madagascar. Symphony then sails across the Indian Ocean for enchanting Reunion Island and Mauritius before sailing to Australia and New Zealand. The ship will wend its way through the South Pacific for Fiji, Tonga, the Cook and Society Islands as well as the Marquesas. If you've ever wanted to visit Easter Island, this voyage will get you there, as well as to Chile's Robinson Crusoe Island. The ship then visits Peru, Ecuador, Panama (for the canal) and Colombia before stopping at St. Barth's and Key West prior to disembarkation in Miami on April 30.
Departure Date: January 7, 2018
Itinerary Segments: Cape Town to Mauritius, 15 nights; Mauritius to Perth, 14 nights; Perth to Sydney, 12 nights; Sydney to Auckland, 14 nights; Auckland to Papeete, 16 nights; Papeete to Valparaiso, 19 nights; Valparaiso to Colon, 13 nights; Colon to Miami, 11 nights
Price: Full world cruise fares range from $40,275 to $250,795 per person, double occupancy; segment fares begin at $4,200 per person for a suite.
The Trip: Crystal Serenity departs Los Angeles on January 23, 2018, for a 112-night world cruise dubbed "World Wonders & Eternal Cities." The ship crosses the Pacific Ocean to visit the South Pacific and Australia before heading north for Asia, India and the Middle East. The ship transits the Suez Canal in order to disembark passengers in Rome on May 16. This cruise features a number of maiden calls, including Pago Pago in Samoa; Australia's Cooktown and Norfolk Island; Kitava in Papua New Guinea; Gizo, Solomon Islands; Manila in the Philippines; and Mangalore, India.
Departure Date: January 23, 2018
Itinerary Segments: Los Angeles to Sydney, 24 nights; Sydney to Manila, 23 nights; Manila to Singapore, 16 nights; Singapore to Mumbai, 18 nights; Mumbai to Dubai, 11 nights; Dubai to Rome, 20 nights
Price: Full world cruise fares range from $46,310 to $303,125 per person, double occupancy; segment fares begin at $5,590 per person for a suite.
The Trip: At 129 nights, "Storied Treasures & Captivating Journeys" is Crystal Cruises' longest 2018 world cruise, and it allows passengers to sail portions of both Crystal Symphony's and Crystal Serenity's full world cruises. Crystal Symphony departs Cape Town on January 7, 2018, and heads west across the Indian Ocean for Australia. In Sydney, passengers will enjoy the World Cruise Gala Celebration and then board Crystal Serenity for Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and the Philippines before heading for Asia with calls on Hong Kong; Vietnam's Hanoi, Chan May and Ho Chi Minh City; Cambodia; Singapore; Malaysia; and Thailand before a double overnight in mysterious Yangon, Myanmar (Burma). The ship then visits Sri Lanka and India on the way to the Gulf of Oman, the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Aden. After transiting the Suez Canal there are stops in Egypt and Israel before passengers disembark in Rome on May 16.
Departure Date: January 7, 2018
Price: Full world cruise fares range from $59,820 to $339,265 per person, double occupancy.
The Trip: Crystal's 97-night "South Pacific Reflections" is another mixed itinerary on which you sail both Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony. You'll embark Los Angeles on January 23 aboard Crystal Serenity and enjoy the Hawaiian Islands, American Samoa, Fiji and Vanuatu before switching ships to Crystal Serenity in Sydney for the rest of the itinerary, which visits Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, French Polynesia, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Panama (for the canal) and the Caribbean before disembarking in Miami on April 30.
Departure Date: January 23, 2018
Price: Full world cruise fares range from $40,015 to $219,530 per person, double occupancy.
The Trip: This global cruise, which sails round trip from Southampton in 2018, features a "Wonders of the World" theme. Accordingly, the itinerary is peppered with exciting excursions to some of the sites of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World -- as well as some of the New Seven Wonders of the World -- including the site of the Pharos Lighthouse in Alexandria, Egypt; Machu Picchu; Petra; and the Roman Coliseum. For this trip, Black Watch heads west from Europe on January 5, 2018, traveling to the Azores, the Caribbean, Central America and the Panama Canal, Easter Island, the South Pacific, Southeast Asia, India and the Middle East. The cruise ends on April 24.
Departure Date: January 5, 2018
Itinerary Segments: Southampton to Callao, Peru, 24 nights; Callao to Sydney, 28 nights; Southampton to Sydney, 52 nights; Southampton to Port Klang, 72 nights; Callao to Port Klang, 47 nights; Callao to Southampton, 85 nights
Price: Full world cruise fares range from £11,049 to £18,199 per person; segments start from £2,249, double occupancy.
The Trip: Arcadia embarks on an intrepid 99-night global voyage on January 9, 2018. The ship sets sail from Southampton and travels west, passing through both the Panama and Suez canals, and visiting ports on five continents. Highlights include stops in U.S. ports such as San Francisco, Hilo and Honolulu; explorations of ports in New Zealand and on the western coast of Australia; and a heavy number of Asian points, including stops in Vietnam, China, the Philippines, India and Malaysia. The months-long circumnavigation ends in in Southampton on April 19.
Departure Date: January 9, 2018
Itinerary Segments: Southampton to Sydney, 44 nights; Southampton to Singapore, 69 nights; Southampton to Auckland, 40 nights; Southampton to Hong Kong, 63 nights; San Francisco to Hong Kong, 39 nights; San Francisco to Singapore, 45 nights; Auckland to Southampton, 59 nights; Auckland to Dubai, 40 nights; Sydney to Southampton, 55 nights; Sydney to Dubai, 36 nights; Brisbane to Southampton, 52 nights; Hong Kong to Southampton, 36 nights
Price: Full world cruise fares range from £9,999 to £24,699 per person; segments start at £5,339, double occupancy.
The Trip: Silver Whisper's 2018 world cruise is a 121-night voyage that calls on 60 ports in 21 countries. The ship sails from Los Angeles to Hawaii and French Polynesia, followed by an in-depth tour of New Zealand and Australia. From there, the ship tours Southeast Asia (including Hong Kong, Singapore and Bali) before sailing through the Middle East and Mediterranean to finish up in Rome on May 8, 2018.
Departure Date: January 6, 2018
Itinerary Segments: Los Angeles to Papeete, 16 nights; Papeete to Auckland, 13 nights; Auckland to Sydney, 16 nights; Sydney to Bali, 13 nights; Bali to Hong Kong, 15 nights; Hong Kong to Singapore, 15 nights; Singapore to Muscat, 15 nights; Muscat to Rome, 19 nights.
Price: Full world cruise fares range from $57,850 to $182,150 per person, double occupancy; segment fares begin at $7,740 per person for a suite.
Azamara Club Cruises
The Trip: A 102-night World Journey on Azamara Journey departs Sydney and sails north, visiting stops along Australia’s coast before traveling through Indonesia, southeast Asia, India and the Middle East. After passing through the Suez Canal, Azamara Journey makes its way through Europe and finishes in London on June 17. In line with Azamara’s destination immersive mantra, the cruise also includes 18 late nights, 14 overnight stays and eight AzAmazing evening events.
Departure Date: March 7, 2018
Itinerary Segments: Australia to Asia, 18 nights; Borneo, Vietnam and Thailand, 14 nights; Indian Ocean Adventure, 18 nights; Oman, Luxor and Israel, 17 nights; Greek Isles to Italy, 8 nights; Grand Prix and Cannes, 8 nights; Spain to Portugal, 9 nights; Normandy and Amsterdam, 10 nights.
Price: Prices start at US$55,360 per person for an inside cabin.
The Trip: In Princess Cruises' longest ever cruise, Sea Princess will depart Sydney on a 106-night voyage. Passengers can also choose to cruise roundtrip from Brisbane or Auckland. The ship heads north to visit Indonesia, southeast Asia, the Middle East, and then sails through the Suez Canal and on to Europe, the British Isles, North America and Costa Rica before taking the Panama Canal to South America. Sea Princess then crosses the Pacific Ocean to call on small islands as well as New Zealand before arriving back in Sydney on September 20. The trip features 11 maiden calls to places such as Corfu, Messina, Quebec, Miami and Limon.
Departure Date: June 5, 2018
Itinerary Segments: Sydney to Dubai, 22 nights; Sydney to Southampton, 50 nights; Sydney to New York, 70 nights; New York to Sydney, 36 nights.
Price: Fares for the full 106-night voyage are priced from AU$21,999 per person twin share.
2019 World Cruises
The Trip: Spend 129 nights cruising the world aboard MSC Magnifica in 2019. This sailing departs from Genoa and travels west to ports in the Caribbean, Central America, the U.S., the South Pacific, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. This option is a particularly good choice for island-lovers, as it features visits to eight Caribbean ports plus a handful of less-traveled island destinations in the South Pacific. The cruise ends in Hamburg after visiting port cities in six European countries. Travellers hoping to embark or disembark in cities other than Genoa are in luck: This around-the-world cruise is sold in a good number of segments of varying lengths (most sailing to or from Europe), allowing cruisers to customise their journey more easily.
Departure Date: January 5, 2019
Itinerary Segments: Genoa to Genoa, 118 nights; Genoa to Melbourne, 76 nights; Genoa to San Francisco, 36 nights; Genoa to Southampton, 126 nights; Marseilles to Hamburg, 128 nights; Marseilles to Melbourne, 75 nights; Marseilles to Marseilles, 118 nights; Marseilles to San Francisco, 35 nights; Barcelona to Barcelona, 118 nights; Barcelona to Hamburg, 127 nights; Barcelona to Melbourne, 74 nights; Barcelona to San Francisco, 34 nights; Barcelona to Southampton, 124 nights
Price: Full world cruise fares are not published at this time.
The Trip: Silver Whisper's 2019 world cruise is a 132-night voyage that calls on 52 ports in 31 countries, with 14 overnight port calls. Embarking from San Francisco, the ship sails west to French Polynesia, New Zealand and Australia then travels from Southeast Asia (Indonesia and the Philippines) north then back south to Singapore and India. The route continues through the Maldives and Seychelles before heading to ports throughout Africa and the Atlantic coast of Europe before ending in London on May 19, 2019. Nine writers -- including Pico Iyer and Paul Theroux -- will be onboard the sailing to write stories, inspired by the world cruise route, to be included in a special anthology.
Departure Date: January 6, 2019
Itinerary Segments: San Francisco to Papeete, 12 nights; Papeete to Sydney, 14 nights; Sydney to Bali, 14 nights; Bali to Tokyo, 14 nights; Tokyo to Singapore, 16 nights; Singapore to Mombasa, 16 nights; Mombasa to Cape Town, 14 nights; Cape Town to Lisbon, 24 nights; Lisbon to London, 8 nights.
Price: Full world cruise fares range from $57,700 to $194,300 per person, double occupancy; segment fares are not yet available.
Viking Ocean Cruises
The Trip: Viking explores the Pacific Rim with its 92-night voyage on Viking Spirit. The cruise departs New Zealand and sails to Australia before heading to Indonesia, southeast Asia, China, Japan, Russia, the U.S. and Canada, ending May 7. The trip includes overnight stays in 15 of the 50 ports of call.
Departure Date: February 24, 2019
Itinerary Segments: Segment information is not available yet.
Price: Prices start at US$37,299 per person.