7 Reasons a World Cruise Is More Doable Than You Thought
We’ll concede that bucket-list trips are in the eye of the beholder, but if ever there were an example everybody could agree on, it would have to be this: Oceania Cruises’ new Around the World in 180 Days voyage—because it’s pretty much all the bucket lists in one.
Put otherwise: six months; six continents; 44 seas; 43 countries; 100 ports of call; 123 UNESCO World Heritage Sites; 39,000 nautical miles; infinite awe. All starting in January 2021 (or if you act fast, January 2020—a journey of similarly epic proportions, but different stops).
Either way, of course, that’s a long time to be on the road—or the high seas, as the case may be. But before you deem the prospect more dreamy than doable, bear with us—because from the minute we heard about these cruises, we’ve been trying to talk ourselves into leaves of absence so we can jump on board. To that end, we’ve come up with a whole series of persuasive points. Read on for seven of the best.
There's no other way to get the sheer volume (and concentration) of amazing travel experiences that you do on this cruise.
The numbers verge on the unfathomable: Beyond the aforementioned 43 countries, 44 seas, 123 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and 39,000 nautical miles, there are the 24 times zones, 39 islands, three oceans and two Equator crossings.
When else in your life will you leave home, and—before you see your front door again—stroll the colonial-era cobblestoned lanes of Colombia and Guatemala; swim with rays in the turquoise lagoons around Bora Bora; search for musky-rat kangaroos in the ancient rain forests of Queensland; travel by tuk-tuk past the pagodas and colonial townhouses of Ho Chi Minh City; wander through seventh-century cave temples outside Mumbai; take in the gilded grandeur of the Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon; or float in a hot-air balloon over the dunes of Dubai?
You'll also have the chance to sail on the Nile to the tomb of Tutankhamun; explore Jesus’ childhood stomping grounds in Nazareth; wander the Blue Mosque and buzzing Grand Bazaar of Istanbul; glide down the Grand Canal of Venice; catch electrifying flamenco in the low-lit taverns of Seville; explore the ancient hillside quarters of Lisbon—and sip sublime vintages in the vineyards of Bordeaux.
And that, of course, is just the short list. For the full and truly staggering list of experiences on offer, pour yourself a glass of something, settle in somewhere comfortable, then go here (and once you're at the list of ports, be sure to click the blue button that shows you all the available excursions in each).
There are experiences you’ll have on this trip that you couldn’t have otherwise.
When even your baseline experience is over the top (see everything above), what do the truly singular moments look like? See: the Oceania Cruises-exclusive excursions peppered throughout the cruise. On Italy’s Tuscan coast, for example, you’ll spend the day at Alpemare, the seaside resort of the Bocelli family (yup, those Bocellis), where a stellar local lunch is followed by—naturally—a musical performance. The special guest? None other than Matteo Bocelli, Andrea’s son.
Another of our favorite examples: the Makahiki Games you can take part on the Big Island of Hawaii, where this ancient tradition marks a post-harvest period of rest and revelry—and you can try your hand at anything from konane (Hawaiian checkers) to‘o’o ihe (spear throwing).
To say nothing of the soiree inside the fifth-century Turkish cistern—or the private Riverdance performance in the 18th-century Mansion House (official residence of the Lord Mayor of Dublin).
This isn’t, literally, 180 days of on-board living.
At several stops—including India, Spain and Turkey—you’ll have stays of two nights or longer to keep those land legs very happy. Factor in all the day-long stops throughout the cruise, and cabin fever doesn’t stand a chance.
On the other hand, given everything there is to do on board, days at sea will take on a glorious rhythm all their own—whether you want to start your day with sunrise yoga and a Euphoric Coffee Scrub (one of countless tempting treatments on the spa menu), or simply breakfast in bed. Next up might be a class or demo of some kind—say, sketching or cooking—followed by nine holes on the putting greens. And any time you need a cozy retreat—but particularly after the ship's daily, traditional afternoon tea—there's the English-style library, home to more than 2,000 volumes. At the other end of the spectrum, you’ll find karaoke, folkloric shows, Broadway-style musical productions, dancing, comedians, magicians…and the list goes on.
When you break down the price, it’s actually quite the value.
Sure, $44,999 per guest—i.e., the cruise’s starting fare—is substantial. But when you break it down to $250 per night for a private sanctuary aboard a five-star floating hotel, the price suddenly doesn’t seem so high. Especially when you look at everything that’s included: 24-hour room service, twice-daily maid service, wireless Internet access, nightly turndown service, Bulgari bath products and—because you'll want to stay well hydrated for such a sustained level of adventure—unlimited soft drinks and bottled water in your mini-bar.
Not to mention what’s included outside your stateroom: dining at all specialty restaurants, concierge service, cocktail parties, artist workshops, gratuities, laundry service, onboard medical care, exclusive shore-side events, a pre-cruise luxury hotel stay, roundtrip transfers, a visa package and—arguably best of all—first-class roundtrip airfare.
If you don’t have a full 180 days to spare, you can still join for any of a number of singular segments.
If now's not the time for a six-month journey, there are several considerably shorter (but well and truly amazing) segments that you can join. The 12-day “Pagodas to Palaces” from Hong Kong to Singapore is the shortest, taking in Ho Chi Minh City, Bangkok and the tropical island hideaway of Ko Samui, in addition to the South China Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. Then there are two 15-day cruises to choose from: “Colossal Antiquities” from Istanbul to Barcelona with stops in Greece, Croatia, Italy and France—and “Ramblas to Royalty” from Barcelona to London. And for anyone who’s ever wanted to do a transatlantic cruise, this 22-day version is hard to beat, with stops in the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland, and Canada.
These will be the best six months of eating you'll do for the rest of your life.
With Jacques Pépin as Executive Culinary Director and artisanal ingredients as galley staples (including French flour that's custom-milled to the line's specifications), Oceania Cruises takes the "finest cuisine at sea" promise very seriously, as you’ll taste at every meal—whether that’s lobster pad thai, coq au vin, or Cajun-style blackened salmon.
Yes, the food alone—fresh, seasonal and largely inspired by the day’s port of call—is arguably worth the trip. The six restaurants range from Toscana (a celebration of Italian regional specialties—some taken directly from the mothers and grandmothers of Oceania Cruises' Italian culinary staff) to the Grand Dining Room (home to ever-changing global and continental selections) to the Terrace Café (we suggest anything out of the pizza oven). And vegetarians and vegans should take note: The line’s recently unveiled plant-based menus include a staggering 200-plus healthy options.
There’s nothing like camaraderie born out of cruising the world together.
If you spend six months in what’s essentially a floating village, you’re bound to make friends. At a minimum, you have a common love of adventure and discovery—the start of what tends to be an incredibly special bond. Don’t be surprised when you wind up belting out some uncharted karaoke duets—or just shooting the breeze over a secret local lunch spot you've discovered together.
Nor should you be surprised when—as you’re sharing sundowners in Africa or aperitivi in Italy—you start talking about booking your next cruise with your new mates.