Think You Are Ready For An Around The World Cruise?
There are many reasons to think that you are ready for an around the world cruise. You might enjoy exotic destinations, great food, learning about new cultures, getting out every day or just being pampered. But there are things you should consider before you head off. Medical care at sea can be costly and less extensive. Costs can add up quickly. If you are an introvert, you may find it hard to have people around you all the time. And not all ports of call will be great!
Many people put around the world tours on their bucket lists! We have friends who have booked an around the world cruise for 2019. They are always trying to get us to join them. If not for the whole thing, then at least for large segments.
Our cruise trips are getting longer. We did two cruises back-to-back in the Caribbean for a total of 24 days. We had a great chance to see new destinations in Central America and then head back out to the islands of the eastern Caribbean. On our great cruise adventure, we were on the cruise ship for 51 days. A 12 day Baltic cruise turned into 24 days when we extended it to travel along the north coast of Europe. Longer trips have given us a chance to think about whether we are ready for an around the world cruise.
Let’s look at the pros and cons. See if you are ready for an around the world cruise!
You May Be Ready for An Around the World Cruise If You ….
1) Like To Be In A Different Spot Every Day
There is nothing more exciting than opening your curtains to see where you have landed. You may get a sunrise over a new view, busy bustling harbours or iconic travel sights. Entering the port outside the Panama Canal brought home the reality of how busy this port was. There was no doubt that we had reached Cape Town when we saw the majestic Table Mountain towering over the city! Lisbon was just waking up when we docked in the centre of town.
People often crowd cruise ship docks to watch the entry to a new port. But the decks are also a popular spot to catch that magic view of a sunset at sea.
Wanting to see a different exciting port every day would be a great reason to know you are ready for an around the world cruise!
2) Need to Taste Test A Destination Before Booking a Longer Trip
There are so many places in the world to visit. If you look at the pictures that people post online, every destination is beautiful and perfect. Sometimes you need to see a place for yourself to know if you really want to visit. Cruises typically give you one or two days in a port. This lets us get a little taste test. Sometimes a short stop is all that is needed to move a destination up or down what might be a long list of possible vacation spots.
Touring a city will give you a view of the some of the top tourist spots. You may only have time for a few on a first visit. A cruise stop in a great city like Barcelona will only whet your appetite for more.
Sometimes you may choose to head off the tourist path and see the countryside and the local people. Many times, we will pick an excursion that gets us out of the cities. Exploring the countryside in Nosy Be, Madagascar gave us a view of beautiful landscapes and colourful local people.
You may want to have a unique adventure when you visit a destination. In St Maarten, we got a chance to crew one of the America’s Cup 12 Metre racing sailboats. It was fun and exhilarating and something we could not do anywhere else. As we traveled down the African coast, we took every opportunity to do game drive excursions. You can’t visit Africa without seeing large animals. And it reinforced our desire to head back for a longer African safari!
You may get to stay overnight in a place to get a different and longer view of a destination. Visiting the Maldives for two days allowed us to see the town by night and to enjoy underwater fun the next day. This small taste test of the Maldives certainly reinforced our desire to return!
If you want to taste test a large number of destinations, then you may be ready for an around the world cruise!
3) Only Want To Unpack Once
I have not yet learned the art of packing light. While I try every trick in the book, I still tend to cart around too much on vacation. If you head off on a long trip to see very different destinations, you will need a broader variety of things in your suitcase. We learned that travelling from town to town with a lot of bags is not fun!
One of the biggest advantages of cruising is that you only have to unpack once. Your stuff is moved from port to port. This takes some stress out of visiting a lot of different destinations.
On our amazing adventure, we went on overland excursions that took us off our cruise ship for several days. We left the ship for two days to explore the temples and tombs in Luxor, Egypt. The second time, we travelled inland for 3 days to see the Taj Mahal. The great thing about having a home base on the cruise ship was that we needed to pack only for a short trip. We left everything else behind.
If you like to shop in the local markets when you travel, an around the world cruise will give you lots of shopping opportunities. You may pick up local garb, add clothes that you forgot to pack or just indulge in some retail therapy. When travelling in Muslim Oman, we needed to dress more conservatively. I took the opportunity to buy a full-cover outfit that was just perfect!
If you are ready for an around the world cruise, you can unpack once in your cabin or maybe even have your butler do it. There will be opportunities for longer port stops or overland excursions. You can pack specifically for that unique trip! Or buy a local outfit to fit right in!
4) Crave Good Food Every Day
Cruise ships are generally known for the quality and variety of the food. You can be casual in the buffets, dress up for a special treat or even relax with room service. And you never have to cook!
Special dinners often provide an opportunity to try local fare. Fresh produce and seafood is often purchased in port when the ship docks. We had the greatest Greek buffet when we cruised through the Greek islands!
While it is tempting to eat all of your food on the ship, many ports offer great new cuisine to try. You may pick an excursion that offers local restaurants. We often will sign up for tours that offer wine tasting. We couldn’t possibly miss on the great wine of South Africa!
David is much more adventurous than me and will often try a more unusual meal. He ate ostrich carpaccio in Durban, South Africa while I just watched with my fresh seafood!
A love of great food is certainly one of the reasons why you may be ready for an around the world cruise.
5) Need No Excuse To Be Active
If you enjoy all the tasty food as you cruise, you may be worried about gaining weight or becoming lazy. While that may be the case on some days, we are generally much more active when travelling. If you want a good reason to be more active, then you may be ready for an around the world cruise.
There will be so many ports with opportunities for exploration on foot. Walk up the hills in Mykonos to see the windmills up close. Wander the small alleys in Jerusalem. Explore sugar mills and rum plants in Grenada!
Walking around the cruise ship will also add steps. We try to walk the stairs as much as possible. Most cruise ships have outdoor walking paths. This is a great place to start or finish a day!
Pools and fitness centres provide opportunities for exercise on days at sea. There are sometimes classes if you need group motivation.
If you need a break or want to pamper yourself, a visit to the on-board spa is a great treat! There should be no reason not to stay fit when you are ready for an around the world cruise!
6) Like to Learn More About Places You Visit
A cruise ship is a great place to take advantage of learning opportunities. There are lectures that tell you more about the customs and history of ports. Practical advice will prepare you for the port visit whether it is about money, transportation or key local phrases.
Sometimes you may learn surprising new things when you attend a ship lecture. We were not really prepared to be cruising through pirate territory on our Middle East trip. Two days into our cruise, we had a pirate drill. Our room steward told us that she had been on board the last time that pirates tried to board the ship we were on. You can be sure that we attended the lecture on piracy at sea!
There are many interesting seafaring traditions. If you travel around the world, you will experience many of them. We crossed the equator on our cruise ship. The celebrations were fun and a great way to mark this passage.
If you are looking for new skills or hobbies, cruise ships offer lots of opportunities. We were a bit surprised at how busy the needlepoint classes were. Casino lessons are always popular. On our trans-Atlantic cruise, we enjoyed an Italian wine tasting course, complete with perfect delicious pairings. David never missed a chance to learn a new magic trick. My favourite was always cooking lessons. We found the food sessions to be both entertaining and educational!
As the cruise ships move from port to port, you can learn new things. On a long cruise, the lecturers and events will change to offer you variety. There will be no shortage of new things to learn if you are ready for an around the world cruise!
7) Love Great Customer Service
We have had great customer service experiences when we have cruised. If you are on a ship for a longer time, the ship staff will get to know you. You will be welcomed by name. They will come to know your preferences and be proactive in anticipating your needs. You will feel like their guest and not a stranger!
Your cruise ship will feel more like home over time.
Other Things To Consider Whether You Are Ready For An Around The World Cruise ….
You may be tempted by this idyllic view of cruising. You may have tried a cruise and may even have moved to longer and longer cruises. But there are some other realities to consider before you are ready for an around the world cruise.
1) Medical Care
Cruise ships have medical centres. The cost of your visit to the medical centre may even be included in the cost of your cruise. But the cost of medicine is not included and you will pay a premium on-board a ship. Make sure you travel with all of your regular medicines. Be prepared for high costs if you need something unplanned. You may not always be able to wait to reach a port or the port may not have the medicines you want.
While the ship can cover many medical problems, there is a limit to what care they can provide. You may need to leave the ship in a port or even be air-lifted to a hospital. Be sure to plan for medical travel insurance to cover the unexpected. If you have more serious medical issues, you may not be ready for an around the world cruise.
2) Not All Ports Will Be Great
On a long cruise itinerary, there will be some ports that you have no interest in. It is ok to stay on the ship in some ports. That is a great time to have the ship all to yourself.
Entering a new port every day may mean a lot of time spent in immigration and security checks. The cruise company will help you to understand the visas and paperwork needed in each port. They will help you get your clearances, at a cost. You can plan to do the paperwork yourself, but make sure you keep abreast of changing requirements.
There may also be immunization rules for different ports as you travel. Get the ones you can in advance or travel with medicine. Several of the ports in Africa required malaria pills. We had our immunization records and malaria pills packed with us.
And not all ports will offer great cruise terminals. It was always great to arrive and have access to services right on the dock. Staff and passengers often look for free internet. If you plan to tour or shop on your own, you will want a bank machine. Some of the ports we landed at were locked-down commercial ports and we could not even walk out of the port! This was not a great first view of a new destination.
3) Extended Days At Sea
If you have trouble being on the water, then an extended cruise may not be for you. Many parts of the cruise will be within protected harbours. But on around the world cruises, you will have to cross the big seas and oceans. We were surprised on our trans-Atlantic cruise at how many calm, flat sea days we had. But weather and open seas should be expected.
There are medicines and sea bands to help deal with the symptoms. You should test these out on rough sea days first. On our last trip, I packed my carry-on with an unusual assortment of gadgets. I bought a vibrating, wrist-worn sea band to deal with seasickness. I only had to put it on twice so the device really wasn’t properly tested. But it will stay in my bag for when I am ready for an around the world cruise.
4) Plan For the Full Cost
Cruise fares cover most of the cost of basic travel and accommodations. They can be used as a great base to start a travel budget. But make sure you have considered all costs!
Cruise excursions are a major cost if you really want to explore all the ports you visit. Advance planning may give you options that are less expensive. In some ports, plan to just walk and explore.
Communications costs need to be factored in. Internet may be included in your base fare but you will find the speed and access to be constraining. You will want to find internet on shore and you may want to have an international plan. We travel with both an international SIM and an international wifi hot spot. When we are in a port that one of these plans covers, we will often take advantage of shore-based plans to get fast connectivity.
We are not big drinkers or gamblers, so those onboard costs don’t tend to add up for us. But these should be in your budget. You can bring a small amount of alcohol onto the ship. We also watch for wine sales onboard.
Travel insurance including medical insurance will add up when you are away for a very extended journey. Do your research to find options that cover long trips. When you add up all the costs, you may find that you are not yet ready for an around the world cruise!
5) Introverts Be Aware
If you are an introvert like me, you recharge with quiet and solitude. On our last big cruise, I would go back to my cabin after dinner. I could not take any more time with large groups of people. There are usually spots on the ship that will provide a quiet oasis. If you are an introvert, make sure to take that time for yourself.
But if you are not an introvert or are a very social person, there will be no end of people to meet. At each new segment of travel, new people will get on the ship. You will get a chance to meet new people at meals, on excursions, about the ship and at many of the entertainment events.
6) Things Back At Home
Are you ready to be away from home for a long time? A few years ago, we sold our house and bought a condo. It is now easy to set the alarm and travel. If you have a house, you will need to think about maintenance and safety at home.
We have moved much of our communication to be email based. We can bank, pay bills and even get notifications from the government by email. But there are still things that come in the mail that we need to deal with. It will be impossible to have your mail forwarded, so you will need to find someone to open mail that looks time sensitive. Hopefully you will be able to deal with it remotely.
Life will also go on at home when you are away. You will miss holidays and family events. In most cases we rely on electronic communication with our friends and family when we travel. If we can get a good internet connection, Skype lets us share video. Maybe your family can even join you on a segment of the cruise.
But there may be times when an emergency at home will require you to return. Factor this into your thinking about travel insurance. If things at home are likely to need your presence, you may not yet be ready for an around the world cruise.
Are You Ready For An Around The World Cruise?
There are lots of great reasons to think about an around the world cruise. Each year, the major cruise companies add new, exciting around the world routes. But there are also things to keep in mind if you are planning such an extended journey.
We have been taking longer and longer trips away from home. This helps us to work out some of the logistics of long term travel. Each trip we seem to learn something new! We are not there yet but some day we may be ready for an around the world cruise!
Do you think you are ready for an around the world cruise? Other than cost, what is your biggest concern about taking an around the world cruise?
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