How we fell in enjoy with the round-the-planet cruise

Cooking, cleaning, buying, generating beds. All of it goes out the window, leaving planet cruisers cost-free to do as considerably or as small as they want. They fall into a rhythm of waking, consuming, dozing and consuming once again, interrupted now and then by port calls, line-dancing classes, choir practice or a higher-brow lecture or two by historians, art and architecture authorities, geopolitical commentators and some popular faces: Lord Digby Jones, Lord Jeffrey Archer, Steve Wozniak and former Royal butler Grant Harrold on Seabourn and, in the previous, the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Holland America Line and, on Cunard’s QE2, the late Alan Whicker who described the ship as “a space capsule drifting about the planet in a delightful way”.

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines’ planet cruises and extended voyages also have a chaplain on board, ministering to these who want to be ministered to (don’t forget the 2013 Television series The Cruise: A Life at Sea, which followed the Rev Colin Nevertheless on a 112-evening international odyssey with the line?). “There are extra applications from chaplains than we have cruises,” says Tim Spicer, a former Fred Olsen cruise director who now has a land-primarily based function with the organization. Caring for a floating flock when seeing the planet? What’s not to like?

I added washing and ironing to my list of issues you do not have to do on a planet cruise, but other passengers had been laundry-space regulars for the reason that it was the very best location to catch up with the “village” gossip. It felt like St Mary Mead meets Midsomer Murders without the need of the physique count – but we had been fortunate. Globe cruisers are a mature lot – an age group with the time and income for a extended trip – so losing 1 now and then is not unheard of. Cruise lines do not speak about it, but it occupied the thoughts of numerous of these cruising with Rev Nevertheless.

Mine was a Phileas Fogg-style whizz about the planet in 80 days, which is a drop in the ocean compared with most circumnavigations. Silversea’s 2025 controtempo planet cruise (so-named for the reason that it begins in Tokyo) lasts 136 days. Pah! That is nothing at all. Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ 2025 circumnavigators will be at sea for 150 nights, in the course of which time they will imbibe about 11,000 bottles of champagne and consume some 200,000 eggs. 

Not to be beaten (pun unintended), Oceania Cruises and Viking offer you 180-day planet cruises, when Royal Caribbean International has an epic 274-evening voyage. It was 70 per cent sold a week right after going on sale, with half of these who booked undertaking the complete point (planet cruises are also readily available in sections). All that, and you only unpack after.

It is time adequate for friendships to type (a group on my cruise told me they met up every year on a round-the-planet sailing) and romances and eccentricities to blossom. One particular instance is the Fred Olsen passenger who believed it would be a very good wheeze to come to an Indian-themed celebration dressed as the elephant god Ganesha. “We had to clarify that it wasn’t acceptable, specially as a lot of our crew are Indian,” Spicer says. Cunard had a retired surgeon who wanted to play golf in each and every port. The crew pulled it off, even if 1 time it was just a hole in a field.

Viking has initiation ceremonies that involve ice-filled pools and glugs of the Norwegian firewater aquavit. On its 2019 planet cruise, a bunch of knitters got with each other and created extra than one hundred hats for babies in Madagascar, which a month prior to the ship’s contact had been devastated by Cyclone Idai.

QE2’s 1st planet cruise, in 1975, expense from $four,800 per individual for an inside cabin (equivalent to £3,994 at existing exchange prices), which was costly back then but a snip compared with right now. Not that a planet cruise has to break the bank. Settle for an inside cabin and you can have 120 nights on Ambassador Cruise Line’s 2024 planet cruise from £7,999 per individual, or 99 nights on P&ampO Cruises from £9,629.

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