Around the World in 107 Days for $17,595

| Tuesday, 11 Sept. 2012

Pacific Princess off the coast of Easter Island Is there any boast more imaginably satisfying than "I just went around the world?" As a cruise travel writer I have pondered countless world cruise itineraries over the years, but yet has any cruise imbued that deep wanderlust in me more than this one; the Pacific Princess cruise for 2013.

What is the appeal of this particular cruise? As a very experienced cruiser I have already seen many world destinations, but the ones I still need to see are both distant and diverse. Flying in the modern age is dauntingly expensive and uncomfortable, and to see the all the places on my bucket list could easily require six different flights, but most of them are included in this one world cruise - and the potential airfare alone for all of those trips combined could pay for this one cruise.

Like most, this world cruises sets sail in January and ends in April. Every year there are about 10 different world cruises on all kinds of ship's styles and prices. You could spend well over $200,000 by taking a suite on one of the luxury cruise lines if that is what you want to do.

But remarkably, you can also get a world cruise of 109-days for less than 10% of that cost - and that is the one I want. Here it is: the 107-day Pacific Princess world cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Venice, Italy.

The cost is as little as $17,595 (inside cabin) and only $23,195 for a balcony stateroom, per person double occupancy. That is about as affordable as any world cruise ever gets, but price is not the only attraction. The thing I like best is the itinerary. I have already cruised to many places in this world, but this itinerary seems to skip many of the typical cruise destinations I have already seen, and it favors the more unusual destinations which I have not seen. As far as I can tell this cruise was specially designed for cruise aficionados like me. Even better, I like Princess cruises a lot and I especially trust the line's tour department. I have never been disappointed by a Princess tour. And for onboard comfort while I am traveling Princess ships are well within the comfort and convenience zone for people like me.

Would you seriously consider taking a world cruise someday? Tell us here: Princess Cruises Forum

The Pacific Princess World Cruise Itinerary

The cruise starts January 27, 2013, in Ft. Lauderdale but there are no typical Caribbean calls along the way (I love them, but I've seen them). After Costa Rica and transiting the Panama Canal we stop in Ecuador followed by an overnight in Lima, Peru.

Right away we turn to the mysterious South Pacific. First stop; the remote Easter Islands with the infamous statue heads - one of the rarest and most enduring mysteries in the world - who made them how did they how were they placed there? Next is Pitcairn, the island so remote only the Mutiny on the Bounty survivors ever chose to stay.

By day 23 we are in Tahiti, beautiful isle of Paul Gauguin colors like black sand beaches and turquoise coral water that is so clear you can see tropical fish swimming between your legs. Next is breathtaking Auckland, New Zealand, followed by Tasmania and Sydney, Australia. We trail the Great Barrier Reef with hundreds of miles of coral and sea life, one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World.

By day 45 we are in Guam, gateway to Asia - the land whose mystery calls to me constantly. I long to see all of Asia and this cruise does not disappoint. We see Osaka and Hiroshima, Japan, followed by Inchon, Korea. Two days later we touch Shanghai followed by an overnight stay in glorious Hong Kong.

Next we come Ho Chi Minh City and Halong Bay in enigmatic Viet Nam, a name I once associated with danger but that today I hear has beauty beyond belief. Malaysia and Thailand, steeped in Buddhist philosophy are also exotic attractions and here the cruise will languor in a variety of ports for an entire week. Bangkok's botanical garden has trained elephants and tigers.

Singapore is where strict society meets exotic sensual delights. In Kuala Lumpur we'll scale the newest and tallest twin towers in the world before we sail on to colonial George Town. Our final regional port is Phuket, Thailand, an island resort of beautiful beaches and a melting pot of Asian culture.

Now we venture on to India, calling in Mangalore and Mumbai, the sprawling city once known as Bombay, a place everyone must see in a lifetime.

Would you seriously consider taking a world cruise someday? Tell us here: Princess Cruises Forum

More new and exotic destinations follow: and overnight stay in Dubai where we see the most beautiful and expensive hotel in the world, the Burj Al Arab, plus the tallest building in the entire world, the Burj Khalifa with an observation deck on floor 124. The next call is Qatar where the Souq Waqif bazaar specializes in birds of prey like falcons. Outside the city Bedouins live in tents and keep their camels. The next port is Muscat, Oman, another wildly exotic destination for an American.

Leaving the more remote Arab world we enter the most exciting destination in the world, Egypt.

You might think you cannot see the Nile River and the nearly 5000-year-old temples of Luxor and the Valley of the Kings from a cruise ship - but you can. With a port of call in Safaga, Egypt, a short coach ride across the desert brings the Nile River valley, birthplace to the most enduring civilization in world history.

Next stop is Sharm Al Sheik on the Sinai Peninsula - wrought with ancient and modern history. Saint Catherine's Monastery contains the "burning bush" where Prophet Moses received his golden tablets. As the oldest continuous monastery in the world since the fourth century, when the site was first discovered by the prophet of Islam, Mohammed, he wrote a letter still on display at the site promising it would remain untouched forever, and so it has.

Next we see Aqaba, Jordan, gateway to the ancient city of Petra with facádes like an ancient Greek metropolis, but carved into solid sandstone along with full rooms (actually caves) inside. The city was once home to tens of thousands of citizens who spoke Aramaic, the language of Jesus. Petra's "secret entrance" is a breathtaking passage winding through narrow sandstone arcs for nearly half a mile. When you finally arrive at the first "building,", the treasury actually carved in solid stone, you will instantly recognize it as the "secret temple" from the movie "Indiana Jones." It is yet another of the Seven Wonders of the World on this amazing cruise - with more to follow soon.

The next stop is Cairo, where the ancient pyramids of Giza are guarded by one of the most recognized profiles in the entire world; the Sphinx.

Still, the wonders continue as we come to Ashdod, Israel, gateway to the holy sites of Bethlehem and Jerusalem where we see the Via Dolorosa, the final walk of Jesus. You can also visit the Wailing Wall at the Temple of David, the site of the Last Supper and the Dome of the Rock. You can also see the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Holocaust Museum.

After a stop in Cyprus the ship stays overnight in Istanbul, where East meets West. Visit the Hagia Sofia, the Blue Mosque, the Topkapi Palace and the largest souk marketplace in the world. Even try real Caspian Sea caviar from Iran, said to be the best in the world.

Nearing the end we call in Athens for the Acropolis and its surrounding Plaka marketplace followed by Kotor, Montenegro, with its 12th-Century Byzantine churches before our cruise ends in Venice, the most romantic city in the world and yet another wonder of the world. Venice is one of the most inspiring places I have ever seen. Most regular cruisers have been there, but if not you can spend as much time as you wish.

The World Cruise

That is the Pacific Princess 2013World Cruise. I have already mentioned the unbelievable prices, from $17,595 (inside) or just $23,595 for a balcony stateroom. But the best thing about this cruise is the most exotic and fulfilling world cruise itinerary I have ever seen.

Would you seriously consider taking a world cruise someday? Tell us here: Princess Cruises Forum

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