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06.30.11
Holland America World Cruise for 2012

World Cruises Values for 2012
Are there any two words in the English language more enticing than "world cruise?" It's time to start dreaming again - most world cruises set sail in January and this year we have a choice of excellent bargains that are impossible to ignore.

A typical world cruise is a 100-day closed loop voyage in generally one direction, east or west. Historically, the isolated nature of these exotic itineraries meant years of planning for people with nothing but time and money on their hands. But today a cruiser anywhere in the world is just an email away from home, and at these prices you just might decide to book one of these cruises today.

World cruises were also once only offered by luxury cruise lines and typically cost $60,000 to $100,000. But today you can find high quality, premium cruise lines selling world cruises for as little $17,596 per person. For a three and a half month experience of a lifetime that is not an absurd amount of money.

The cruise I just mentioned is on the Pacific Princess - a conveniently small but accommodating vessel (one of the former R-ships from Renaissance) that carries about 700 passengers. This cruise embarks January 13 in Fort Lauderdale, heads west through the Panama Canal, visits San Diego, Hawaii, the South Pacific, Asia and sails through the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean Sea. The cruise officially ends in Venice, Italy, which means you see more ports of call in your 107 days than if you had to cross the Atlantic just to say you went around the world.


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Princess is actually offering two different world cruises in 2012. The Sun Princess will embark from Sydney, Australia, on May 16. This cruise should appeal mostly to Australian cruisers as it mostly skips nearby Asia but carries on to India, Dubai, Egypt, through the Suez Canal, spends a long time in the Mediterranean and northern Europe, touches Iceland on the way to New York, sails through the Panama Canal to Los Angeles, visits Hawaii, Tahiti, New Zealand and then heads home. This 104-day cruise starts at just $19,994 per person, double occupancy, or $29,994 for a balcony cabin.

Most world cruisers are extremely experienced travelers, so the cruise lines focus on ports of call which are more distant from the source. Itinerary is a primary consideration when comparing world cruises, as well as the number of days in port vs. days at sea. If you are sailing 10,000 miles away from home you want to see the sights, not just the ship.

The first cruise above, beginning in Fort Lauderdale, has 61 days at sea out of 107 days cruising; or 46 six days in port. This is average. The Australian-based cruise has 60 days at sea or 44 days in port. Having as many as five days at sea in a row is unavoidable on a world cruise - you have to cover a lot of miles.


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For an Australian (or anyone) who wants to see the Pacific ring (largely bypassed on the world cruise above) the Dawn Princess has a "Grand Voyage" of 75 days that also starts in Sydney but sails up the east coast of Asia from Singapore to Hong Kong, Bangkok, Viet Nam, China, Japan and Vladivostok. From there it begins an extensive Alaska visit similar to a full Alaska cruise. Then it is on to Vancouver, San Francisco, Hawaii, Polynesia and back home.

Another excellent world cruise deal comes from Holland America with MS Amsterdam sailing 112-days from Fort Lauderdale. The unique appeal of this itinerary is the deep southern hemisphere starting with South America's Rio and Buenos Aires, then to the Falklands and Antarctica. Next comes a dramatic Cape Horn crossing to the Chilean Fjords, then the south pacific with Easter Island and Tahiti, then Indonesia, Viet Nam, Thailand and India. The next stretch focuses on Egypt and Petra (Jordan), the Suez Canal, the Mediterranean Riviera and then back to Florida. Starting at just $18,999 for a longer cruise and with only 53 days at sea this is one of the best world cruise values in 2012.

Surprisingly, even the classy Cunard Line has very appealing prices on its two 2012 world cruises. The 107-day voyage on Queen Elizabeth starts at just $23,883 per person (balcony $31, 104). The top suites for the Princess and Queens Grill are already sold out, but there are Britannia category cabins available. The 108-day Queen Mary 2 cruise starts at just $19,578 with Britannia balcony staterooms at $23,328. The Princess category is sold out, but Britannia Club and Queen's Grill are still open.

Queen Mary 2 does not reach the Western Hemisphere at all. It circumnavigates Africa, visits India, Asia, Australia and Indonesia. So it is not truly a world cruise but it is 108 days with 62 days at sea. The Queen Elizabeth is a true world cruise from Southampton through the Suez to India and Asia, Australia, New Zealand, south pacific, Los Angeles, Panama Canal, the Caribbean and New York. The Cunard cruises appeal to Brits first, although these beautiful ships are perfect for anyone, especially at these prices.

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