I am going on a World cruise in 2009. This is my dream trip. If anyone has gone on a World cruise, please let me know what you thought and any advice...I would greatly appreciate it. I am thinking of Holland America or Regent Seven Seas.
A friend of ours went on the Regent Seven Seas Voayger 2005 World Cruise. This http://www.bkrssc.com/2005_WC_Marcie_Diary.htm is a compilation of all of her reports from the cruise. She liked it so much, she is leaving on 2007 World Cruise soon.
Congrats on your plans for 2009 World Cruise; you really do need to plan in advance. It looks like our plans for 2014 World Cruise may have to be postponed a year or two.
"The test of a first rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function."
F Scott Fitzgerald
Seven Seas Navigator (12nts) - San Francisco - Vancouver - May13
Silversea Silver Explorer (23nts) - Kangerlussuaq, Greenland - Nome, Alaska - Aug 14
Here is another cruiser's online journal from the same cruise: http://worldcruise2006.blogspot.com/
Same thing with the final entry, and you will have to scroll to his archives to start at the beginning.
WOW, I envy your experiences. Was it awesome or what? I go back and forth between HAL and RSSC...I have alot of research to do and REALLY appreciate all of your links. I had already read the first log in its entirety and got alot of good information.
Thanks so much for sharing! I was looking all over the internet for such information and could not find it. I found it hard to believe that no one would post their experiences on such a trip....obviously I just was not looking in the right place.
This forum seems to have alot of experience around, which I am grateful for.
The World Cruise is a pretty amazing experience. 4 months is a very long time to be on a ship, so you will want to choose carefully. For us the fixed dining on HAL was just not a possibility. We had done a 2 month cruise as a warm up to this one and the ship had fixed seating for dinner. We really did not like that and would have liked it even less for twice the time! Also, would have had to upgrade pretty far to get an equivalent to the bottom rung cabin on Voyager plus all the extras that were included on RSSC. That being said the people who posted their HAL WC experiences were happy with their choices. This is why there are so many different products, I guess, because people do have different priorities. If you have not cruised on different types of lines before, you might take some trial cruises and see what fits and what doesn't. Don't forget that most lines have some kind of past passenger discounts or onboard booking discounts and on a World Cruise taking that short trial cruise up front can pay for itself in the WC discount! If you have any specific questions, you can contact me directly. (The author name on our blog is clickable.) I am sure that you can contact the 2 HAL cruisers directly as well (if they don't have their email accessible somewhere on their board threads, I am sure that if you post there and ask) and that any of us would be happy to share information and help answer your questions. Good luck!
One last piece of advice is that it is MUCH easier to circumnavigate the world in a westerly direction than an easterly one! Our 2 month cruise was half-way around the world and flying the rest of the way, it was all eastbound. It was tough! You lose an hour every 3 days or so on average. Traveling westbound you gain hours. So, instead of losing an hour of sleep every couple of days, you get an extra hour of sleep! (Of course, when you cross the international date line you give back all those hours plus some, but at that point it just feels like a regular time change!) Now, you might think it won't matter and that you can lose an hour of sleep every few days, but remember that it isn't just you. The crew also lose that hour of sleep and it is hard on them and you will notice it. The word on this year's Voyager's WC is that since the 2007 WC will go east to Asia and then turn around and come back west and that they were going to change the time change point from 2am to 2pm. That way the passengers and crew would not lose sleep, but hours from the afternoons. Just something else to think about. If you have a choice, westbound is much better than eastbound if you are doing a circumnavigation. Of course, you may not have a choice. It is possible that all the lines doing World Cruises in 2009 could be traveling in the same direction, or like Voyager's World Cruise in 2007 not actually make a circumnavigation but go half-way in one direction and then turn around and come back. That's all I can think of for now. Let me know if you have any specific questions.
Your log of your cruise experiences is phenomenal. I have been cutting and pasting tips and tricks into a word document so that I can compile everyone's thoughts. Thank you for your advice about the dining and paying attention to the direction of travel; all great advice that I would not have thought of. I do have more questions for you but I want to read through the rest of your log first and then I will email you directly if you don't mind.
I am really grateful for your help and advice!! I am so excited when I read about your experiences...it is almost like going on the cruise from my office....:>) almost......
I sent you a test email to aol....I wasn't sure if I have your email address correct or not. I have a couple of questions for you if you don't mind. Please let me know if you get it. I went to the blog and clicked on the author's name but it just gives me a prompt box to sign in to aol member directory. Oh well, hopefully I guessed your email address right.
Got it, fire away. Glad you've been enjoying the journal. A note on the cutting and pasting of tips into WORD.doc. I found as I went along doing that at some point I needed to go back to where I found a random tip and reference the entire context of the brief note. It was a nightmare until I started pasting a link for where I found each item of interest, just in case I needed to return later. You may already be doing that, but if not, you might find it useful later as well.
It is almost like cruising from your office... and a LOT cheaper!
Great idea...I have not been doing that but I am going to start. I can see how that may happen. I like all of the food shots in your journal...it makes me hungary and I feel like I have gained at least 10 pounds already!!
This may be a little late to be of much use, but let me add a few thoughts regarding world cruises, focusing on Holland American and RSSC. I have been on part of an RSSC world cruise but not one on HA, although I have cruised on both lines.
First, if you are serious about a world cruise on one of those lines, you MUST take a short cruise on that line first. Aside from whether this might entitle you to some form of past passenger discount, the shorter cruise will help you with something far more important -- a chance to see whether you actually like the particular ship, its atmosphere, activities, food, the personnel, etc. No one cruise line is right for everyone and there is nothing worse than three months of being on the wrong ship at these prices.
Whether either of these is the right cruise line and right ship for you is very much a personal matter based on what each cruise line offers and what it is you specifically want from a cruise. A few thoughts.
These two cruise lines are notably different. RSSC places itself in the luxury market (although it is simply not on a par with Crystal, Seabourn, and Silverseas, the truly luxury lines, for a number of different reasons). HA is a notch below. Food will be somewhat better on RSSC but people will be more "down to earth" on HA. HA has a very loyal following and there are cruisers who have been going back for many years. RSSC has the larger and better-appointed staterooms (at least below the penthouse level). But, RSSC is somewhat "stuffier" and certainly more formal than HA. HA's passengers are, I believe, more diverse than those on RSSC. RSSC includes gratuities and alcohol in the cruise price; HA does not, but HA's prices are lower.
To look at these differences and see if the ship is right for you is why a short cruise is a good idea. But, be aware that a shorter cruise as a measuring rod has its drawbacks and will not give an accurate flavor of a longer cruise for at least two reasons. First, there will be far fewer port days per weeik on a world cruise than on a shorter cruise per week; you will have to entertain youselves on board rather than exploring onshore. Note that ships are very different on the days that they are in port compared to sea days. Therefore, before booking a world cruise, be VERY careful to review the activities and amenities offered by the line to see if they are to your liking - including lecturers, musical programs, entertainers, etc. An obvious example, if the line offers only big band music and more traditional ballroom stlyle dancing (foxtrot, waltz, etc.) and you do not like like either, you are out of luck. A good travel agent - one very familiar with both lines - is absolutely critical to this; do not rely on the promotional literature from the cruise line. The more specific information you can get, the better.
Second, the passenger profile on a world cruise is very different from the short cruises. World cruise passengers are significantly older than those on other cruises. I would estimate the average age at about 60 for most of RSSC's cruises and about 50 for HA. It is easily above 75-80 on the RSSC world cruise and, from what I have heard, above 65-70 on HA. (The longer the itinerary, the older the average passenger.) Passengers on a world cruise (at least those on the entire world cruise) are generraly retirees, with some well-heeled business people and mid to late career professionals thrown in. RSSC's passengers tend to come from the business and professional world; HA also has retired college professors, etc., that are not as abundant on RSSC. This profile will be very clearly reflected in the types of shows and performances put on, the lecturers and the subjects of their lectures, the music played in the lounges and for dancing, etc. To the extent that you want to participate in shipboard activities, make sure that you find out the activities that the ship offers and whether there are activities of interest to you. The activities, lecturers, shopping, etc., on each line will reflect the likes and wants of this clientele.
Be sure to look at those things that are of particular concern to you. If cabin size and comfort is primary (and a world cruise is a long time), then RSSC is probably preferable. If you are interested in shopping, RSSC's shops are more "high end" and "designer" with prices that are more high end as well. Of course, on board shopping is limited on both lines and prices tend to be on the high side. If you are primarily interested in food, then both lines have their strengths and weaknesses. Before my last RSSC cruise, I would have said that its food (including the whole dining experience) was better. But, on my several most recent RSSC cruises, I have experienced too many lapses for a luxury line, particularly in the main dining room (tasteless salmon, bickering waiters, waits for service, etc.). The alcohol included with dinner does not make up for these deficiencies. Similarly, I was not impressed with Voyager's specialty restaurant Signatures on my last cruise (a segment of a world cruise), probably because RSSC promised a truly gourmet experience but did not deliver. HA does not aspire to these same gournet levels of food and service. Thus, its lapses (and there have been some) did not appear as significant. It has good, generally well-prepared meals and the dining room has a less formal feeling. (If you are gourmands or are looking to treat yourselves to a really first-class dining exprience, you should look into Crystal, Seabourn, and Silversea. The food on each is definitely superior to RSSC and to HA.)
Select your cabin on the basis of the amount of time you plan to spend in it and your own personal need for space. Nothing worse than paying for the most expensive cabin on the ship and then using it only to sleep. Prabably, you would need at least the minimum penthouse because of space considerations and the amount you would take with you. (On RSSC Voyager, by the way, do not get a cabin aft of midships because Voyager has had a definite vibrarion problem in the aft part of the ship (and I am told it is worse at higher trans-oceanic speeds on the world cruise).
Finally, be sure to consider your own personal wants and needs. Several rather obvious examples: (1) If you like alcohol, RSSC provides wines with dinner (included in the cruise price) that are fairly good and it will be providing "open bar" elsewhere very soon. While you can avoid signing the chit for your drink (something I dislike about other lines), there does seem to be a certain percentage of people who go on RSSC because of the alcohol-included policy and who overdo it. (2) RSSC has open seating and single seating in its restaurants; HA has fixed seating with two different seatings. (3) Atmosphere - how formal or informal an on board atmosphere do you want? Do you want to dress up for dinner every night? How friendly do you want the crew? I have always sensed that HA is friendlier and somewhat less formal - both in terms of passengers and crew - and that RSSC is "stuffier" and more formal (of course, this is not a hard and fast rule).
Thank you so much for your lengthy and VERY informative response. You are so right about needing to cruise the prospective ship beforehand. I have planned a couple of cruises with HAL but none with RSSC....maybe it was meant to be. I honestly don't think I will have enought time to do another cruise before the world cruise. I did take the Inner Passage Alaska cruise with a land extension with HAL and was thorougly impressed with everything; I doubt I will be disappointed with HAL but you are right...it is a long time and I want to be sure.
Thanks again for your response and time! Your feedback is definately not too late and if you think of anything else I would greatly appreciate your advice.
In some ways, I think that you may have just answered your own initial questiion. If you have gone on one cruise line and enjoyed the product enough to consider future cruises on that line, then the likelihood is that you will be satisfied on a world cruise as well (however, keep in mind some of the differences between longer and shorter cruises). As I noted earlier, please don't even consider a world cruise on a line on which you have never travelled - while other people may have loved the line and while others may have been disappointed, until you have experienced it for yourself you can never be certain that the line (or the individual ship) is right for you for such a long trip.
I would certainly be happy to try to respond to other questions or concerns. I do very much envy that you are able to consider a full world cruise.
I'm not taking AJ. advice as I opted for the full World Cruise and have never been on Regent before. I've been on two Crystal for two long segments and want to get away from all the formal nights and really small cabins. If your going to spend 4 months on a ship the cabin is really important. So I think I'll be happy.
You do get homesick on these things from time to time especially when they transit complete oceans and companionship with the other passengers is important too. Had one really great experience and one not so good. Those 10 sea days in row parts get a little old and what I'm hearing about the Flat Screen TV's interactive features are very neat. I need to watch a good movie once in awhile. These things attracted me to this line.
Selecting a world cruise can be one of the hardened decisions to make. Almost anyone would enjoy taking a world cruise and building some life long memorization. Consider how much money you have to spend when you think about the cruise. Use the internet to find out where you need to go and to get up to date information about the schedules that are available.
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