Cruise Lines International Association said seven of its member cruise lines are offering 10 world cruises in 2009, including an unusual longitudinal itinerary from the top of the world to the bottom beginning in late September. The others, departing in early 2009 from ports on the East and West coasts, will follow the sun from west to east through the Caribbean, South Pacific, Asia, Africa and Europe. "Even during uncertain economic times, it appears that growing numbers of travelers are eager to sail the globe or, at the very least, take a nice long segment of a world cruise in a part of the world they probably have never seen before," said Terry Dale, CLIA's president and CEO. All the world cruises are available for the entire voyage -- typically 90 to 100 days -- and some lines report that almost half their guests stay onboard from start to finish, while others take segments ranging from less than two weeks to more than two months.
Crystal Cruises' 14th annual World Cruise, on Crystal Serenity, departs Los Angeles Jan. 21. The 106-day voyage will visit 45 cities in Mexico, the South Pacific, New Zealand, eastern and western Australia, Indonesia, Southeast Asia, China, Japan, Russia, Alaska, British Columbia as well as San Francisco and back to Los Angeles. Segments are available in lengths of 12 to 22 days. Special guests onboard will include Deborah Norville, Ed McMahon, Richard Dreyfuss, Jack Hanna and more than two dozen experts on world affairs and other topics. The trip will also feature 125 new shore excursions, including several on a complimentary basis.
At Cunard Line, both Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria will embark on their second World Cruises. Queen Victoria makes a 99-day "Exploration of Distant Horizons" world cruise departing from New York Jan. 10 and visiting the Caribbean, Panama Canal, Mexico, the South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand, Asia, the Middle East and Europe. It is available in four segments including the 17-day New York-to-Los Angeles segment and the 27-day Sydney-to-Singapore segment. Queen Mary 2's 90-day "Epic Expedition" departs Fort Lauderdale Jan. 13 and circumnavigates South America before sailing Down Under and then through Asia and Europe. Space is still available on some of the most popular segments including the 28-day Fort Lauderdale-to-Los Angeles segment and 31-day Singapore-to-New York segment.
Holland America Line's Rotterdam returns to world cruising in 2009 with a 114- or 117-day "Grand World Voyage" departing Jan. 19 from Los Angeles. The westbound route sails the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii, the South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand, and through Asia and Africa before visiting the Caribbean and concluding in Fort Lauderdale. Overnights are scheduled in Sydney, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Mumbai, Mombasa and Cape Town. Segments of 22 to 69 days are available. In a departure from many other World Cruise itineraries, the trip will feature the east coast of Africa to South Africa and a rare "Midnight Golden Line Crossing" when the Rotterdam crosses the equator and the International Dateline simultaneously.
Based on the response to its return to world cruising, Princess Cruises will offer two global itineraries in 2009. The 670-passenger Tahitian Princess and 710-passenger Royal Princess will offer similar 107-day itineraries from Fort Lauderdale, the former departing Jan. 12 and finishing in Dover, England, and the latter sailing Jan. 20, concluding in Rome. The itinerary features South America, the South Pacific, Australia, Asia, India and Egypt as well as a variety of European destinations. Both will feature a new port for Princess - Port Blair in the Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean. Other exotic destinations include Vietnam, Cambodia, Papua New Guinea and the Great Barrier Reef.
Regent Seven Seas is offering two simultaneous world cruises in 2009. The 700-passenger Seven Seas Voyager and Seven Seas Mariner will visit 110 ports of call in 50 countries on six continents. Segments range in length from 12 to 24 nights and visit the Caribbean, South America, the South Pacific, New Zealand, Australia, Southeast Asia, Japan, India, the Middle East, North Africa and the Mediterranean. Celebrity guests will include former Florida Gov. Bob Graham, football coach Don Shula, Apollo astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Al Worden, former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and others.
Silversea Cruises is offering the company's first-ever "Grand Pacific Voyage" in 2009, a 92-day cruise timed to coincide with prime regional seasons of the Pacific Ocean. The voyage will depart Los Angeles on March 7 on Silver Shadow. On this journey, composed of six themed segments, guests will visit 45 ports in 15 countries and two hemispheres, with overnight stays in Bora Bora, Sydney, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong and Tokyo. Guests sailing the full voyage will receive complimentary hotel accommodations in Los Angeles on the eve of departure, plus transfer and baggage handling between airport, hotel and ship. Scheduled enrichment speakers include Dr. Kathryn D. Sullivan, the first American woman to walk in space, and author and Pulitzer Prize winner, Frank McCourt.