The voyage you embark on when you set foot on a cruise ship is quite unlike anything you’ll experience elsewhere, so it’s no wonder so many of us return to cruising time and again. For a growing number of cruise lovers there’s every reason to spend as much time at sea as possible – that’s why long-haul cruising is an increasingly popular choice for those who want to sail away happy.
Whether it’s a grand voyage from one far-flung destination to another or one of the growing variety of full round the world cruises, passengers are able to experience the best cruise ships and most inspiring destinations for up to months at a time. Thanks to our knowledge of the best world cruises, we’ve put together a few quick tips to help you decide whether a long-haul world cruise should be on your radar.
What is a long-haul cruise?
When you think of a long-haul flight, you think of hours spent in the air between two places that are really far apart. It’s the same with long-haul cruises, except you’re at sea, so the pace is slower and the views are better. Long-haul cruises keep you onboard your chosen cruise ship for anywhere upwards of a month at a time and often factor in the most sublime spots on the map. For example, one of Cunard’s top itineraries sails between Southampton and Sydney on a 60-day voyage that is peppered with other destinations en route.
It’s a good idea to remember that a long-haul cruise isn’t always the same as a true round the world cruise, where you spend three months or more circumnavigating the globe. There’s often plenty of overlap though, with many cruise ship guests able to book select legs of a long-haul journey if they wish to. So taking the Cunard voyage above as an example, you could choose to board in Spain and disembark in Dubai.
Tips for packing
Packing for a cruise is pretty simple, yet in the case of long-haul cruises it’s worth taking into account just how long you’ll be away. While there’ll be laundry facilities and the like, it’s still a good plan to take a few more outfits than you would on any other break. Depending on your chosen itinerary you’re likely to be travelling through several different climates and time-zones, so a long-haul or world cruise often means packing both swimwear and a winter coat.
That said, remember that you’re going to be visiting some superb destinations. You could get lost amid Moroccan souk markets or Italian fashion boutiques and come back onboard loaded with souvenirs and new ensembles. With that in mind, it’s smart to keep some suitcase space free, as you’ll be cruising for quite some time and you never know what you’ll pick up.
Preparing for your voyage
It’s exciting to imagine spending 100 days or more cruising around the world’s most exotic locations. Make sure your heart’s fully in it for a long-haul voyage as you’ll be away from home for a long time, but enjoying experiences that make it massively worthwhile. As always, the fine print is your friend here, especially when it comes to considerations of visas and the like. Most cruise lines will help you get such technicalities sorted long before your departure date and are always at the other end of the line to answer anything that’s on your mind.
That said, most of what you’ll need to do as far as preparations go is good old fashioned common sense. For instance, making sure you’ve got a passport with plenty of blank pages for all those destinations, as well as six months left before expiry, is a smart move.
Another good idea when preparing for your dream world cruise is to put together a budget. Most cruise lines, such as Oceania Cruises, showcase their long-haul and round the world cruises as much as 18 months in advance, so you’ve got ample time to put away some spending money. Consider details like time spent onshore at your favourite destinations, as well as any excursions that you might be interested in.
Shopping is also worth considering, as well as food and drink if you’re dining beyond the complementary offerings of your chosen cruise ship’s buffet restaurant. Luckily lots of cruise lines give generous incentives to help you out here, particularly when you book early. Silversea has been known to give as much as £4,000 onboard credit and free flights to and from the point of the world cruise’s beginning and end destinations to the savviest shoppers.
The best lines for long-haul cruises
While a great number of cruise lines excel at world cruises – as evidenced by their popularity – there are some cruise lines we adore for always going the extra mile. For instance, although Cunard bears the distinction of being the first line to cruise around the globe as far back as the 1920s, its modern offerings onboard Queen Elizabeth represent the finest in international luxury and comfort.
Oceania Cruises also get plenty of praise every year for their Around The World in 180 Days itinerary. Expanding on the Jules Verne classic, this route sees Insignia wind her way around the world’s most exotic ports, beginning in Miami and stopping at Hong Kong, Zanzibar, Hawaii and French Polynesia. Imagine the photo album you’d be taking home.
Meanwhile, a good combination of long-haul and full round the world cruises can be found in the Grand Voyages of Holland America Line. Its full global cruise itinerary starts and ends in Fort Lauderdale in Florida, touching places such as Italy, China, Brazil and the Caribbean on its journey. Each of those regions offers a long-haul itinerary of its own, allowing passengers who have a preference for a particularl part of the world to experience just that leg of the journey in comfort and style.
Long-haul and world cruises are versatile voyages and unforgettable adventures. We’re ready to help make your next big break happen and would love to know the stories you have from your favourite destinations.
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