Q – In this day and age of less ostentatious travel, I wonder if  cruise lines are still offering Around the World type cruises?

A – This year, we count nine lines offering ATW Cruises, six of which will literally circumnavigate the globe. Three of these lines, Holland America, Seabourn, and Silverseas, compete with identical length, 115 day, itineraries. 

Crystal does its World Cruise on the 960-Guest Serenity. Reports from the line  are that approximately 400 of their guests have signed on for the full journey while the rest of the guests purchase one or more segments of the sailing. Although generally less profitable for cruise lines than shorter sailings that use less fuel and offer fewer days at sea, world cruises are in demand and Crystal is currently taking reservations for its 25th Anniversary sailing in 2015 that will be a 108-day circumnavigation. Bookings are, we are told, robust.

This all started in England in the 20’s. Travel Weekly reports that the Lanconia of Cunard Line went out in 1923 for 130 days with stops in 22 ports. This year, two Cunard ships and three P&O liners departed Southampton for full, ATW journeys, almost all of which sail just after the New Year.

Our on staff Around-The-World Expert, recommends bookings be made 16-24 months prior to departure to avoid disappointment. Five characteristics of ATW Cruises:

  • Shore Excursions are often one-of-a-kind designed specifically for one sailing.
  • On board lectures surpass anything generally available at sea
  • The average age of ATW cruisers is going down but is still just north of 65.
  • Menus are rarely repeated.
  • Significant discounts and amenities are offered to full World Cruisers