Grand Adventures, World Cruises and Beyond
Luxury Cruise Guide
17 November, 2021
Boarding a ship for a multi-month “Grand Voyage” or “World Cruise” isn’t just a voyage. It’s a chapter in time, a chunk of life, a way to be part of “something bigger” than one’s little corner of the world. Cruisers can dig deeper into life on Earth by meeting people of other cultures and gaining new perspectives.
In addition, after five or six days aboard or even one or two weeks, cruisers are still savoring the luxurious onboard experience, and not preparing for the trip home as they would on a shorter voyage. Instead, they’re thinking of months yet to come — about traveling to exotic places, seeing more fabulous sites and exploring diverse cultures, all from their floating “home away from home.”
Multiple Grand Adventures
For guests who love longer voyages, Regent Seven Seas Cruises has curated four enticing “Grand Voyages” for 2023-2024. What’s special? These types of voyages are not as lengthy as a World Cruise, but highly appealing for luxury guests who desire to spend 55 to 85 nights or so traveling the globe.
If exploration of Europe is of interest, we’d suggest travelers check out Regent Seven Seas’ “Grand European Sojourn,” a robust, 62-night itinerary on the 750-passenger Seven Seas Splendor. Departing September 5, 2023, it sails from Stockholm, Sweden to Piraeus (Athens), Greece.
This Grand Voyage kicks off with Baltic Sea calls at Helsinki, Finland; St. Petersburg, Russia (overnight); Tallinn, Estonia; Klaipeda, Lithuania; Gdansk (Gdynia), Poland; and Copenhagen, Denmark, before Seven Seas Splendor sails to the United Kingdom and Ireland for multiple port calls.
Then, it’s on to the Atlantic Ocean’s Bay of Biscay and the wine enticements of Bordeaux, France (overnight), before the ship heads to Bilbao and La Coruna, Spain; Oporto and Lisbon, Portugal; Gibraltar; Granada (Motril), Alicante, Palma de Mallorca and Barcelona, Spain. French ports too are on the agenda — from Marseille to Saint-Tropez, and then the ship sails to Monte Carlo, Monaco. Next are port calls at Livorno (Florence/Tuscany), Civitavecchia (Rome) and Naples, all in Italy, before arrival in Kotor, Montenegro; Split, Croatia; and Koper, Slovenia.
One interesting shore excursion from Koper, is the line’s “Historical Piran and Wine Tasting” tour. As Slovenia’s oldest town, coastal Piran brims with Greek and Roman history and is essentially a well-preserved open-air museum. It’s famed for lovely architecture and as the birthplace of Giuseppe Tartini, a Renaissance composer who is remembered today with a bronze statue in the town’s square. Cruisers will see that and other spots in town on this excursion’s guided walking tour.
During this tour, cruisers will also learn about the authentic taste of the salt produced in the nearby salt fields. That made Piran an important part of the Venetian Republic back in the day. After the walking tour, cruisers can relax on a scenic 45-minute ride to the Santomas Wine Cellar, Slovenia’s largest wine cellar, for a cellar tour and wine-and-cheese tasting.
On this “Grand European Sojourn” voyage, guests will also spend two full days and an overnight in Venice, Italy, and also tour Urbino (Ancona), Italy; Dubrovnik, Croatia; and enjoy a second call at Kotor, Montenegro. Then farther into the eastern Mediterranean, guests will go ashore at Rhodes, famed for its Crusades-era fortifications in the Old City, plus beaches and the ancient acropolis of Lindos.
Luxury Travel Advisor just returned from two cruises that called at Rhodes this summer. If time permits, we’d opt for a day trip that calls at Lindos, about a 40-mile ride from Rhodes city. Fit travelers (able to negotiate uneven surfaces, a steep climb and no railings) can opt to climb to Lindos’ ancient acropolis, dating from the pre-Greek era. While it’s a challenging climb not for the faint of heart, from the top, cruisers can see the white-washed town of Lindos below, plus two pretty bays, one of which is famed because the Apostle Paul came ashore there.
On this Regent Seven Seas’ itinerary, the ship will also call at a less-visited Greek isle, Syros, along with Kavala, the gateway to ancient Philippi, as well as Athens. In Turkey, Seven Seas Splendor will call at Bodrum, Kusadasi (for Ephesus), Izmir, and Istanbul (overnight).
Another “Grand Voyage” is the 59-night “Grand Asia-Pacific Journey” on the 750-passenger Seven Seas Explorer, departing January 19, 2024, from Sydney, Australia to Tokyo, Japan. One perk? Guests can choose from up to 166 complimentary shore excursions. This adventure starts “Down Under” with such Australian ports of call as Brisbane, Townsville, Cairns and Darwin, as well as calls at Papua New Guinea and Komodo and Bali (overnight), Indonesia.
Seven Seas Explorer then sails to Singapore, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan, the Philippines, China and South Korea. One highlight of this voyage is the extensive line-up of Japanese experiences for guests, who will explore ashore in Nagasaki, Osaka (overnight), Nagoya, Tokyo, Shimizu, Kyoto (Kobe overnight), Kochi, Hiroshima, Kagoshima and Beppu, home to myriad thermal hot springs.
One Regent Seven Seas shore excursion from Beppu that’s a relaxing, interesting cultural experience is “Yufuin with Hot Spring Experience,” in which cruisers will travel to that Edo-style village in the shadow of Mount Yufu, relax in a hot spring, enjoy sweeping mountain views and stroll along Yunotsubo Kaido, a street lined with shops and cafés. Cruisers will notice the pleasant aroma of yuzu kosho, a local citrus chili paste used liberally in Yufuin’s cuisine and for sale in most shops. A stop at Sagiridai Observatory also will present another perspective of Yufuin, nestled at the foot of Mt. Yufu.
In addition to its “Grand Voyages,” Regent Seven Seas Cruises also operates robust World Cruises. For example, its “Moments in Time: World Cruise 2024” is a 132-night extravaganza on the 700-passenger Seven Seas Mariner, departing January 6, 2024. Guests can visit 31 countries and see up to 61 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. By the time the voyage concludes, guests will have sailed a journey of 34,500 nautical miles.
Regent Seven Seas’ highly inclusive product offers all-suite, all-balcony accommodations and free, unlimited shore excursions in every port of call. Voyage fares also include roundtrip, business-class air on intercontinental flights from the U.S. and Canada; gourmet cuisine in a range of specialty restaurants and al-fresco dining venues; and fine wine and spirits.
Guests also receive unlimited Internet access; free valet laundry; gratuities; ground transfers; and a one-night, pre-cruise hotel package for guests staying in Concierge-level suites and higher. In addition, some voyages offer guests a free, pre-or-post-cruise land program, along with new four-night land programs on selected sailings.
Close-In and Far Out
For a 132-night “Caribbean Idylls and Mediterranean Masterpieces” cruise coming up soon, check out Crystal’s 2022 Grand Voyage on the 900-passenger Crystal Serenity from Miami to Los Angeles on January 17, 2022. It will call at 82 ports in 32 countries and includes 11 overnights in such cities as Istanbul, Monte Carlo, Naples, Italy and Cannes, France, plus St. Barts, Madeira, the Canary Islands and more.
This new “Caribbean Idylls and Mediterranean Masterpieces” Grand Voyage replaces the line’s 2022 World Cruise, which Crystal was forced to cancel (as other lines, too, had to do) as so many countries on the original itinerary either have closed borders or uncertain entry requirements. Crystal, in turn, unveiled this new, close-in itinerary that should still appeal to those with a pent-up desire for longer cruise vacations, and the lengthy voyage also can be split into 11 cruise segments from nine to 16 nights.
The new itinerary includes the Caribbean, Morocco, France’s Cote d’Azur, Italy’s Amalfi Coast, the Greek Isles, the Black Sea, the Holy Land and more. One highlight for die-hard island explorers is the stellar line-up of 45 islands, including 19 Caribbean ports (which includes the ABC isles of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao) and six of seven of the main isles in the Canary Islands, including an overnight call in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
Guests can visit the Cape Verde Islands, the Azores, Madeira, Gibraltar, the Balearic Isles, Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, Malta, Crete, Cyprus, the Greek Isles and Bermuda. Less-visited ports of call include the San Blas Islands, Panama; St. Croix, U.S.V.I; Ile des Saints, Guadeloupe; Cagliari, Sardinia; Praia and Santo Antão, Cape Verde Islands; Gaeta, Italy; and Syracuse, Sicily.
Other draws are a transatlantic crossing, visits to multiple UNESCO World Heritage Sites, a Panama Canal transit; and much more. All guests on this voyage who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine (those 12 and older) must be fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to departure. All Crystal’s officers and crew fleetwide will continue to be vaccinated in 2022 as a requirement for employment.
In addition, Crystal recently announced its 105-night 2024 World Cruise: “Celebrated Cultures and Treasured Temples,” which Crystal Serenity will operate from Miami to Civitavecchia (Rome) on January 5, 2024; the cruise will open for sale on October 1.
Africa and Arabia
Definitely fielding a strong exotic spirit is Silversea Cruises’ 63-day “Grand Voyage 2024: Grand Africa and Arabia” voyage, departing January 27, 2024. This adventurous voyage by the 608-passenger Silver Spirit will take guests from Athens to Cape Town, South Africa to Piraeus (Athens), with calls at 28 ports in 13 countries.
Cruisers will explore large cities, small towns and remote spots in places like Mozambique and South Africa, as well as the landscapes of the Namibian and Saharan desserts. Experiences are far from the norm. They’ll experience shamanistic ceremonies of Sangoma spiritual healers in Durban, South Africa, and the healing trance dance rituals of the San of the Kalahari.
As far as wildlife and stunningly gorgeous landscapes, guests will have options for viewing lemurs in Madagascar, snorkeling with sea life in the Seychelles, and exploring the landscapes of the Namibian and Saharan deserts. For example, at Walvis Bay, Namibia, one fun shore excursion is the “Namib Desert Adventure by 4 by 4.”
Silversea will also operate a 2023 World Cruise as well as a 133-day 2024 “Far East-West” World Cruise on the 388-passenger Silver Shadow that will sail roundtrip from San Francisco on January 15, 2024. That cruise will appeal to those who desire to dive deeply into the Pacific/Asia region, as it loops down from the West Coast to South Pacific isles, then to New Zealand and Australia, before turning northward to countries in Southeast Asia, and on to China, Japan, the Russian Far East, before circling back over to North America for Alaska, and completing the journey in California.
That 2024 World Cruise, which will include calls at 65 ports in 14 countries, includes such “included” perks as a door-to-door personalized journey to San Francisco in business class air; private transfers from home to airport to pier and post cruise from pier to airport; a meet-and-greet at the departure airport; a Bon Voyage reception, dinner and overnight accommodation pre-embarkation; and a $1,000 onboard spending credit per guest.
Guests also will receive the added benefit of one included shore excursion per port, to be chosen from a selection of options. Other perks include special commemorative gifts; and Silver Shore Baggage Valet between the guest’s home and the ship in San Francisco.
In addition, that 2024 World Cruise will offer many special “included” events, including a night at the Russian Opera, a “majestic temples” evening in Java, Indonesia, and a “Unique Night of Magic at Uluru” in the Australian Outback. Another special event is “An Evening on the U.S.S. Missouri” in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. There, Silversea’s guests will board the iconic naval vessel for an evening of 1940s fun and frolic. They’ll sip cocktails, taste canapes, talk with docents stationed around the ship and watch the lowering of the American flag at sunset. Those who love to dance will appreciate a night of big band Boogie Woogie-style music.
Around South America
For travelers who’ve always wanted to circumnavigate South America, we’d suggest checking out Seabourn’s 79-day “2023 Grand Americas, Amazon & Antarctica” voyage. On January 6, 2023, Seabourn Quest will sail roundtrip from Miami on a voyage that visits 37 ports in 15 countries and with five overnight stays. This voyage will take guests to explore Incan ruins, world-class cities and many breathtaking natural wonders, including the continent of Antarctica.
Heading south from Miami into the western Caribbean, Seabourn Quest will transit the Panama Canal and sail southward along the western coast of South America. In Manta, Ecuador, guests can either head to Quito or, alternatively, opt for a Seabourn Journey to Cuzco and Machu Picchu in the Andes. The ultra-luxury ship then will continue down the coastline calling at such ports as Callao (for Lima) and General St. Martin, Peru and multiple ports in Chile.
A Ventures by Seabourn team will sail with guests and offer expert insight and eco-activities within the Chilean Fjords and for five days of exploring in Antarctica. Cruisers can also visit two isolated South Georgia wildlife havens and the Falkland Islands before the ship sails north to Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro and other Brazilian ports.
Seabourn Quest will then sail along the Amazon River to Santarem and Manaus and back to the Atlantic for a call at Devil’s Island, French Guiana. Finally, it will call at Barbados and four other Caribbean islands before returning to Miami.
Travelers who book by May 31, 2022 will receive complimentary roundtrip air; a $2,000 shipboard credit per suite ($1,000 credit per person) or for those in Penthouse and Premium Suites, a $3,000 shipboard credit (or $1,500 credit per person); unlimited internet package; private car transfers door-to-door between the guest’s home and the airport; and Personal Valet luggage shipping service between the guest’s home and the ship in Miami.
They’ll also receive unlimited onboard laundry, dry cleaning and pressing; a Gala Bon Voyage dinner and overnight hotel stay prior to departure in Miami; an exclusive Grand Cruise event; pillow gifts; a 50 reduced deposit and a three percent pay-in-full discount.
Seabourn also is offering a 2023 World Cruise, and also —opening for sale on October 15, 2021 — the line’s 145-day “2024 World Cruise: Extraordinary Horizons” on Seabourn Sojourn, departs January 11, 2024 from Los Angeles to Piraeus (Athens). The voyage will visit 28 countries including American Samoa, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, India, Oman, Egypt, Israel and Turkey, among many others.
This 2024 World Cruise is similar in itinerary — more or less — to the 2022 World Cruise which the line canceled previously given pandemic-era entry restrictions in many countries and port. Guests will have lots of shore time to explore as the ship will spend 20 overnights in port. Among those are Honolulu, Hawaii, USA; Cairns, Australia; Hong Kong, China, Laem Chabang (Bangkok), Thailand; Singapore; and Safaga (Luxor), Egypt.
One Itinerary, Two Ships
Citing the popularity of longer voyages, Viking unveiled its new “2023-2024 Viking World Cruise,” spanning 138 days, 28 countries, 57 ports and 11 overnights in port. The 2021 and 2022 World Cruises sold out in record time — also something that’s occurred with other lines — so for the first time, Viking will offer a choice of two departure dates on two different ships.
Guests may choose to sail on Viking Sky, departing December 20, 2023, from Port Everglades, FL (Greater Fort Lauderdale) or on Viking Neptune, sailing from that same South Florida port on December 23, 2023. The two 930-passenger ships will sail the identical itinerary.
From Florida, the ships will sail to Central America, before transiting the Panama Canal and sailing up the West Coast of North America. A shorter 121-day “Viking World Journeys” itinerary is also available, allowing guests to join in Los Angeles and cross the Pacific Ocean to call in Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand, before exploring ports in Asia and the Middle East. Finally, both ships will sail through the Mediterranean Sea and complete their voyages at London.
Overnight calls at such cities as Sydney, Australia or Haifa, Israel offer more time to explore ashore. For example, during the overnight in Singapore, guests can tour eclectic neighborhoods from Little India to Arab Street, visit the city’s futuristic horticultural park showcasing more than one million plants, or enjoy a Night Safari at the world’s first nocturnal wildlife park. In addition, guests will have the bonus of two nights ashore (double overnights) in Auckland, New Zealand; Bali, Indonesia; Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam; Yangon, Myanmar; and Mumbai, India.
While aboard, guests can enjoy cultural enrichment through onboard lectures and entertainment — such as the Viking Resident Historian. In addition, guests will have “Privileged Access” visits to some cultural institutions.
One of the two ships, Viking Neptune, will be new — having joined the fleet in late 2022. Both ships have modern Scandinavian design, two pools, eight dining options at no added charge, an Explorer’s Lounge and all-veranda staterooms and suites, which start at 270 square feet. Fourteen Explorer suites are two-room suites ranging from 757 square feet to 1,163 square feet.
Both itineraries include business class international air, transfers to and from the ship, all shipboard gratuities and service fees, complimentary visa services, the Silver Spirits Beverage Package, and free luggage shipping services for embarkation, among other perks.
In addition, other upscale lines, too, have lengthy voyages that appeal to travelers with wanderlust. For example, Oceania Cruises will operate a 77-day “West – East Wonders” itinerary on the 684-passenger Regatta from Los Angeles to Sydney, Australia on September 25, 2022. It makes a northern loop around the Pacific Ocean and heads southward to Australia. Post-cruise in Sydney, guests can opt for a “Scenic Blue Mountains” or “Cultural Sydney add-ons.
With OLife Choice, Oceania is also offering a limited-time inclusive package that includes roundtrip airfare, airport transfers and a choice of either of these: 32 shore excursions, a beverage package or a $3,200 shipboard credit.
The source: www.luxurytraveladvisor.comFind Great Cruise Deals
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