I was about to tweet my response but I actually have a lot more to say about world cruises than Twitter's 140-character limit allows! : - )
Jason, here's my advice for a potential world cruise honeymoon (and I'm assuming this is for a 2013 voyage)...
First of all, I think a world cruise honeymoon is an excellent choice. You'll visit so many diverse ports of call over a three- to four-month period. If you can't take that much time away from the real world, you can also opt to book several back-to-back world cruise "segments" or what some cruise lines call "grand" voyages (longer-the-normal itineraries that usually focus on one region of the world).
Having a luxury cruise ship as your "home base" during an extended vacation makes the entire trip a breeze. You'll unpack once and forget it so you can focus on enjoying each and every place you visit. And, as a world cruise guest, you'll enjoy many complimentary events and shore excursions and always have access to the cruise line's destination expertise.
There are, of course, a few things to consider when it comes to booking a world cruise...
- Where do you want to go?
- Do you prefer mid-size or small cruise ships?
- How formal or flexible do you want the onboard experience?
- How much do you want to spend?
Silver Whisper and Seabourn Quest are the most intimate vessels at 382 passengers and 450 passengers, respectively. I love both of these ships and personally prefer passenger counts in this range (or lower). The benefit of doing a world cruise on a smaller ship is that more of the passengers will be full world cruise participants. You'll be able to really get to know your fellow sailors and they'll be less chaos during turnovers between itinerary segments.
Regent's Mariner welcomes 700 guests and therefore straddles the line between the smaller ships and the two on this list that cater to larger crowds in the thousands (Crystal Serenity with a capacity of 1,070 and Queen Victoria clocking in at 2,000 guests). I will say that Mariner never seems crowded—even when the ship is at capacity and Crystal Serenity's size is deceiving. While it can handle over a thousand guests, it really does feel like an intimate ship on the inside. I've never sailed with Queen Victoria so I can't offer my personal opinion but will say that this ship offers several "classes": Britannia, Princess Grill, and Queens Grill. The Grill classes include larger staterooms, receive more concierge-style services, and have access to more intimate dining rooms. If I were to book a world cruise with Cunard, I'd book into one of the grills.
The next matter at hand is the level of formality you prefer while on vacation. Some cruise lines have strict dining times and dress codes in the evening with more dress-up "formal" nights scheduled throughout the voyage. My husband and I prefer a more informal setting and don't want to pack tuxedos or gowns when we vacation. My best friend, however, won't dream of going on a cruise without several "dressed to the nines" outfits stowed away in her luggage. It's a personal choice and you'll want to review each cruise line's options to see if it's a good match for you.
Finally, a world cruise is an investment. While you will certainly pay less than the brochure rates, this won't be an inexpensive endeavor. Still, I can't think of a better way to begin your married life!
If you decide to book a world cruise, you absolutely need the services of a luxury travel advisor...someone who's an expert when it comes to your cruise line of choice. You'll receive valuable advice during the planning process and assistance selecting the right stateroom for your voyage. A good travel agent will save you money and can offer extras like onboard credit, cabin upgrades, complimentary shore excursions, etc.
Many cruise line websites include a section with links to preferred travel agents or you can try some of my go-to pros: Luxury Cruise Connections, Stacy Small at Elite Travel International, Brown & Keene Travel, Pavlus Travel, or Valerie Wilson Travel.
2013 World Cruise Options
If you plan on booking a traditional world cruise aboard a luxury ship, your options include...
115 days (Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale)
Embarking January 4, 2013
- The gist: This is probably the itinerary I'd pick if I were booking a world cruise for 2013. You begin in Los Angeles and travel through the South Pacific to Australia, New Zealand, and Tasmania. From there, you explore Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines before hitting more traditional Asian ports like Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), Bangkok (Thailand), and Singapore. Sri Lanka and India come next and are followed by the gorgeous islands of the Maldives, Mauritius, and Reunion. Then, the ship heads for Africa with stops in Madagascar, Mozambique, South Africa, Namibia, Cameroon, Ghana, and Gambia. After transiting the Atlantic Ocean, you'll spend a few days in the Caribbean before heading home via Fort Lauderdale.
- A few port highlights: Rangiroa, Tuamotu • Bora Bora • Rarotonga, Cook Islands • Port Arthur, Tasmania • Bali, Indonesia • Penang, Malaysia • Phuket, Thailand • Maldives • Walvis Bay, Namibia • Banjul, The Gambia
- Silversea World Cruise Perks: business class air, private car transfers (airport/ship/airport), $3,500 onboard spending credit, 5% Extended Voyage Savings, Gala Bon Voyage Reception & Dinner with overnight accommodation at the Peninsula Beverly Hills, two exclusive world cruise events (China Club in Singapore and Night in the Winelands in Cape Town, South Africa), complimentary Silversea Experience (Dinner in the Desert in Walvis Bay, Namibia), special commemorative gifts, Silver Shore Baggage Valet between your home and the ship in Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale, complimentary laundry service
Embarking January 6, 2013
- The gist: There's a lot to like about Seabourn Quest's 2013 World Cruise itinerary. You'll enjoy some Caribbean islands before transiting the Panama Canal. Then, it's off to spend time in French Polynesia, the Cook Islands, Tonga, and Fiji before exploring Australia and Indonesia. From there, Southeast Asia awaits before an excursion to India, the Middle East (with visits to Egypt and Aqaba, Jordan for Petra, and a transit of the Suez Canal), and the Mediterranean. In fact, you'll disembark in Venice, Italy, one of the earth's most beautiful cities.
- Port highlights: Roratonga, Cook Islands • Nuku' Alofa, Tonga • Lautoka, Fiji • Sydney, Australia • Komodo Island, Indonesia • Sihanoukville, Cambodia • Ko Kood, Thailand • Langkawi, Malaysia • Phuket, Thailand • Aqaba (for Petra), Jordan • Sharm el Sheik, Egypt • Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey
- Seabourn World Cruise Perks: up to 50% savings, roundtrip air or air credit from $1,500–$2,500 per guest, roundtrip transfers between airport and ship for guest's using Seabourn's air program, onboard credit from $250–$2,500, complimentary shore experiences, and special events
Embarking January 16, 2013
- The gist: Crystal's 2013 World Cruise focuses on South America, including Pantagonia, the Amazon rainforests, famous beaches, and modern cities. What I love about Crystal's itinerary is that they've built in many multi-night stays throughout the itinerary so you won't just get a taste of the destination but you'll have time to actually explore more in-depth. Overnights are included in Cartagena, Colombia; Lima, Peru; Valparaiso, Chile; Ushuaia, Argentina; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
- Port highlights: Guayaquil, Ecuador • Lima, Peru • Cape Horn, Chile • Buenos Aires, Argentina • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil • Devil's Island, French Guiana
- Crystal World Cruise Perks: 2-for-1 cruise-only fares, $4,600 per couple "Book Now Savings" when you book before June 30, 2012, optional low-cost first class air add-on from just $2,200 and includes private limo transfers (airport/ship/airport), World Cruise Gala and overnight luxury hotel stay on eve of departure in Miami, two exclusive shoreside events, specially selected gifts
72 days (Miami roundtrip)
Embarking January 7, 2013
- The gist: Regent Mariner's 2013 World Cruise itinerary, like Crystal Serenity's, features South America. The paths are very similar but Regent's onboard vibe is quite a bit different from Crystal's. If you worry that Crystal is too formal for your tastes, Regent will be just right for you. It strikes a balance with several formal optional evenings throughout a voyage and the rest of the nights being cast as "Elegant Casual." This itinerary includes a Panama Canal transit, an introduction to Pantagonia, a cruise down the Amazon in Brazil, and a visit to the Falkland Islands.
- Port highlights: Guayaquil, Ecuador • Lima, Peru • Valparaíso, Chile • Ushuaia, Argentina • Port Stanley, Falkland Islands • Manaus (Amazon River), Brazil • Gustavia, St. Barts
Embarking January 10, 2013
- The gist: Cunard's 2013 World Cruise is a fine sampler of many popular destinations with some more far-afield options scattered across the itinerary. You'll begin your travels with an Atlantic Ocean crossing from Southampton to New York City (a gorgeous city to sail into and out of). From there, you'll head to Florida and the Caribbean, transit the Panama Canal, spend time in Acapulco, Mexico and San Francisco before crossing to Hawaii and Samoa. After crossing the International Dateline you'll visit New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, and the Philippines before moving on to the Asian ports, including Shanghai and Hong Kong in China and Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. You'll then tour through India and the Middle East before disembarking in Lisbon, Portugal.
- Port highlights: Kauai, Hawaii • Apia, Samoa • Bay of Islands, New Zealand • Whitsunday Islands, Australia • Bali, Indonesia • Colombo, Sri Lanka • Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt • Rome, Italy