Cooking, cleaning, buying, generating beds. All of it goes out the window, leaving planet cruisers cost-free to do as considerably or as small as they want. They fall into a rhythm of waking, consuming, dozing and consuming once again, interrupted now and then by port calls, line-dancing classes, choir practice or a higher-brow lecture or two by historians, art and architecture professionals, geopolitical commentators and some renowned faces: Lord Digby Jones, Lord Jeffrey Archer, Steve Wozniak and former Royal butler Grant Harrold on Seabourn and, in the previous, the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Holland America Line and, on Cunard’s QE2, the late Alan Whicker who described the ship as “a space capsule drifting about the planet in a delightful way”.
Fred Olsen Cruise Lines’ planet cruises and extended voyages also have a chaplain on board, ministering to these who want to be ministered to (don’t forget the 2013 Television series The Cruise: A Life at Sea, which followed the Rev Colin Nonetheless on a 112-evening international odyssey with the line?). “There are extra applications from chaplains than we have cruises,” says Tim Spicer, a former Fred Olsen cruise director who now has a land-primarily based part with the firm. Caring for a floating flock though seeing the planet? What’s not to like?
I added washing and ironing to my list of points you do not have to do on a planet cruise, but other passengers had been laundry-space regulars simply because it was the finest location to catch up with the “village” gossip. It felt like St Mary Mead meets Midsomer Murders without having the physique count – but we had been fortunate. Planet cruisers are a mature lot – an age group with the time and dollars for a extended trip – so losing one particular now and then is not unheard of. Cruise lines do not speak about it, but it occupied the thoughts of various of these cruising with Rev Nonetheless.
Mine was a Phileas Fogg-style whizz about the planet in 80 days, which is a drop in the ocean compared with most circumnavigations. Silversea’s 2025 controtempo planet cruise (so-known as simply because it begins in Tokyo) lasts 136 days. Pah! That is nothing at all. Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ 2025 circumnavigators will be at sea for 150 nights, for the duration of which time they will imbibe about 11,000 bottles of champagne and consume some 200,000 eggs.
Not to be beaten (pun unintended), Oceania Cruises and Viking give 180-day planet cruises, though Royal Caribbean International has an epic 274-evening voyage. It was 70 per cent sold a week right after going on sale, with half of these who booked undertaking the complete point (planet cruises are also readily available in sections). All that, and you only unpack after.
It is time adequate for friendships to kind (a group on my cruise told me they met up every single year on a round-the-planet sailing) and romances and eccentricities to blossom. 1 instance is the Fred Olsen passenger who believed it would be a fantastic wheeze to come to an Indian-themed celebration dressed as the elephant god Ganesha. “We had to clarify that it wasn’t acceptable, specifically as a lot of our crew are Indian,” Spicer says. Cunard had a retired surgeon who wanted to play golf in each and every port. The crew pulled it off, even if one particular time it was just a hole in a field.
Viking has initiation ceremonies that involve ice-filled pools and glugs of the Norwegian firewater aquavit. On its 2019 planet cruise, a bunch of knitters got collectively and created extra than one hundred hats for babies in Madagascar, which a month prior to the ship’s get in touch with had been devastated by Cyclone Idai.
QE2’s initial planet cruise, in 1975, expense from $four,800 per particular person for an inside cabin (equivalent to £3,994 at existing exchange prices), which was highly-priced back then but a snip compared with currently. Not that a planet cruise has to break the bank. Settle for an inside cabin and you can have 120 nights on Ambassador Cruise Line’s 2024 planet cruise from £7,999 per particular person, or 99 nights on P&O Cruises from £9,629.