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Cruiser_M

Things to do before planning a World Cruise

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Long-time occasional lurker here. First post. Hello!

 

Quick background:

Husband and I love the short cruises we've been on (3-, 5-, and 7-night) with Royal Caribbean. 

He can retire in mid-2022 when we'll be ages 52 and 46. 

We love the idea of a World Cruise but know we shouldn't jump into one without ticking off some other boxes first. Will you help me think of anything I'm missing? Here's what I've got so far:

 

- try out a short cruise on the line we're considering for a Grand Voyage or World Cruise (we're thinking HAL since it's important to us to be able to attend Mass every Sunday)

- try out the specific ship we'd be on for the long cruise if possible

- go on a few 14- to 21-night cruises, especially ones with several sea days in a row, and especially over rougher seas than the Caribbean / Bahamas area to see if we still like the idea of being on a ship that long. Maybe a Transatlantic cruise?

- if we still are interested after that, try out one of the 30- to 45-night cruises

- find a good travel agent who has booked a lot of world cruises, especially on the line we're considering 

 

If this sounds like a good plan, I think I'll start working on finding a travel agent sooner rather than later. Then they can help us with the shorter cruises on the line, giving them some commission and both us and them a chance to get to know each other. 

 

Thoughts? Thank you in advance for your suggestions. I've learned a great deal from you all already reading your previous discussions.

 

~M

 

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Welcome to Cruise Critic!

 

You have a sound plan.  One thing to consider is that you will be among the youngest on a world cruise, especially on Holland America.  Right now I am on my second HAL world cruise.  I did my first on Cunard and loved it but the convenience of HAL in Port Everglades made me try it for my second.

 

One more suggestion I would add to your list is to read some of the World Cruise blogs.  One of my favorites (besides my own, of course) is The Inside Cabin.  Pete does a great job of putting up lots of information about the cruise.  He also has a list of others who are doing blogs for the 2020 HAL Grand World Voyage.  Here is the address of his  https://theinsidecabin.com and mine https://2020halgwv.blogspot.com.  Also, Roy (rafinmd) is doing half a world cruise on Crystal and the other half on Cunard.  You can read more about it in his post on this page.

 

Keep in mind that world cruises are highly addictive!  As young as you both are, you might be doing 40 world cruises.😉

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@Scrapnana, thank you for your reply.

 

I'll definitely be reading blogs. I've subscribed to one by email already so that I don't miss anything, and I'll check out yours and Pete's tonight. 

 

The idea of 40 world cruises... that's a lot! I don't think that will happen for us, if for no other reason than money. My husband works hard to earn a good income, and I'm the "CFO" of our household, managing everything. I think I can get us into a position to go on one world cruise ... not sure about more than that. But, hey, if the economy keeps doing so well, who knows! 

 

Thank you for your kind welcome. I look forward to following your adventures.

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You have a good plan.  I’d add that once you narrow down the cruiseline, and thus the ship you would be sailing on, book the same category cabin you’d be booking for the world cruise to see if you would be willing to spend 3, 4, or even 6 months in that category cabin.

 

Have fun with the planning.

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9 hours ago, 2552phxcrzr said:

You have a good plan.  I’d add that once you narrow down the cruiseline, and thus the ship you would be sailing on, book the same category cabin you’d be booking for the world cruise to see if you would be willing to spend 3, 4, or even 6 months in that category cabin.

 

Have fun with the planning.

 

Thank you. That's a good idea. We might even consider doing a segment of a world cruise so we can really get used to the whole atmosphere / demographic / ship. I can't see that part happening until 2023 at the absolute earliest, but more likely 2024 or later. So a world cruise wouldn't happen until 2025 or later. Getting excited already, though!

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I like the idea of doing a segment of a WC.  Also of a transoceanic cruise.  And of doing it in the same type of cabin that you'd be in for a WC.

 

I know that our favourite line (Regent) has religious services on Sunday, but I would not to call it a mass.  Does HAL have a priest onboard?

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25 minutes ago, Wendy The Wanderer said:

I like the idea of doing a segment of a WC.  Also of a transoceanic cruise.  And of doing it in the same type of cabin that you'd be in for a WC.

 

I know that our favourite line (Regent) has religious services on Sunday, but I would not to call it a mass.  Does HAL have a priest onboard?

 

Yes, all Holland America ships have a priest on board all year round. It's the only line I know of that does that. Some lines have a Catholic priest on board during Christmas / Lent / Easter, but not for other times of the year. 

 

For those of you who have been on WCs, especially HAL but also others, in your experience are there a fair number of folks doing only one segment, or does most everybody do the whole cruise?

 

[Still trying to train my brain to read "WC" as "World Cruise" and not "water closet." 🙂 ]

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On the 2019 HAL WC, the vast majority were doing the entire cruise. At one point, there were 1050 people on board. I believe <200 were doing segments (maybe it was 100?).  I've been reading several 2020 blogs. Someone mentioned that the ship is completely full and there are 1200+ people on the ship. About 20 were doing segments.

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39 minutes ago, sandiego1 said:

On the 2019 HAL WC, the vast majority were doing the entire cruise. At one point, there were 1050 people on board. I believe <200 were doing segments (maybe it was 100?).  I've been reading several 2020 blogs. Someone mentioned that the ship is completely full and there are 1200+ people on the ship. About 20 were doing segments.

 

That's very helpful. Thank you.

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More thoughts for the pre-planning stages.  Think about how you'd manage being away from home for four months or more.  Pets often preclude such an adventure, as do dependents like elderly parents.  Can you manage to organize bill payments?  Snow removal, home maintenance issues, taxes? Will your car or cars need to be prepared in some way? There is a lot to organize.

 

Fortunately for us, we already spend half the year, almost, away from our home in Toronto, plus even when we're in Canada, we spend significant time at our cottage.  So we're consummate electronic/automated bill-payers, and have had to think about many of these things.  Except for the car thing--haven't decided about that yet.

 

And think about budget.  It's not just the cost of the cruise itself, but the extras.  Do a spreadsheet if you really want to drill down to decide if a budget line is right for you, with all of the extra items that you will have to budget for, or a more premium or even luxury line, where the cabins are bigger, and more items are included in the base fare.  In this comparison also factor-in how many ports there are versus sea days, and whether some of these port stops are overnights (more chance to see stuff.)  And do look at the size of the cabins on offer--in general, more luxe, bigger basic cabins.

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Thanks, Wendy. All of this is great advice. We each only have one parent left, and we've already discussed the need to think about how to handle it if something happened while we were away. We no longer have pets and have decided not to adopt any more even though we loved them. 

 

I'm the CFO of our house 🙂 and I already have all the bills that don't require real money to be moved on auto pay. What do I mean? I mean things like the electric bill and the natural gas bill, etc, are set to automatically be paid on a credit card every month. However, I haven't yet relinquished control of moving the actual money. When it's time to pay the credit card bills (in full every month), I pay those manually. Still online, but manually. I'll be thinking about this as and other options for it the years between now and the potential world cruise go by. 

 

We are lucky to have several neighbors who are good friends, so I'm sure we can work out something for watching the house. We hired one neighbor to maintain our lawn, so that would continue just like we were here except I'd prepay him. 

 

We've got a little road trip coming up over the next several days, but once we're back from that I'm going to work on finding a travel agent and getting him/her ready to pounce on a Holland America 5 night cruise out of Tampa if they publish one for late 2021 the way they have for late 2020. It's the only thing that will fit into our schedule and budget to introduce us to that cruise line before the 2nd half of 2022. After that a lot of opportunities open up since my husband is planning to be retired by then. I just refuse to book anything that requires him to be retired until he is actually retired. So for now we're thinking of taking a 7 night Alaska cruise in July or Aug 2022, because if he decides to keep working he can just use vacation time for that. 

 

Then potentially longer cruises in 2023 and 2024. The first year that seems feasible for a world cruise would be 2025-ish, but that's all subject to change. Could be 2024 or 2023 depending on how we're feeling about things closer to those dates. Either way, it's fun to start dreaming about it all now. 

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I have taken one world cruise on Cunard (Queen Elizabeth) and am on my second on Holland America.  The number doing the full cruise versus segments are very different.  On HAL almost everyone is on for the full world, they do not even sell segments at the beginning because they want to give priority to those who want to do the whole thing.  On the Queen Elizabeth we had in the neighborhood of 1900 on board - only 525 of us were doing the full voyage.  About half of the passengers disembarked in Sydney and we picked up about an equal number, many of whom were Japanese (Cunard was really marketing to the Japanese) and we had four Japanese ports.

 

You will often read on Cruise Critic that segment cruisers are treated like second-class citizens.  In my personal experience this did not happen.  In 2015 I did the Southampton to Fort Lauderdale segment.  Perhaps I would have been treated differently if I had not done the first segment.

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18 hours ago, Cruiser_M said:

Thanks, Wendy. All of this is great advice. We each only have one parent left, and we've already discussed the need to think about how to handle it if something happened while we were away. We no longer have pets and have decided not to adopt any more even though we loved them. 

 

I'm the CFO of our house 🙂 and I already have all the bills that don't require real money to be moved on auto pay. What do I mean? I mean things like the electric bill and the natural gas bill, etc, are set to automatically be paid on a credit card every month. However, I haven't yet relinquished control of moving the actual money. When it's time to pay the credit card bills (in full every month), I pay those manually. Still online, but manually. I'll be thinking about this as and other options for it the years between now and the potential world cruise go by. 

 

We are lucky to have several neighbors who are good friends, so I'm sure we can work out something for watching the house. We hired one neighbor to maintain our lawn, so that would continue just like we were here except I'd prepay him. 

 

 

We've got a little road trip coming up over the next several days, but once we're back from that I'm going to work on finding a travel agent and getting him/her ready to pounce on a Holland America 5 night cruise out of Tampa if they publish one for late 2021 the way they have for late 2020. It's the only thing that will fit into our schedule and budget to introduce us to that cruise line before the 2nd half of 2022. After that a lot of opportunities open up since my husband is planning to be retired by then. I just refuse to book anything that requires him to be retired until he is actually retired. So for now we're thinking of taking a 7 night Alaska cruise in July or Aug 2022, because if he decides to keep working he can just use vacation time for that. 

 

Then potentially longer cruises in 2023 and 2024. The first year that seems feasible for a world cruise would be 2025-ish, but that's all subject to change. Could be 2024 or 2023 depending on how we're feeling about things closer to those dates. Either way, it's fun to start dreaming about it all now. 

 

Sounds like you've got it well in hand.  Just don't leave it too late.  We have, and will be on pins and needles next fall as our WC approaches, worrying about our own health.

 

I know what you mean about pets--we're pet-free now and are reluctantly staying that way.

 

I intend to be paying our credit card bills remotely, on the ship.  I can't trust that to automation.  It's just a cash flow issue, but a real one.  There are also some bills that just stubbornly refuse to be put on a credit card, and many that I just don't care to do that way, so I'll be paying bills and watching finances off and on throughout the cruise.

 

So you must be near Tampa somewhere. 

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You have been given very good advice. I would add to find an experienced, high volume travel agent who can hold your hand through the process. Ours knew we were planning a WC and we were able to book the specific category room we wanted three days before the public. She also helped us with insurance,  not an insignificant challenge. We booked our 2021 WC in July 2018. Many ships fill up fast. 

 

i would say to narrow down your options to a few cruise lines. Then take a short cruise on the lines that appeal. You will find the true vibe of the ship in a longer then 7 day cruise. Every cruise line has its own culture. We personally found the luxury cruises gave us more bang for the buck. We chose Regent as it was resort casual, nearly all inclusive and the friendly vibe on board. Some cruise lines are much more formal such as Cunard. If you did not know what you were doing you might book a cruise that was not a good fit for you.

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We are looking at doing a WC, probably in 2023.  Our next ocean cruise is going to be in Oct-Dec 2021, where we are going to be doing a back to back.  I have not decided whether it will be 37 or 44 days yet, I guess this is going to be dependent upon whether or not DH’s employer squawks about the amount of time.  
 

I figure that if we can handle this, we should be able to handle more days.  We are using Viking for this.

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On 1/22/2020 at 12:39 PM, Wendy The Wanderer said:

 

Sounds like you've got it well in hand.  Just don't leave it too late.  We have, and will be on pins and needles next fall as our WC approaches, worrying about our own health.

 

I know what you mean about pets--we're pet-free now and are reluctantly staying that way.

 

I intend to be paying our credit card bills remotely, on the ship.  I can't trust that to automation.  It's just a cash flow issue, but a real one.  There are also some bills that just stubbornly refuse to be put on a credit card, and many that I just don't care to do that way, so I'll be paying bills and watching finances off and on throughout the cruise.

 

So you must be near Tampa somewhere. 

Thanks, Wendy.

 

People in my family tend to die on the younger side (60s, 50s, and sometimes 40s), so I try to keep that in mind when planning things. Will you be blogging during your cruise? I'd be interested in following you.

 

We don't live near Tampa, but Tampa is closer to our home than Fort Lauderdale is, and we can drive there in a day. We've driven to Fort Lauderdale once for a cruise, and we didn't like traveling that distance for a short cruise. Of course it'd be a completely different scenario if we were taking a cruise several weeks or months long; that would completely be worth driving two days for. 

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On 1/23/2020 at 7:49 AM, travelwell said:

I would add to find an experienced, high volume travel agent who can hold your hand through the process. Ours knew we were planning a WC and we were able to book the specific category room we wanted three days before the public. She also helped us with insurance,  not an insignificant challenge. We booked our 2021 WC in July 2018. Many ships fill up fast. 

 

Thank you. Finding a travel agent is my next project now that we're back from three recent short road trips (only one of which was to a cruise <sad trombone> 🙂 ). I'm looking for somebody who sells a lot of world cruises on the line we're considering who also won't mind booking the little 7-night cruises in the meantime. I've done a bit of research and have a few of them on my list to call. 

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On 1/24/2020 at 8:07 PM, Mich3554 said:

We are looking at doing a WC, probably in 2023.  Our next ocean cruise is going to be in Oct-Dec 2021, where we are going to be doing a back to back.  I have not decided whether it will be 37 or 44 days yet, I guess this is going to be dependent upon whether or not DH’s employer squawks about the amount of time.  
 

I figure that if we can handle this, we should be able to handle more days.  We are using Viking for this.

That sounds like a lot of fun. Good luck getting your husband's employer to agree to an arrangement that lets you take the 44 day version!

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