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I suppose everyone has their favorite (and it's probably the one they sailed with), but we are looking into taking a world cruise and are thinking about Princess, Oceania and HAL. I know it's hard to compare because some seem like they cost a lot more, but then more things are included in the price. Recommendations? 

 

 

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Have sailed on Princess and HAL.  Prefer HAL hands down.  I'm going to check out Oceania for a shorter cruise next year. It also depends on the itinerary.  Oceania has more ports and less sea days and a much longer world cruise. I do like their itinerary but don't want to be gone that long. We love sea days.  We also prefer smaller ships.  Just my opinion.  

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I like sea days too, but don't know how I'd do with a LOT of them on a world cruise. Also, I may want to see as much as possible! Many ports. If this is a once in a lifetime thing. Though that can get tiring. 

 

As far as price,  I imagine they are all pretty close when all is said and done?

 

Edited by sjde
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In current times, HAL & Princess are mass market lines that are both owned by Carnival Group. While they are still distinct Lines and have separate offices, they are both managed by the Holland America Group. The 4 cruise lines in the Group share many managers/directors.

 

Oceania is considered one of the luxury brands and it was purchased by NCL 5 or 6 years ago. 

 

I spent 40 years working for and cruising for P&O/Princess. Starting in 1975 with P&O and then moving to Princess in 1979, I am well aware of the pre-Carnival standards. We continued cruising with them until the 2015 WC out of Sydney, which will be our last ever cruise with Princess. Since they were purchased by Carnival in 2003, in our experience, the standards have continued dropping.

 

We spent a couple of years of research, starting with developing a statement of requirements. Basically - what did we want from a new cruise line, some of which included:

  • Number of pax - our preference was 750 to 1,250. Less restricts the entertainment options and more is too busy
  • Space ratio (GT/pax) - we wanted a less crowded ship, which pushed us towards luxury/premium brands
  • Segments - depending on how managed by the cruise line, segments can make a WC more of B2B2B...... Our preference was no segments, or less segments
  • Inclusive - tired of mega ship nickle and diming, we wanted a more inclusive experience
  • Meals - quality meals, with preference for no additional fees for alternative restaurants
  • Rig of the Day - preference was a cruise line that enforces their dress code. While we enjoy formal nights, we are tired of the increasing non-compliance, so wanted to try a more relaxed smart casual standard every night.
  • Kids - not interested. While WC's have few kids, we did have some on segments with Princess. Also the kid's zones are wasted space.
  • Casino - not interested, so again preference is not to have one. If not provided, it is more space available
  • Photogs. art auctions, bulk shoppies - definitely NO
  • Lectures - quality and varied lectures
  • Entertainment - not interested in tacky pool games, marriage games, etc. Looking for quality shows and guest entertainers.
  • Number of port days & time in port - the more and longer the better
  • Number of ports with 2 or 3 days - more the better
  • Wifi - prefer quality bandwidth and included in price

Although we did consider HAL & Celebrity, they were quickly eliminated. We then did a review of Crystal, Regent, Seabourn, Silversea, Viking, Oceania and Azamara. We short-listed to Viking and Oceania, eventually selecting Viking.

 

Oceania had reportedly the best food, but we felt Viking provided the best overall package.

 

We completed the curtailed 2020 WC on Viking Sun and the day it was published booked the 2023 WC on the new Viking Neptune. Note - the Viking base fare in 2020 was almost double the 2015 Princess cabin, for a comparible balcony. However, once all costs were added, the gross daily cost on Viking was fractionally cheaper than Princess.

 

While Viking works for us, it does not meet the needs of everyone, hence the reason I suggest determing you needs for spending 4 - 6 months on a ship.

 

Good luck and enjoy the research.

 

 

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Thank you! That was very thorough and I like (and agree with) almost all of your list. Though more days in port means fewer ports , and part of me says I want to see it all! As much as possible. 

 

I have never been on a cruise longer than 12nts but have sailed HAL, RCCL, Norwegian, Celebrity, Princess, Oceania and Azamara. I thought Princess had the best food (and that was in 20111)

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More days in port doesn't always mean less ports, as you have to compare the entire cruises.

 

Most mass market lines do the entire world in about 100 -110 days. Princess R/T Sydney is usually about 104 days.

 

Viking's 2019/20 World Cruise was R/T Greenwich (London) and took 245 days. The 2nd half from L/A to Greenwich was 119 days. In 2023, Viking has 2 options - L/A to Greenwich at 121 days and Ft Lauderdale to Greenwich at 138 days.

 

Oceania WC is normally about 180 days.

 

With more days, you receive a higher ratio of port/sea days, longer hours in port and more 2 and 3 day port stays.

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Heidi13- your responses are very helpful snd thoughtful!  Could you tell me what it is you dislike about there being segments? 

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1 hour ago, sjde said:

Heidi13- your responses are very helpful snd thoughtful!  Could you tell me what it is you dislike about there being segments? 

 

When booking a WC, we consider it a special adventure, especially since the per diem rates are normally higher than shorter cruises.

 

Segments on most WC's are required to fill the ship, as few cruise lines can get sufficient pax to fill the ship for the entire round the world. How the segments are integrated and the atmosphere on board is highly dependent on the cruise line and other factors.

 

2015 WC R/T Sydney (Princess)

Once announced, Princess release both the entire cruise and segments at the same time. To further compound the issue, they included 2 WC's - R/T Sydney and R/T Freemantle. When we departed Sydney, less than 600 of 2,200 were on for the entire 104 days. In addition to segmenters, they filled the ship by selling Australian Coastal Cruises - Sydney to Melbourne, Sydney to Freemantle and Melbourne to Freemantle. Therefore, the ship now had 3 groups of competing interests.

 

Princess further compound the issue with their coloured card loyalty system, which was further compounded when they handed out lanyards, so the coloured cards were easier to display. WC'ers received a different coloured lanyard.

 

Throughout the cruise, everything was driven by segments - meals (got the same menu the first day of each segment), entertainment (had to fit each activity into each segment), shore-ex (during segment 1 you couldn't ask about tours on segments 2, 3 or 4)

 

While we booked a World Cruise, what we received was a series of back to backs.

 

2019/20 Ultimate 245-day WC R/T London (Viking) 

Since the entire WC was 245-days, understandably the number of potential pax with the time and funds to complete was rather low. Therefore, only about 55 signed up for the entire 245-days. They also included a London to L/A WC of about 130 days, of which about 150 to 200 signed up for. They introduced numerous segments to fill the ship to 930 pax.

 

The 245'ers did receive some additional perks, but were very much in the minority. With the number of segments, basically every 2 weeks, they had almost 700 new pax joining/leaving.

 

While the excellent standards were maintained, comments we received indicated it was more like a bus than a WC.

 

2020 WC L/A to London (Viking)

We boarded in L/A with about 400 others bound to London. With the 55 Ultimates, combined we were slightly over 50%. They only had 4 segments and without coloured cards, lanyards, etc you didn't know whether fellow pax were on for the duration, or a segment.

 

The atmosphere on board was definitely a focus on being on a World Cruise, with those on segments joining the group. Menus were never repeated, so it wasn't the same menu on the first day of each segment. The standard Viking shows were scheduled each segment, but they developed a new show specifically for the WC and the onboard entertainers developed multiple shows on board. For shore-ex, you could discuss, book or cancel any ship tour at any time on the cruise.

 

When a WC includes segments, how they are incorporated depends on many factors, so we look forward to our next WC, which has no segments.

 

Hopefully others will discuss their experiences on other lines and how they satisfy the competing needs and expectations of segmenters or WC'ers.

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To me it would seem more interesting than upsetting or difficult  with new people  coming on board at different times .

 

Although I have to say we once did a river cruise that we joined for second week of a two week journey and it was a little difficult at first because most of them had gotten on a week before us and so groups had already been formed.

 

I could understand why on a world cruise you wouldn’t want to have the shows repeated with every segment so that there was nothing new for you , or even the meals . But it’s hard to believe they would have enough meals for a world cruise not to have to repeat something anyway! 

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3 hours ago, sjde said:

Although I have to say we once did a river cruise that we joined for second week of a two week journey and it was a little difficult at first because most of them had gotten on a week before us and so groups had already been formed.

 

How the newcomers will be welcomed as they come on in segments may depend upon the guest make-up of each individual cruise.  When I did a 17 day segment, there was a welcoming vibe.  One year latter when I sailed the 113 day itinerary, given the passenger mix at that time, I doubt that the newcomers would have felt the same.  

 

I have nothing more to add to Heidi13's posts.  He covered the bases quite well.  

 

One suggestion I will make is that you use the services of a travel agent that is experienced in working with guests that book a world cruise.  There are so many "moving parts" to this wonderful experience, it helps to have an expert to assist one.  It's going to cost you not one penny more and you may end up getting a better cruise fare and additional amenities that you would would not have gotten by booking directly with the cruise line.  

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8 hours ago, sjde said:

To me it would seem more interesting than upsetting or difficult  with new people  coming on board at different times .

 

Although I have to say we once did a river cruise that we joined for second week of a two week journey and it was a little difficult at first because most of them had gotten on a week before us and so groups had already been formed.

 

I could understand why on a world cruise you wouldn’t want to have the shows repeated with every segment so that there was nothing new for you , or even the meals . But it’s hard to believe they would have enough meals for a world cruise not to have to repeat something anyway! 

 

We spent 99 days on the '20 Viking WC and never had 1 menu repeated. Some dishes were obviously repeated, but the repeats were always with different combinations. In the MDR, Viking frequently add a destination section, which is in addition to the regular menu. It includes a starter, main course and dessert from the region we were cruising through.

 

Menu repitition is something I watch closely, as I still remember (not fondly) the menu rotation when I worked on the ships. When we were doing 7-day cruising, we got exactly the same menu each day of the week, therefore the only change was the date. We were subjected to this for 4 months.

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  • 3 weeks later...

@Heidi13 I like your list of criteria and your analysis.  I am going through a similar analysis now and thought I had narrowed it down to Viking and Seabourn until my TA suggested I look at Silversea and Regent.   Can you elaborate on why you eliminated Silversea, Regent, and Seabourn? My head is spinning with all of the options.  I have never sailed on any of them, and want to narrow it down so I can do some “test” cruises before I spend 4 months on a ship. Thanks!

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Posted (edited)
53 minutes ago, SWATeam said:

@Heidi13 I like your list of criteria and your analysis.  I am going through a similar analysis now and thought I had narrowed it down to Viking and Seabourn until my TA suggested I look at Silversea and Regent.   Can you elaborate on why you eliminated Silversea, Regent, and Seabourn? My head is spinning with all of the options.  I have never sailed on any of them, and want to narrow it down so I can do some “test” cruises before I spend 4 months on a ship. Thanks!

 

We did the research in 2016/17 and I didn't keep the notes, but from memory, these were some of the reasons:

 

Silversea

  • Ship size - is the primary reason, ship size was well below our preferred minimum of 750, so it limits the entertainment options
  • Dress Code - they still have formal nights, but feedback from past pax is that the dress code is not enforced. We used to enjoy formal nights, especially back in the days when every evening was formal attire and everyone dressed up. Now with a wide range of attire, we don't find them enjoyable, so prefer a more relaxed dress code.

Regent

  • WC Ship - older tonnage and a little smaller than our preference
  • Cruise Line - owned by NCL. I have experience with Carnival ruining the companies they purchase, so how long for NCL to do the same? No desire to support mass market cruise lines
  • Dress Code - same as Silversea

Seabourn

  • Ship size - is the primary reason, ship size was well below our preferred minimum of 750, so it limits the entertainment options
  • Cruise Line - owned by Carnival. After they decimated P&O/Princess, we will never sail on another Carnival owned ship. Managed by the Holland America Group that also includes Princess.
  • Dress Code - as above

 

Hope this helps, if you are considering Viking and want additional info, please check out our travel blog www.AndyandJudi.com  Please note our blog is not moneterised, so we get no benefit from visits

Edited by Heidi13
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Thank you @Heidi13. That was very helpful. I’ll check out your blog.  Viking keeps coming back to the top of my list.  I am a little concerned that Silversea would be a little too high brow for us, but we are very destination focused, and they seem to do a good job of providing great destination experiences.

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16 minutes ago, SWATeam said:

Thank you @Heidi13. That was very helpful. I’ll check out your blog.  Viking keeps coming back to the top of my list.  I am a little concerned that Silversea would be a little too high brow for us, but we are very destination focused, and they seem to do a good job of providing great destination experiences.

 

Destination focus is also one of Viking's strengths. When comparing World Cruises, I suggest comparing the percentage of days in port to total days. Also the number of 2 and 3 nights in ports, as these are the ports you really get to explore. You can also compare the number of hours ashore, as many cruise lines are shaving port times in favour of slow steaming to save fuel.

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SWATeam,

 

18 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

Also the number of 2 and 3 nights in ports, as these are the ports you really get to explore

 

There are ports that almost require a 2-3, or longer, day visit to really be able to appreciate what the port has to offer.  Singapore, Hong Kong, Sydney, Auckland, Honolulu, Seward/Whittier/Anchorage, Mumbai, Casablanca:  those are just a few of ports that I have visited that did or would have benefited by more than a day's visit.  Heidi13 is so right!

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Viking does look fantastic, but just can't afford that.  I know that Princess has changed since Carnival has purchased them, but wondering if anyone has been on a Princess World Cruise in the last 3 or 4 years and what were the good things that you noticed.  I was looking at their itinerary and was very excited about it for 2023.

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4 hours ago, West Coast Gal said:

Viking does look fantastic, but just can't afford that.  I know that Princess has changed since Carnival has purchased them, but wondering if anyone has been on a Princess World Cruise in the last 3 or 4 years and what were the good things that you noticed.  I was looking at their itinerary and was very excited about it for 2023.

 

When you compare the base fares of Viking and Princess, yes Viking is considerably more expensive. However, I calculated the total cruise per diem costs - 2015 Princess and 2020 Viking. Although the Viking base fare was almost double the Princess fare, the total cost per day was slightly less.

 

I completed a post in one of the threads in the WC Board comparing the numbers.

 

We did the 2015 WC on Sea Princess and other than some of the crew and guest entertainers, can't think of many positives. As we disembarked, we stayed at the same hotel as the dance instructors, who also sailed on the January WC from L/A and didn't enjoy it either.

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Posted (edited)
On 3/4/2021 at 9:49 PM, SWATeam said:

@Heidi13 I like your list of criteria and your analysis.  I am going through a similar analysis now and thought I had narrowed it down to Viking and Seabourn until my TA suggested I look at Silversea and Regent.   Can you elaborate on why you eliminated Silversea, Regent, and Seabourn? My head is spinning with all of the options.  I have never sailed on any of them, and want to narrow it down so I can do some “test” cruises before I spend 4 months on a ship. Thanks!

I would absolutely not rule out Seabourn and Regent. They are fabulous lines that I would cruise again with in a  heartbeat and a huge step up from premium Oceania. I have never been on Viking though I have followed Heidi’s excellent blogs. We have many  similar likes in picking a cruise.

 

That being said we choose Regent for both our cancelled 2021WC and now WC 2022. our 2022 is a bit odd as more a Pacific Rim Cruise. (WC 2023 more traditional). Our cruise is 120 days, 76 days in a port with 18 overnights. This leaves 44 sea days. Regent is the most inclusive of all the cruises we compared. First class flights, prenight stay and gala at the Fairmont San Fran, transfers, and everything from luggage forward, visa, dry cleaning, laundry, gratuities, any drinks, coffee, alcohol in and bar or restaurants, daily restocking minibar, 24 hour room service. There is no charge for speciality restaurants. ****Look at menus, including popular regular restaurant Compass Rose.  On the WC there are three special WC events along with over 330 free shore excursions. The shore excursions  vary widely from bus type tours, to serious hikes. They are not just bus tours. There are choice excursions which are a bit more expensive. We booked $1900 worth of Regent choose excursions total for husband and I for the 120 days. We added some Overlands that were expensive to Ayers Rock, Cambodia and Great Wall. Our WC is most likely a “one and done” so we splurged on these things and had an extra year to save.

We like Regents congeniality between passengers and staff. There is a laid back attitude. No pretentiousness. One way to see this is in the WC 2021 Rollcall that is still up. Very active. Our 2022 WC Rollcall is not as active as I feel must of us holding our breath if will happen. Both roll calls welcome those on segments to join in. Our ship carries only 750 passengers and I like the idea of new people joining. Others feel the same per our roll calls.

As for formality most feel Seabourn and Regent the most laid back of the luxury lines. My DH is going to bring one sport cost, maybe two. We are debating a tie( I will win). My formal is fancy black pants and top. Most nights a resort casual ( I am from Atlanta where our resort casual may be different from yours ), read dress code.

Regardless you are so smart to use a Travel Agent. Regent and Viking and many other WCs will initially sell out in one day and come out 3-4 years in advance. Most end up with  some empty cabins for segmenters. My TA gets to book their clients on ship and see itineraries prior to most agents or booking on your own. Insurance  is tricky. They also can help people see that it may end up cost effective to move to a luxury or premium line from a mainstream line. They also know the culture of the cruise line and can help you pick out the right cruise for you.

Vikings ship is going to be new and obviously beautiful. Regents is 20 years old and beautiful. Must feel Regent has the best overall suites at sea. The smallest rooms are larger then others including Viking. The Mariner was built for Ocean lining and we will be in some rough waters. Pros and cons for different ships.

If you want to glance at Regents WC shore excursions look at WC 2022. If you click on itinerary city the excursions will show. It is a work in progress. Do not bother with Alaska, Hawaii and Vancouver as limited choices yet. Nice choices for the rest.

Happy Shopping, you have a lot of nice choices.

lisa

Edited by travelwell
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I agree, please look at Regent. We have sailed on Regent ships several times, including the WC2017 and we are booked for the WC2023. We are also booked for Vancouver to Tokyo this Fall. If that’s a no-go, we are booked on Miami to Barcelona and on to Venice next Spring. 
Everything, from the room, the food, the excursions, and the staff are top notch. We won’t sail with another line, unless the itinerary is a place that Regent doesn’t sail to.

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I just  re-read my post. Note to self - do not post while sitting on the beach with a glass of wine. Spelling errors noted, hopefully my points came across😉.

 

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On 3/7/2021 at 1:45 PM, West Coast Gal said:

Viking does look fantastic, but just can't afford that.  I know that Princess has changed since Carnival has purchased them, but wondering if anyone has been on a Princess World Cruise in the last 3 or 4 years and what were the good things that you noticed.  I was looking at their itinerary and was very excited about it for 2023.

 

 

I looked at the Princes world cruise for 2023 and put down a refundable deposit in case my P&O world cruise for 2022 fizzles out.

 

While I can't speak to Princess for a world cruise, I did sail around the horn of South America with Princess a few years ago.  It was 49 days, my longest so far, and I really enjoyed being on the long cruise.

 

A world cruise itinerary, with a nice mix of port days and sea days is important to me.  The Princess world cruise has several port days in a row, which can be tiring, but if I've been there before there's no law that says you must get off the ship.

 

It's time to get back out there.  

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4 hours ago, travelwell said:

I just  re-read my post. Note to self - do not post while sitting on the beach with a glass of wine. Spelling errors noted, hopefully my points came across😉.

 

Your post was great even with a few typos.  Wish we were by the beach.  Enjoy.  I second all of Lisa’s comments.  We too, as I have said before, will be on the 2022 Regent WC.  This will be our fourth Regent cruise (it should have been our seventh).  We chose Regent for our first WC because it includes essentially everything.  We know how much the cruise will cost at the front end, rather than having the surprise of a large bill at the end of the cruise.  That being said, there are a couple of factors that could make Regent not cost effective for a cruiser.  If you don’t drink hardly at all then why pay for it.  Similarly, in a post COVID world, if you like planning and organizing your own shore excursions than Regent does not make sense.  There are a number of cruise lines that do excellent world cruises that include many things but make these two budget items optional.  It is totally up to your own needs and desires.

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