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2023 Grand Voyage/2024 World Cruise.


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Your input is needed.  I am booking far out  I do have the Scotland expedition on the Cloud booked for August 2022.    I used some FFC's and cash to book the South American Grand Voyage which is from Ft. Lauderdale round trip sailing January 2023.  The ship is the Silver Moon and it is for 70 days.  I have not been on the Moon before.  I have done perhaps 1/3 of this itinerary, mainly the Caribbean and the Panama Canal transit.   Haven't we all done the Caribbean to death.  The second itinerary I am looking at is the 2024 world cruise which is round trip from San Francisco departing January 2024 for 130 days.  The ship is the Silver Shadow, which I have been on twice. The major plus of this for me is it gets me to the far east and Australia which I have never done before because the flights are just too damn long.  The Frisco to Frisco R/T is a big bonus.  The only segment of this cruise I have done before is the short Alaska leg.  Now the big question, pardon me rounding off some numbers.  For me, 130 days on the Shadow feels too long.  The Shadow has a capacity of 300.  It is older.  Its restaurant choices are more limited.  Frankly I don't know why SS is using the Shadow for its World Tour?  If the WT was on the Moon I wouldn't be having this dilemma.  So right now, I like the itinerary a lot better, but the ship a lot less.  With the South American Grand Voyage the reverse is true, the ship beats the itinerary by big margin.  Also looking this far ahead is probably pointless, bu the South American cruise makes a number of stops in Brazil,  and I fear, and this seems paranoid 18 months out, is that Brazil will not have been able to manage its COVID  crisis by then, the country is totally dysfunctional and a complete mess, and even that far ahead, I see ports being shut and itineraries being canceled.  The fact the the WT is twice as long really isn't a factor.  I haven't done a cruise of either length and I am either going to love it or hate.  

 

So, in good faith I can't let myself book both, even with SS's current refund policy, which wouldn't cost me that much-there is the 10% early booking bonus and a couple of other small incentives that require one to put cash on the table but it wold come back 140 days before.  But I feel I would be taking someone's place that badly wants to do it, and in my world that's wrong.  Right now the W/C is all wait listed and I understand from my CC that it is going to open up next week.  So I will have to make the jump then.  If only SS was using the Moon for its W/C I wouldn't be having this dilemma.  Any thoughts would be appreciated.

 

PS  I don't know if anyone here would miss me but I have been silent because I have been sailing the SS Martha's Vineyard for most of the past month.  I have been going there now for 33 years. And this was, by far, the worst weather I have ever encountered.  Thick, thick fog that didn't burn off most days, so little sun I felt I was in Scotland.  Horrid.  Cheers.  Chris

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Personally speaking, I am not a South America cruise fan.  Love BA, love The Falklands (Volunteer Point is a must, don't settle for penguin viewing at easier-to-access beaches) but if weather is bad the Falklands may get skipped.  Other SA ports are not my taste (but many people depart ship to Machu Picchu then rejoin downline) and the Caribbean is of no interest to me.

 

The WC itinerary is really interesting.  Presumably Oz and NZ will be open by 2024.  But as you say, the ship is smallish (that can be a plus in some ports, a big negative in the Tasman Sea and other rough patches).  If I wanted a R/T USA trans-Pacific Rim cruise it would be a hard to beat that itinerary (tip: be sure to cough up the cash for a bear excursion flight in Kodiak and visit Alaska Ship Supply store in Dutch Harbor).

 

So in short, as you said, ship vs. itinerary.  If those were my only two choices I would probably opt for the WC.  If it matters, the per diems also appear to be less on the WC.

 

Good luck.

 

 

Edited by flyingshoes
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Interesting dilemma.Yes, we have all done the Caribbean to death! And the SF/SF embarkation is very enticing for people in the US.  The WC is always done on the Whisper; is I suspect since the Shadow is the sister ship, the feeling was it would be an easy transition for passengers since they are sister ships. Plus smaller ships for WC to hit the smaller ports. My TA (who has cruised extensively on Silversea) always tells me that the new ships (such as Moon/Dawn) sell themselves and are easy for the cruiselines to fill. So they put the older ships on the most desirable itineraries to fill the older ships. My TA is very upfront and when I was looking at a South America circumnavigation she told me she is not a big fan  — she feels there are a few highlights along the way and the Chilean Fjords etc but otherwise a lot of “sameness.” 

 

My TA (in New England)  also said WC opens for sale in stages…something like past WC customers, Venetian Society, then general public which is why it is currently waitlist. I did look at the 2024 WC itinerary with her and she thinks it designed to “complement” the 2022 itinerary which sails from Fort Lauderdale, Panama Canal, Antartica, South Africa, up thru the Middle East, Europe and then Scandanavian ending in Copenhagen. 2022 doesn’t go to Asia at all. 

 

I can’t help but think there must be other options that will give you everything you want in terms of ship, itinerary and timing. Sometimes you have to be careful of in-house CCs because they will push the itineraries / cabins that the cruise lines need to sell. You seem to be open on timing, so perhaps doing multiple back-to-back on a ship you really want to be on might be the best option?

 

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