Considering a world cruise? We've got the low-down. Credit: Shutterstock

Everything you need to know about around-the-world-cruises

Author: Samantha Priestley

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Planning to treat yourself to the ultimate cruise? Samantha Priestley has your ultimate guide to round-the-world-cruises

Embarking on a round- the-world cruise is a dream for many travellers – but it can also feel quite the undertaking. After all, global trips occupy a lot of time, requiring you to leave your regular life behind for months on end while you make your home on a ship.

For some, once is never enough, while for others it’s a once in a lifetime experience. But what is it really like to sail around the world? And what should you consider before you go? Here we ask travellers who’ve voyaged from Alaska to Australia to give us the lowdown on world cruises – and answer all your questions.

Preparing for your round-the-world cruise means making sure you’ve covered all bases. Many insurance companies won’t cover you for a global voyage, or they stipulate a limit of 45 days, but Just Travel Cover specialises in cruise travel insurance and has a policy especially for world cruises.

When packing for an extended trip, you might feel you have a mountain to climb. Most of us overpack, yet some cabins are compact. That said, you don’t want to forget something vital, and you need to be comfortable as you’ll be away for a long time – so it’s important to get the balance right.

Pack strategically for a world cruise. Credit: Shutterstock

To help you decide what to pack, write down everything you can think of taking. Separate the list into categories such as casual outfits, formal wear, footwear, swimwear and toiletries, then edit down to what you really need.

Cruiser Brogan Tate joined P&O’s Arcadia for half of its recent world voyage. She says that rather than packing lightly, it’s how you pack that’s important. “I don’t find vacuum packing helpful because you end up with one large, rock-solid item that’s difficult to fit into your case.

"Instead, I use Away suitcase packing cubes – rectangular fabric pouches that help you organise all your stuff. Then I fold everything directly into the packing cubes to make them fit exactly, so I don’t end up wasting space with gaps."

It might seem incredible but cruising around the world for four, five or six months can be more affordable than renting a house and paying for utility bills, petrol and food shopping in the UK – which is why some travellers book back-to-back world cruises.

Factor in the additional benefits of a cruise, such as 24-hour service and onboard food, entertainment, pools and spas – and the fact that you’re travelling around the world – and it’s easy to see why extended cruises are so appealing.

Holland America Line has been exploring Alaska, a bucket list destination, since 1947. Credit: HAL

Round-the-world cruises do mean being away from friends and family for a long time, and even if you travel with your partner or close family, you might still be concerned about the loneliness factor. For those who travel alone this can be a bigger worry. But you’ll soon meet people on board while propping up the bar or unwinding in the spa.

Gary Bembridge found a new set of friends and a cruising ‘family’ while sailing around the world with his partner Mark on a Cunard cruise. “There was a huge sense of adventure and significance about the whole experience that we hadn’t expected,” he explains.

“We formed many bonds and friendships, including with crew members who were onboard for all or most of the trip. Many of us shed a tear when we parted. The feeling of forging our way around the world together, and constantly seeing and exploring fast changing cultures, climates and history, was magical.”

Gary also found there were so many new things to experience, even on sea days, that there was barely time to feel lonely. “There were many days at sea but Mark got into fitness and classes while I immersed myself in the photography club. I’d experiment and learn something every day.”

Still concerned about missing your loved ones? Then choose a cruise with Royal Caribbean International, which allows family members to fly out and join you for segments of your round- the-world itinerary.

Loneliness and boredom are never an option on a world cruise. Credit: Shutterstock

When considering a world cruise, pet owners’ biggest concern is who will look after their four-legged friends while they’re away, and how they’ll feel being parted from them for so long. If that’s you, then cruise with Cunard – the only line that allows you to take your furry family members sailing with you.

Alternatively, some kennels – such as Sadberge Boarding Kennels & Cattery in County Durham – will post photos of your pets on Facebook and even arrange Zoom calls.

Another option for staying in touch is to hire a live-in pet sitter. This means your pet stays in the comfort of their home along with your pet sitter, who can FaceTime you while cuddling your cat. has pet sitters all over the UK who’ll look after your pet and home.

Still missing your pooch? Then sail on Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas, which has a canine crew member – Rover the retriever – who loves cuddles and being petted by passengers.

Icon of the Seas, the world's largest cruise ship, welcomes pets. Credit: Shutterstock

Yes you can, although you will have to deal with time zone differences and variable Wi-Fi when scheduling meetings with colleagues, clients or your accountant.

Life at Sea Cruises’ three-year voyage makes working remotely while you sail around the globe as easy as working from an office on land. It’s just a lot more fun. Wi-Fi is included in the price of your stay, as are visits to an onboard doctor, so you can live on the ship as you would at home.

While most communication is digital now, you can still send and receive packages from a world cruise should you need to. It’s easy to post packages from each port you stop at, but receiving them requires a bit more planning. Before you travel, speak to your cruise line and ensure that any clients or colleagues who might need to send you packages have a list of
the ports you’ll dock in and on which dates.

Each port has a port agent who represents your cruise line and will receive packages for you. It’s a well- established system – but only if your mail arrives before your ship sails on.

Worried that you’ll feel lost without your usual routine? Gary Bembridge found this wasn’t a problem. “One thing we hadn’t expected was how quickly we found a new rhythm of life,” he says. “On short cruises, there’s pressure to try everything, eat everything and cram

Why work from home when you can work from a cruise ship? Credit: Shutterstock

Travel fatigue is a thing. Yes, it’s a first world problem, but there is a chance you’ll feel some weariness at the idea of exploring yet another paradise,
or you’ll jumble up the cities or temples you’ve visited.

The best way to avoid this is by choosing a cruise that spends longer in fewer destinations and offers the chance to interact with the locals.

Giving back to your host community is a great way to feel a sense of purpose and there are lots of things you can do, from joining a beach clean to sharing your IT skills with residents in the places you visit.

It’s usually the people we meet who leave the strongest impression, and it’ll be easier to differentiate between India and Indonesia when you’re back at home
if you can remember that Mumbai tuk tuk driver called Deepak.

Consider keeping a travel journal, too, or doing something in each destination that’s specific to that place – you could participate in a tea ceremony in Japan, line dance in the States or watch Mexican wrestling, for example.

A cruise around the world means different things to different people, but it’s unique and significant no matter where yours takes you. So bite the bullet – and prepare for an incredible adventure.

Find zen at a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Credit: Shutterstock

Princess Cruises’ 119-night World Cruise Liner aboard Crown Princess, from Dover to New Zealand via Norway, Iceland, Greenland, Nova Scotia, New York, Miami, Colombia, Peru, Easter Island and Tahiti, departs on July 30, 2025, from £8,099 per person.

Holland America Line’s 123-night Grand World Voyage aboard Zuiderdam, return from Fort Lauderdale via Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Australia, Komodo Island, Singapore, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Madagascar, South Africa, Malta, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Italy and Portugal, departs on January 4, 2025. From £24,549 per person.

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