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  • Writer's pictureJulie Prusak

World Cruise Trends: Longer Voyages with More Exotic Destinations

Following the pandemic, longer voyages that sail to more exotic destinations across both oceans and rivers are opening for reservations earlier than ever. While 2023 world cruises are currently underway, some cruise lines have already released their 2026 itineraries and are accepting early reservations from eager cruisers.

Here are several of the trends among current and future world cruises:

Exclusive and All-inclusive

From the stunning vistas of Europe to the tropical wonders of the South Pacific, a world cruise promises an unforgettable journey filled with breathtaking scenery, world-class amenities, impeccable service, and special events. Onboard guests will enjoy gourmet dining, lavish accommodations, and a range of activities and entertainment tailored to suit their individual preferences. Worldcruisers can immerse themselves in new cultures, meet new people, and make memories that will last a lifetime.

Waitlisted Cruises and Additional Sailings

The popularity of world cruises is inspiring cruise lines to add additional concurrent itineraries. Both Holland America and MSC Cruises are sailing not one but two 2023 world cruises concurrently. Luxury cruise ships are also sailing around the world on Silversea Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, and Viking, which is planning two of its own concurrently later this year.

Holland America’s Volendam is currently sailing their “South America & Antarctica Grand Voyage”, while the Zuiderdam sails the “Grand World Voyage”. The next full-length 128-day “Grand World Voyage” from Holland America will embark on Jan. 3, 2024, with shorter segments available.

Offering the option to depart from any of four European ports between Jan. 4-7, 2025, the MSC Magnifica World Cruise will leave from Rome or Genoa, Italy; Marseille, France; or Barcelona, Spain. The 116-night sailing will feature 22 new destinations and include 19 days in and around Australasia. On January 5, 2023, two MSC ships, MSC Magnifica and MSC Poesia, departed from Genoa, Italy on their world cruises.

In addition to the previously announced 2025 116-day World Cruise on Island Princess (roundtrip from Los Angeles or Ft. Lauderdale), cruisers have a second choice in 2025 with a 113-day World Cruise on the largest Princess cruise ship ever to sail a World Cruise – the 3,080-guest Crown Princess from Sydney, Auckland, or Brisbane.

Silversea is currently sailing a 139-day “South Side Story” 2023 world cruise, which began in Sydney in January. Silversea’s 2024 world cruise is already completely full and waitlisted. Bookings are next available on its 2025 global voyage Controtempo from Tokyo to New York.

While the Regent Seven Seas Mariner is currently sailing from Miami to Barcelona on their 2023 World Cruise, the 2026 World Cruise just opened for bookings. 154 nights of joyous adventure across 77 ports of call await, from the tropical sights of the South Pacific to the captivating scenes of southern Asia to Africa’s most ancient desert and beyond, on a circumnavigation of the globe that will be their longest cruise yet.

In December, the Viking Sky and Viking Neptune will depart on world cruises from Fort Lauderdale, Florida only three days apart. Both cruises are 138 days in length, visit 28 countries, and include 57 guided tours.

Viking Sky’s extraordinary World Cruise with 930 guests takes you to iconic destinations worldwide, from Hawaii, French Polynesia, and Bali to Egypt, Greece, Italy, and beyond. Spend three days exploring Auckland, New Zealand’s “City of Sails,” where you can speed through Hauraki Gulf on board an authentic America’s Cup racing yacht. Enjoy a Bollywood Dance performance and delve into the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi during a two-night stay in Mumbai. And witness stunning views of the Mediterranean from atop Mt. Carmel during a stay in Haifa, one of Israel’s most picturesque cities. Viking is currently offering reduced cruise fares and free category upgrades.

The Ultimate Cruise: A Three-Year Voyage

Do you actually want to live at sea and work and play from a cruise ship? Life at Sea Cruises, owned by Miray Cruises, recently announced an extensive, three-year world cruise onboard its refurbished MV Gemini. Set to depart from Istanbul on Nov. 1, 2023, the itinerary will cover a staggering 130,000 miles and visit 135 countries across seven continents.

For those who plan to work while cruising, the Business Center at Sea features 2 Meeting Rooms, 14 Offices, a Business Library, Relaxing Lounge, and a Café. Internet connectivity is via Star Link, currently considered the fastest internet available at sea. The cruise line advertises that “cruisers may also enjoy additional tax benefits when working as an international resident onboard the ship.”

Extensive Multi-River Itineraries

Two leading luxury river cruise lines have successfully offered multi-river itineraries on multiple ships, including transportation between each ship.

Debuting in 2023 for the first time, AmaWaterways introduces Seven River Journeys, their longest and most epic river cruises. These once-in-a-lifetime journeys include seven rivers, fourteen countries, and the exclusive experiences only AmaWaterways provides. Three editions are offered in 2023, each 45 or 46 nights in duration. In 2024, a Spring and Summer edition are offered, each for 49 nights.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises unique 55-day itinerary highlights three continents and 10 countries onboard four of its Super Ships starting on Oct. 3, 2024. The journey starts on the Amazon River, cruising on either Aria Amazon or Aqua Nera visiting Peru, Argentina, and Brazil, before guests transfer to Europe to visit the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, and Hungary onboard S.S. Beatrice. Next, guests transfer to the S.S. Catherine in France, and finally, Vietnam and Cambodia onboard the Mekong.

This “Rivers of the World” route includes all onboard dining; unlimited premium wine, beer, and spirits; Wi-Fi access; shore excursions; airport transfers; onboard gratuities; and airfare between voyage segments.

A World Cruise or extended river cruise both require large commitments of both time and money. If you are considering such a journey, consult with an experienced luxury travel advisor who can help you evaluate your best options.

You can browse our ports of call guide here:

Please contact me if you have any other questions about cruising. Bon voyage!

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