It's the big kahuna, and cruising's holy grail. A World Cruise is a big time commitment: Book one, and you're basically running away to sea for three to four months. Around the world cruises cater to affluent travelers with plenty of time on their hands — though you can also book smaller segments in many cases. Southampton, England, is a popular departure point, but sailings also depart from U.S. ports like Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, and San Francisco. You'll have plenty of sea days, as the ship continent-hops, and you'll often have more time in port than the typical cruise allows.
What We Love
Mixing It Up: You'll get a little of everything on most world cruises — from tropical beaches to big-city buzz to exotic ports of call.
The Ship Becomes Your Home: Nary a dish to wash, a suitcase to unpack, or an airport to navigate. The whole world is at the end of your gangplank.
Best Known For
Long Voyages: A typical World Cruise lasts 100 days or more.
An Older Crowd: Let's face it, few folks below retirement age can spare the time or money to do a cruise like this.
Shop for Cruises
Singapore: Shop 'til you drop, visit the boggling Gardens by the Bay, sample amazing hawker food, and enjoy the blend of Malay, Chinese, and Indian cultures — with a dash of British colonial architecture.
Cape Town, South Africa: Explore Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, sip the local wines, and take a cable car to the top of Table Mountain for great views.
Sydney, Australia: Visit koalas in the outstanding zoo, tour the iconic opera house, slurp oysters on the Circular Quay, stroll the botanic gardens, or catch a wave at Bondi Beach.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Visit Sugarloaf Mountain for stunning views, tour the splendid Municipal Theater or revered Maracanã soccer stadium, groove to Brazilian jazz, and eat at a churrascaria, where a parade of sizzling meats arrives at your table.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
It's Not Exactly Around the World: Despite the title, many cruises don't actually circumnavigate the globe.
Gayle Keck is a San Francisco-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for The Washington Post and Los Angeles Times.