A world cruise is the ultimate vacation for travelers seeking luxury, adventure, and an unforgettable experience. Spanning multiple continents and several months at sea, world cruises offer a chance to see the far corners of the globe in style and comfort. But these extended ocean voyages come at a steep price – so just how expensive is a world Cruise Ship Travel, and is it really worth the cost?
What Exactly is a World Cruise?
A world cruise, also known as a grand voyage, is a single cruise itinerary that stops at various ports and destinations around the world. Most world cruises last approximately 3-6 months in duration and cover all major regions of the globe including Asia, Australia, Africa, South America, North America and Europe.
The most common world cruise itineraries travel westward from the U.S. to countries like New Zealand and Australia, then up to Asia, the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and Northern Europe before heading back. But ship routes can vary and often circle the globe in the opposite direction as well. Most cruise lines only offer 1 or 2 world cruises per year on their largest and most luxurious cruise ships.
Stops along the way range from 1-2 days in port at each location. Common ports of call include iconic cities like Sydney, Cape Town, Dubai, Rome, New York and more. World cruises allow travelers to wake up in a new exotic locale every few days without having to pack their bags. It’s an unparalleled opportunity to see many bucket-list destinations in a short time.
Average Cost for a World Cruise
World cruises come with luxury amenities and unique itineraries – but also exceptionally high price tags. Costs can vary based on the cruise line, ship, amenities, duration and itinerary. But on average most world cruises range from $25,000 to $70,000 per guest.
Prices often start around $30,000 for a smaller ship with fewer amenities, reaching upward of $70,000+ on an ultra-luxury ship for a 6+ month around the world journey. Most mid-range trips cost around $40,000-$50,000. Suites can also drive up costs substantially.
This hefty price includes your actual cruise fare as well as airfare to/from departure ports. Gratuities, WiFi, fine dining, and alcoholic beverages will add a few thousand dollars more. Pre-and post-cruise land extensions also come at an additional cost.
What’s Included in a World Cruise Itinerary?
The base cruise fare for a world cruise includes your lodging, meals, entertainment, and transportation to various ports of call around the globe. But these voyages come with far more inclusions and amenities than a regular Caribbean cruise. Here are some of the most common perks:
- Lodging in a suite/stateroom: Everything from entry-level interior cabins to lavish multi-room suites are available. Most world cruises spend very little time at sea, so you don’t need a balcony.
- Fine dining: Gourmet restaurants, buffets, and 24-hour room service. Many meals are included, with extra charges at specialty venues.
- Onboard entertainment: Shows, guest lectures, music, parties, classes, and enrichment programs.
- Transportation: Ship transit and transport from port-to-port.
- Excursions: Zodiac rafting to Antarctica, camel rides in Egypt – amazing shore excursions are included or discounted.
- Beverages: Beer, wine, spirits and soft drinks (sometimes at an extra cost or only during happy hour).
- Gratuities: All tips and service charges are usually included.
- WiFi: Stay connected for free or a small daily fee.
With most world cruises, airfare, visa fees, and pre/post hotel stays at embarkation and disembarkation cities are additional costs on top of the cruise fare. Laundry, spa treatments, casino gaming and gift shop purchases will also add up.
Why are Costs so High?
There are several factors that contribute to the steep fares commanded by world cruise vacations:
- Duration – These trips are 3-6+ months in length. You’re essentially paying for a temporary residence at sea for an extended period.
- Destinations – With 60+ exotic ports of call, these are infinitely more destinations than a regular 7 day Caribbean or Alaska cruise.
- Fewer Passengers – Longer voyages accommodate fewer guests. Per person costs rise when ships sail at lower occupancy.
- Bigger Ships – Vast onboard space spreads fixed costs over more areas, driving up fares.
- Luxury Amenities – Lavish suites, gourmet dining, entertainment and enrichment programs all come at a premium.
- Inclusions – Most major expenses like airfare, drinks, gratuities and excursions are bundled into one cruise fare.
- Limited Availability – Only the newest and best cruise ships can offer these extended voyages. Supply is lower so pricing is higher.
When you consider everything that’s included, world cruises offer exceptional value – but the initial sticker shock is unavoidable.
Choosing a World Cruise Itinerary
With luxury world cruises spanning several months and crossing numerous oceans, one of the biggest decisions is choosing your ideal itinerary and cruise line.
Popular cruise lines offering world cruises include:
- Viking Ocean Cruises – Offers several four-month long world cruise itineraries stopping at 113-135 ports. Fares start around $27,000.
- Seabourn Cruise Line – Ultra-luxury world cruises on intimate ships for 148 to 600 guests. Fares from $72,000.
- Princess Cruises – Choose from three different 3-month world cruise itineraries on ships with over 2500 guests. Prices from $15,000.
- Holland America – Four-month Grand Voyages allow flexible booking of segments. Fares start at $14,000.
- Cunard – Iconic Transatlantic crossings combined with other regions on a 108-day world voyage. Fares from $18,000.
- Silversea Cruises – All-inclusive ultra-luxury world cruises with spacious suites. Starting around $52,000.
When evaluating different world cruise options, consider the number of days at sea vs port days, regions covered, and inclusions that best match your interests.
Is a World Cruise Worth the Cost?
For many veteran cruisers, the answer is a resounding yes. The vast scope of destinations, ease of travel between continents, and all-inclusive luxury make world cruises a compelling choice despite the formidable price tag.
Pros of Booking a World Cruise:
- Visit 6+ continents from your floating hotel room.
- Wake up at a new exotic locale almost daily.
- No unpacking/repacking as you globe-trot.
- Sample gourmet cuisine and premium drinks.
- Take part in enriching classes and activities at sea.
- Enjoy pampering treatment with great service.
- Gain preferential status and rewards with cruise lines.
Potential Cons to Consider:
- Very expensive upfront costs and long time commitment.
- Potential for homesickness and fatigue being away for so long.
- Missing out on more in-depth land exploration of destinations.
- Space limitations of a cruise ship cabin for extended periods.
- Rare itineraries sell out quickly.
- Significant planning for air travel and pre/post hotel stays.
For travelers with the time and budget who want to check off a lifetime of dream destinations in one fell swoop – a world cruise is often described as the trip of a lifetime. The eye-popping price tags limit this globally-spanning style of travel to mostly affluent retirees and experienced cruisers. But the memories and bragging rights last forever!