8 Great Round-the-World Cruises for 2013

Ship

Ever dream of sailing around the world? Whether you’re a salty seafarer or first-time sailor, round-the-world cruises offer a unique opportunity to explore the far reaches of planet earth without once having to re-pack your bags. You can spend up to four months sailing the seven seas, stopping everywhere from the mysterious monoliths of Easter Island to the beautiful Yu Garden in Shanghai. We’ve assembled a list of 10 round-the-world cruises to whet your wanderlust and give you a gentle shove out the door for the adventure of a lifetime.

Silversea

Board the Silver Whisper for a 115-day voyage from Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale. The cruise departs from California, swings down to New Zealand and Australia, meanders through the South Pacific with stops in China and India, makes a loop around the Africa coastline, wanders through the Caribbean and concludes its journey at the southern tip of Florida. There are no European stops on this one, but you’ll see the best of South Australia, Asia and Africa.

Cunard

Hop aboard the Queen Mary 2 for a 106-day loop that both begins and ends in Southampton England. The route drops down past Spain with a stop in Barcelona, hits Athens, dawdles in Egypt, makes its way to Dubai, circumnavigates southern Asia and the South Pacific, makes stops in Australia and New Zealand, heads over to South Africa and sails back north to its point of origin. No exploration of the Americas here, but Cunard provides an excellent sampling of the eastern hemisphere.

P&O Cruises

Like the Cunard cruise, P&O offers a 106-day world tour that starts and ends in Southampton, England. P&O, however, goes east-to-west, heading straight for Barbados after a brief stop in Portugal. Then it’s down through the Panama Canal, along Mexico, up to San Francisco, over to Hawaii, across the Pacific to New Zealand and Australia, around the South Pacific and Asia (including Japan!) and past India to Dubai and Egypt. After a few stops in the Mediterranean, you’re right back where you started.

Holland America

The ms Amsterdam embarks on its 115-day voyage in Fort Lauderdale. You’ll go down through the Panama Canal, make stops on South America’s western coast, swing by Easter Island and Bora-Bora, traverse the standard New Zealand / Australia / Pacific route, graze the southern tip of Africa, cross the Atlantic, bounce along South America’s northeastern coast, muck about in the Caribbean and disembark back in Fort Lauderdale. Holland’s inclusion of South America adds a series of highly desirable destinations its competitors often omit.

Crystal

For a slightly shorter, more focused cruise, climb aboard the Crystal Serenity. This 74-day journey is a thorough exploration of the entirety of the South American coastline. The trip, departing from Miami, begins with a few paradisaical stops in Key West, Grand Cayman and Aruba. From there, the ship sails to Columbia, through the Panama Canal and down along South America’s western coast. Stops include Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. At one point, you’ll even cruise the Amazon River. After South America, it’s back up for some time lounging about the Caribbean before returning to Miami.

Princess

The Princess world cruise aboard the Pacific Princess also begins in Fort Lauderdale. After Costa Rica, it’s straight through Panama. There are stops in Ecuador and Peru before the Pacific voyage. You’ll visit Easter Island, French Polynesia, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Korea, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, India, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Israel, Turkey and more. Your journey reaches its final destination in Venice, Italy. If you’re from the States, you’ll have to catch a transatlantic flight back home.

Seabourn

Seabourn offers a world cruise with a route nearly identical to that of Princess. It starts in Fort Lauderdale and ends in Venice, making several stops in the Caribbean before crossing the Panama Canal. After exploring the Pacific Islands, the ship heads to Australia. Make note that Seabourn does not include any stops in New Zealand. After Australia, expect the typical South Pacific / Asia route. Unlike Princess, Seabourn does not stop in Japan. The second half of the cruise includes stop in India, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Israel and more.

Regent

If these extravagant world trips are beyond your price and time ranges, Regent offers a handful of shorter voyages called “Grand Crossings.” Routes include 27 days from Monte Carlo to Buenos Aires, 17 days from Monte Carlo to Rio de Jeneiro, 15 days from Miami to Barcelona and 18 days from Barcelona to Rio de Jeneiro. The longest of the four–Monte Carlo to Buenos Aires–includes stops in Spain, Morocco, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina.