The new era of world cruising


World cruises have long been important products for cruise lines, but they’ve become even more so in the age of TikTok.

Unless you somehow have the discipline to avoid conversations about social media, you have heard that Royal Caribbean International’s Ultimate World Cruise has turned into something of reality show playing out on TikTok.

While not all world cruises are social media sensations, this is an opportunity for other lines to promote their world cruises now that the concept has been introduced to millions more people, many of whom have probably never cruised before.

Holland America Line said this week it would sail its “most ambitious” Grand World Voyage in 2026 that will visit all seven continents and include a four-day Antarctic experience. The 132-day cruise will be one of the longest the line has offered in recent years.

The line will also use one of its smallest ships, the Volendam, with a capacity of 1,432 passengers. That’s a downsize from this year’s world cruise on the Zuiderdam, which carries nearly 2,000 passengers.

Not only will the lower capacity make the sailing more intimate (with about 1,000 fewer people than on the viral Ultimate World Cruise on the Serenade of the Seas), but the Volendam is a small enough vessel to cruise down France’s Gironde estuary and call in Bordeaux.

The roundtrip cruise out of Fort Lauderdale will call at 47 ports across 39 countries, east to west. The route will take the ship south along the east coast of South America en route to Antarctica, then visit Easter Island, islands in the South Pacific, Australia, Singapore and the Maldives. Assuming geopolitical tensions in the Red Sea will have ceased by then, the ship will cut through the Suez Canal and visit Egypt followed by the Mediterranean and Northern Europe.

The itinerary will offer nine over overnight calls and five late-night departures, enabling guests to spend evenings in some ports.

The particulars of this sailing are a product of extensive customer feedback, HAL president Gus Antorcha said.

“We asked thousands of past guests and travel advisors for their opinions about the perfect Grand World Voyage, so this may be one of our most thoroughly researched routes ever for a world cruise,” Antorcha said when announcing the new voyage to current world cruise guests on the Zuiderdam.

He continued: “We are purposefully visiting fewer ports to allow more time to explore the destinations we visit and to create a voyage that does not feel rushed.”

Courtesy of Travel Weekly

HAL cruise ship