Royal Caribbean just announced the most epic around-the-world cruise ever

Oct 20, 2021

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Cruise giant Royal Caribbean is known for doing things big. So, it perhaps should come as no surprise that its first around-the-world cruise would be something for the record books.

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The Miami-based operator of the world’s biggest cruise ships on Wednesday announced it would offer an epic world voyage that will be nine months long — several more months than the longest around-the-world cruise offered by any other line.

Dubbed the Ultimate World Cruise, the sailing also will bring stops in far more countries than is typical for a world cruise — 65 in all. It will hit all seven continents and include visits to more than 150 different destinations.

The voyage will take place on Royal Caribbean’s 2,143-passenger Serenade of the Seas and kick off in Miami on Dec. 10, 2023. It will return to Miami on Sept. 10, 2024.

For those counting, that’s 274 days the ship will be on a single voyage.

“This is the world cruise of world cruises,” Royal Caribbean president and CEO Michael Bayley said in a statement accompanying the announcement of the sailing.

Bayley suggested cruisers were ready to “make up for lost time” after being stuck at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Royal Caribbean is making that a reality with the ultimate vacation that welcomes those seeking adventure and exploration to taste, dance and dream with us around the world,” he said. “To travelers asking themselves where they should go next, we say everywhere.”

Related: The ultimate guide to Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean is joining a rarified category of cruise lines that offer around-the-world sailings. Among the biggest players in the niche are Cunard Line, Holland America, Oceania Cruises and Viking.

The typical around-the-world cruise lasts about three to four months and includes visits to between 20 and 30 countries. But there’s been a trend toward longer world sailings in recent years. Oceania has been offering world sailings for several years that are six months long. Viking’s world cruises have been approaching five months in length.

The fact that Royal Caribbean is getting into around-the-world cruises at all is notable. The line until now hasn’t been known for particularly long voyages. Its longest voyage currently for sale — a transpacific sailing from Hawaii to Australia — is just 19 nights in length.

Royal Caribbean is best known for relatively short voyages in the Caribbean, Europe and Alaska.

The new world voyage, notably, will include stops at 57 destinations where the 53-year-old cruise line has never sent a ship. They include Casablanca, Morocco; Qaqortoq, Greenland; and Shimizu, Japan — the gateway to Mount Fuji.

Related: The best destinations you can visit on a Royal Caribbean cruise

Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas sailing in Alaska. (Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean)

Royal Caribbean will begin taking bookings for the Ultimate World Cruise today, Wednesday, Oct. 20 by phone only and through travel agents. There will be an exclusive one-week window through Oct. 26 when only top members (Diamond and above) of Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor Society loyalty program can book.

Would-be globetrotters also will be able to book one of four segments of the world voyage starting in December. The four segments will be:

  • Round the Horn: Americas and Antarctica Expedition. This is the first part of the world cruise out of Miami that brings visits to Caribbean islands, Central America, South America and Antarctica. It’ll take place from Dec. 10, 2023, to Feb. 11, 2024, and include stops at 36 places.
  • Wonders of Asia and the Pacific Expedition. Scheduled from Feb. 11, 2024, to May 9, 2024, this three-month segment brings stops at 40 destinations across Oceania and Asia including ports in Hawaii, French Polynesia, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, China and Japan.
  • Middle East Treasures and Marvels of the Med Expedition. This two-month-long segment, from May 9, 2024, to July 10, 2024, will bring stops at 44 destinations across the Middle East and Europe, from Dubai and Egypt to Turkey and Italy.
  • Capitals of Culture. Scheduled from July 10, 2024, to Sept. 10, 2024, this two-month segment brings cruisers to another 40 destinations across Europe, North Africa and North America. Stops will range from Spain and Morocco to Norway and Iceland.

Fares for the full world cruise will start at $60,999 per person, plus taxes and fees.

The fares will include business-class airfare to reach the ship, transfers and an evening of festivities and accommodations at a five-star hotel before setting sail.

In addition, Crown & Anchor Society Platinum status members and above will receive a bonus shore excursion package that includes tours to several of the world’s most iconic attractions as well as an included beverage package, free onboard Wi-Fi access and free onboard laundry service.

The line has set up a dedicated phone line for taking bookings for the world cruise (800-423-2100) or customers can book through a travel advisor.

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Featured photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean.

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