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Six-month World Tour On Insignia

Now before you dismiss spending $40,000 on a cruise, at least give it a little thought. That’s the tab for the new Oceania around-the-world cruise on the Insignia, leaving in January 2017 and returning that July.

Come to think of it, has anybody seen a cruise longer than six months, anywhere? It seems that 180 days is the threshold that must not be broken. Perhaps after that passengers start making plans to do more than exchange Christmas cards. Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice — that sort of thing.

Oh yes, about the 40 grand…

If you’re a couple, that’s 80 grand. And for that price, you get an inside stateroom — the cheapest balcony is $53,000. Included are all taxes, round-trip first-class air fare from North American gateway cities to Miami and unlimited Internet. It doesn’t say gratuities are included but it wouldn’t be a surprise if they are. In visiting 98 cities in 36 countries, you have to figure there will be some additional costs, so maybe a more realistic tab is $45,000 to $50,000.

But about selling the concept to your better half…

From $80,000 for both of you, deduct all your car expenses for six months. If you can arrange to be between homes at the time (Baby Boomers can sometimes do that), or sublet your residence, deduct six months of rent or mortgage payments. Deduct ALL your meals, and wine, for 180 days. Reduce your entertainment budget drastically because there will be more than enough ship entertainment to fit into your busy schedule.

And did we mention that it includes "free medical" (that's what the fine print says)? Obamacare at sea?

You’ll go to six continents. By the time it’s over, there will be far less of the world for you to see, and maybe none that you want to see. it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You do need to make certain that 180 days living our of a cabin without getting cabin fever — we were worried about 19 straight days on a ship but were sorry when we had to disembark.

Even with all of the “savings” from our daily lives, there’s still one more thing most of us should probably do…

Win the lotto.

Do that and you can upgrade. To the owner’s suite. It’s only $125,000 — per person.

And guess what?

There’s already a waiting list.

— Insignia photo by Bahnfrend (Wikimedia Commons)

In the news…

• Norwegian, Princess both leaving Houston by 2016-17 after four-year stay
• American Cruise Lines launches new river cruiser three weeks early
• Breaking Benjamin headlining Carnival Victory cruise in February

Today at portsandbows.com: Norwegian's Asian deployment

Holland America Zaandam
7 nights
September 13, 2015
Anchorage, Glacier Bay National Park, Haines, Juneau, Ketchikan, Vancouver
Inside: $747
Cost per day: $106

Around the World for How Much a Day?

If we're reading this correctly, you can go around the world in 180 days on the Oceania Insignia — that's 44 countries and 89 ports —  in an all-in cruise that includes 2-for-1 fares, first-class airfare, pre-paid gratuities, free luggage valet and free medical service on the ship.

For $40,000.

Now before you choke on your oatmeal, think about what you would spend if you didn't go around the world in 180 days.

May we hypothesize…

Food: Two people for six months? In our house, that's about $600 a month. Savings for six months…$3,600.

Accommodation: More assumptions to make, and these will vary wildly by where you live. But let's say your mortgage payment is $2,000 a month and that you can rent out your home for the same amount. Or if you happen to be "between homes" you would save all of that plus maintenance, minus the cost of storing your furniture. Either way, projected savings for six months…$12,000. 

Transportation: It's reasonable to assume that driving your car costs $500 a month for gas, $100 a month for insurance. Even with no repairs, savings for six months…$3,600.

Entertainment: Again, everybody is different. Restaurant meals, green fees, the odd theater or concert ticket…would $300 a month be reasonable? Savings for six months…$1,800.

Medical: Depending on the depth of Oceania's medical coverage, you could cancel that travel insurance that's costing you $100 a month. Savings for six months…$600.

Vacation: Perhaps you'd take a two-week holiday once every six months and a rough guess us you'd spend a couple of hundred dollars a day more than you would spend if you stayed home. Savings for six months…$2,800.

Yes, it's highly subjective. Highly speculative. Highly unlikely those exact figures would apply to you. But it doesn't take a mathematician to figure it out for yourself.

Using these hypothetical savings, you're at more than $24,000. Now the price tag for that all-world cruise is suddenly $16,000 a couple ($8,000 each)…to see 44 countries and 89 ports.

That's less than $50 per day, per person.

The Insignia leaves Lisbon on January 10, 2015, and all those extra apply only if you book it by the end of August, six weeks from now.

Yes, there are shore excursions, but you can control that. There may even be some costs that aren't readily identified by Oceania.  However, when you look at the bang for your buck, this cruise has great appeal.

It just means doing a 180…for a 180.

Celebrity Millennium
7 nights
September 6, 2013
Anchorage, Hubbard Glacier, JuneauSkagway, Icy Strait Point, KetchikanVancouver
Inside: $499
Cost per day: $71

Who Cruises for 115 Days?

If you have been reading us for a while, you may or may not recall that the longest cruise we’ve been on was 19 days. You may even remember that we liked it, and felt a little melancholy at being separated from our home on the water, the Norwegian Sun.

In short, we didn’t think it was too long.

This week, we came across a news release from Holland America, promoting its Grand World Voyage in January 2013 (cruise lines like to give you lots of time to plan). The Amsterdam (above) leaves Fort Lauderdale on the sixth day of the New Year, docking at the same place 40 ports and 115 days later.

Think about that…115 days. That’s six times longer than our longest cruise. Six times!

Who goes on these cruises?

People who are between homes? Between spouses? Lonely? Trying to escape reality?

One thing they are is rich. Holland America’s cheapest state room, presumably an inside room, costs $20,000 for that little junket, and that’s only if there are two of you in it. That’s $174 a day. Each. It doesn’t include gratuities or taxes or insurance or getting to and from Fort Lauderdale.

Just for fun, we checked the cost of one of these around-the-world voyages on Cunard, the most regal and often most expensive of cruise lines. A 106-day cruise on the Queen Mary 2 (above) in January 2013 starts at $20,000, or $188 per day. Yes, each.

The Amsterdam has circled the globe eight times. In 2013, that number will be 10. Grand Voyage No. 9 is about eight weeks from now, from Fort Lauderdale, and the price is about the same for 112 days — $20,899. If you’d like an oceanview it’s $4,000 more. A balcony is $18,000 more.

There’s still space available…if you have 20 grand and think you can survive three months in an inside state room with somebody else.

By comparison, 19 days was a piece of cake.

Seabourn Sojourn
14 nights
December 5, 2011
Santiago to Buenos Aires
Oceanview $3,999

Around the World in 21st Century

When we were kids, there was a movie called “Around The World in 80 Days” that was as SciFi to us as Star Trek is today because, frankly, it wasn’t ever going to happen. The movie included 41 stars, was based on a book of the same name by Jules Verne and was called an “epic” — which has nothing to do with a cruise ship having the same name today.

But we digress. Around the world in 80 days is no longer a pipe dream, it’s a reality. Okay, so maybe it’s not exactly 80 days.

However, it will happen in somewhere between 86 and 103 days, according to the “company of Queens” that pioneered the idea of sailing ’round the world, Cunard. Today’s version of the World Voyage that Cunard ships launched 90 years ago is actually four trips around the world — one on the Queen Mary 2 and one on the new Queen Elizabeth in each of the next two years.

So why is this significant now?

Now, because Cunard has a sale, and it starts next week (July 15). Among the perks are a 10% early-booking discount, a $3,000 per stateroom on-board credit and complimentary hotel and dining charges… not sure what that is. And if 86 to 103 days is too much for you, Cunard breaks it down into “segment voyages” of varying lengths.

The main ports are New York, Fort Lauderdale and Southampton, England, and there’s a zillion or so ports and things to do in three months on the ships. It’s a far cry from that initial voyage on the Laconia in 1922.

Even if it isn’t a far cry from “80 days.”

Around America in Two Months

You could call this one an all-American trip on a ship. You get on board in America and, after more than two months on board, you get off in America. The ship belongs to Holland America. Its purpose on this two-month voyage is to circumnavigate South America. You can probably get to the embarkation/debarkation city on American Airlines, and you can be certain most of the passengers will be American…


On the fifth day of 2011, the
ms Prinsendam sails from Fort Lauderdale.

After two equator crossings, 13 countries, 29 ports and 66 days later, the ship returns to the same Florida port. You want to know the countries and ports…and the price…check here.

By the time it’s all over, you’ll have been to Antarctica, explored the Amazon River and made 792 new friends who will have been your roommates for two months (assuming that the cruise sells out).

They’ve titled this trip “Grand South America.” There’s that word again.
Four days into 2012, Holland America has just announced one of their ships (probably the Prinsendam) will do it all again, also from/to Fort Lauderdale. This trip takes 68 days. It’s for people who think the 2011 voyage is too short.

That’s it, we’re done.

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