Our new ship floated out in Italy and the final fittings have been started
I guess it is time to start packing 🙂
Actually this is something we have long talked about and finally are making it happen. Well a first for me anyhow, Susan has actually already circled the globe once before when she was a bit younger.
We absolutely love to travel, we have been to many countries and love them all. If someone asks me what my favorite city is I waiver between London, Hong Kong, New York, Barcelona and Quebec City, But truly it is wherever I am with Susan.
We discovered cruising in 2011 with a 3 nighter on the Disney Dream and we never looked back. Since then we have done many Caribbean cruises, Alaska, the Med, Transatlantic, the Baltic and the Maritimes. We have been on more than 20 cruises with , Disney, Holland America, Celebrity, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and MSC. Our longest cruise to date is 13 days.
Every single cruise we have been on has been way too short.
But not this time.
The idea of getting away for months and enjoying each other and our lives became a glimmer of an idea a couple years back.
We were on our Maritimes cruise sailing out of Boston on the Holland American Zaandam bound for Montreal.
It was a beautiful afternoon on the top deck and we started chatting with a lovely older couple while enjoying our first cocktail of the trip. As it often happens we started talking about the cruises we have been on and while having done many were sad they had never done a world cruise. Now they felt like they were too old for such an adventure, they were probably correct. But, they looked at us and said in no uncertain terms that we should do it while we had our health.
We talked about this conversation often and it really started to come into focus as we watched our parents get old and become unable to travel and it became clear as a bell when a very young best friend was diagnosed with a horrible cancer. We knew then and there that we had to make it happen. Life is just too short.
So we have the motivation, did we have the means? Turns out with a little creative savings (we saved everything) we could make it happen.
Next the question became with which line and when.
So it turns out world cruises sell out very fast and being the end of December 2020 I found out that if we wanted to go in 2023 (seemed so far out) we would have to decide very quickly.
We came up with a list of nice to haves. We wanted as long as possible, lots of new ports, mostly inclusive, a newer ship and we wanted few or no formal nights.
I started the research.
There were a few lines that did world cruises that we eliminated right away. MSC, Fred Olsen and P&O were not our style. Regent, Silver Sea, Crystal and Seabourn were just too much money. Cunard was just too formal and too many sea days. These were eliminated quickly.
So that left Holland America (the early leader), Oceania, Princess and this one I knew little about, Viking Ocean Cruises.
Out came the spreadsheet to compare.
After lots of figuring and cyphering and head scratching it turned out that with one exception the cost per day on all four lines came out very very close, less than 40.00 a day difference from top to bottom. Princess however came out over 100.00 a day less when all was considered. That put Princess at the top of the list.
On to the “inter webs” for more research and the inevitable pros and cons list. Huge thanks to Andy at https://andyandjudi.com and so many others for being an absolute wealth of fantastic information.
Pros : Cheaper, We liked our previous cruises, mostly inclusive, the world cruise included many perks
Cons: Old ship, formal nights, fewer ports, questionable reviews
Pros : We liked our previous cruises, A long history of World cruises
Cons: Expensive, Old ship, formal nights, fewer ports
Pros : No formal nights, long cruise, many ports, mostly inclusive
Cons: Expensive, Old ship
Pros : No formal nights, long cruise, many ports, mostly inclusive, new ship
Cons: Expensive, an unknown to us cruise line
At this point it seemed pretty clear that it was going to be Oceania or Viking
Enter Teresa Skeim from Cruise Specialists. She is wonderful. We had several back and forth conversations around the logic I was using to make a choice and she was patient enough to get me quotes for the options. She also encouraged booking soon as the Viking cabins were selling out quickly by now.
But, I really wanted to see the Oceania itinerary to compare to the Viking one I had in hand. As luck would have it I came across a copy of the Oceania itinerary a bit earlier than publicly available and that made the decision no easier. The Oceania itinerary looked great, but we really wanted to be on a new ship, we really wanted to end in London and Oceania may have been a little too long (if possible) at 214 days.
After watching a lot of You Tube videos, many conversations and soul searching Viking won the day. The popularity of Viking with loyal cruisers, the stance of mostly inclusive, the lack of a casino and high pressure sales and the beautiful new ships and the much lower total cost than the longer Oceania cruise all contributed to the decision.
Through Teresa we booked a deluxe verandah on a ship that has not even started to be built.