Retirement Cruise Of The World

| February 23, 2015 | 1 Comment | Email This Post Email This Post

World cruises appeal to adventurers who are in it for the long haulThe next day they would be in Bora Bora, they said. They planned to tour the island and play in its dazzling aquamarine lagoon, considered one of the most beautiful in the world.

The adventure might be considered epic for some people, but it’s not unusual for the Steiners. This was their eighth world cruise, they said, during a phone interview from the ship. “You pretty much move onboard, see many ports and never have to pack and unpack,” Keith Steiner said.

The Texas couple are part of an elite but growing group. They’re what might be called extreme cruisers. They love to go to sea — and stay there. During their current journey, the Steiners will be gone 170 days and they’ll circumnavigate the globe, visiting dozens of ports, including Cape Town, South Africa; Rio de Janeiro; and Madagascar. Before docking at Papeete, they visited Easter Island.

At least seven major cruise lines now offer world cruises; many leave from Florida ports, but some sail from Los Angeles. Princess Cruise Lines’ Pacific Princess, for instance, departed L.A. on Jan. 23, bound for a 111-day circumnavigation that will span six continents and include 34 destinations in 25 countries.

World cruises have become so popular that cruise lines can barely keep up with the demand, even though they’re the priciest trips marketed by the travel industry, costing about $20,000 per person to as much as $500,000 per couple. By comparison, the average cruise is one week and may be available for as little as $500.

You can blame the baby-boomer generation for the growing popularity of cruises that go around the world in 80 days (or more).

“They have time on their hands, disposable income and an interest in travel,” said Richard Meadows, Cunard’s North America president. “They’re looking for unique experiences. World travel delivers that.” Cunard caters to that market in a variety of ways, including scheduling onboard entertainment such as James Taylor and Crosby, Stills & Nash.

The 175-year-old line offered its first world cruise in 1922; it now has three Queens in its fleet: Victoria, Elizabeth and the Queen Mary 2. Each sails world cruises January through April and other long segments during the summer.

Those who don’t want to spend the time it takes to go on a world cruise but still want to spend a significant time at sea can combine segments — a 10-day cruise and a 21-day cruise — to lengthen their journey.

“We pioneered the concept of lengthy cruises,” Meadows said. “It’s an important focus for us.”

Cunard’s ships are larger than many of those that do circumnavigations and they offer an old-fashioned perk for women who like to dance but find themselves without a willing partner: gentlemen hosts. They’re part of the staff and are charged with the responsibility of keeping women guests happy. “I’ve seen a few romances bloom there,” Meadows said.

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