When our friends, Lea Ann and Chuck, whom we met on a cruise in 2017 sailing from Sydney to Seattle, came to visit us while we were staying in The Villages in Florida, they were excited to share their enthusiasm about booking Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas Ultimate World Cruise.
Our mouths were agape when we heard they’d decided to embark on the nine-month cruise. We asked them endless questions while wondering if we’d ever want to commit to such an extended period on a cruise ship.
Although we revel in their enthusiasm, after they left, we talked, and both agreed we’d never be interested in such a long cruise. Nine months is a huge commitment, and for the following reasons, we wouldn’t be interested now or in the future:
- Cruising for so long could easily diminish our enthusiasm for cruising in the future. We love the anticipation of booking a cruise and the days and months before sailing when the excitement is at the forefront of our minds. For us, it would take away the mystery and magic of cruising.
- Living in such tight quarters for so long would not be easy for us. No, we don’t always use all the space available in a holiday home, usually only spending time in the bedroom, kitchen, and living room. But, being able to move around with ease and enjoying spaciousness is a huge part of our enjoyment. Cruise cabin space, even the balcony we always book, is limited and confining.
- Many of the ports world cruises visit are ports we’ve visited in the past. After all, we’ve been on 33 cruises, most with new and unfamiliar ports of call, many of which we wouldn’t be interested in visiting again.
- The food can become tedious and repetitious, besides often being fattening and unhealthy.
- The risk of getting sick when a captive audience for such an extended period is an issue for us. On at least half of our cruises, at least one of us, if not both, picked up a cold or virus, many lingering for weeks. Now, with COVID-19 and all its variants, we’d hesitate to embark on such a large ship for so many months. Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas, with a passenger capacity of 2476 plus 832 crew, is a breeding ground for many illnesses, especially when new passengers embark for the next leg of the journey at some ports, disembarking at the end of that leg. Plus, passengers can pick up an illness when they get off the ship for activities at various ports of call. When we were on the small boat in August 2023, Azamara Journey, with only a capacity of 702 passengers and a crew of 408, neither of us became ill.
- Cost: One would pay well over $117,599 (per person) for a balcony cabin. We wouldn’t be interested in an interior cabin with no windows, and those prices start at $59,900 (per person). Based on the above five points, it wouldn’t be worth paying such a sum for a long-term cruise.
Here’s an article from the New York Post about the cruise Lea Ann and Chuck are on right now, focusing on how many Gen Z passengers are participating:
“It’s been three years, and Royal Caribbean’s Ultimate World Cruise has finally set sail.
The epic nine-month-long holiday is a first-of-its-kind for the cruise liner, and they’re not surprised it’s gone viral on TikTok despite having hit the shores just over a week ago. (Related: Best cruise lines review).
“Many guests booked their tickets over two to three years ago during the pandemic, and we are thrilled to be hosting a range of guests from young solo travelers to couples and families,” Dave Humphreys, director of sales at Royal Caribbean International AUNZ, told news.com.au.
“We have an impressive number of Gen Z and millennial cruisers, with a significant number of guests between the ages of 18-30 joining us on various legs of this cruise.”
As the name suggests, it’s a pretty ‘ultimate’ experience, with the cruise traveling to more than 60 countries and 11 world wonders in 274 days.
The cruise is broken into four segments — Ultimate Americas Cruise, Ultimate Asia Pacific Cruise, Ultimate Middle East & Med Cruise, and Ultimate Europe & Beyond Cruise.
Depending on the destination and room you choose, prices can vary from $19,895 to $37,268 (per person)
But, if you want to do nine months, the price tag is much heftier. The cheapest is $88,000 for an interior stateroom and up to $1.2 million per person for a Royal Suite.
“Each guest who has booked the Ultimate World Cruise Package received business class airfare, premium transportation, and a pre-cruise hotel in their package up to $5892 per person,” Mr Humphreys said.
“The business class airfare applies to specific getaway cities. The package includes a beverage package, laundry services, inclusive gratuities, and a VOOM Surf and Stream package.”
TikTok has become inundated with passengers sharing their experiences, from the meals they’re eating, restaurants they’re visiting, and gym classes to glimpses of what their rooms look like and the entertainment and performances they’re attending.
“I am LIVING for your videos. Please, pretty, please don’t stop. Greedily. I will beg you to post more,” one viewer commented on a passenger’s ‘sea day in my life’ clip.
Mr. Humpreys said they also can’t wait to join some of these guests virtually along with the wider TikTok community.
“There will be 27,000 passengers on the various legs, of which over 600 are sailing for the full nine months,” he told news.com.au.
“We have almost 2,000 Australians joining us along the way, including 30 Aussies doing the full nine-month world cruise.”
He said guests were offered the flexibility to book one or more of the four expedition packages.
Mr. Humphreys described it as a “once-in-a-lifetime experience where guests can traverse the globe in one incredible journey.”It’s going to be epic.”
It’s fascinating to read about this and see Lea Ann and Chuck’s blog, which may be found here. We continue to see their updates and the sheer joy they are experiencing on this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Photo from ten years ago today, February 3, 2014: