P&O and Cunard recently announced their World cruise itineraries for 2017; indeed, cabins went on sale over the last few days. I don’t normally pay much attention to world cruises – they’re not my cup of tea – but I read a summary of the planned voyages and I was struck by the length of them. Aurora will spend 104 nights away, and Arcadia will take 114 nights. Then the Cunard trio will spend 118 nights (QM2) and 120 nights (Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth).
Those seemed to be very long voyages so I went back a few years and checked the duration of world cruises in the past. I see that in fact the forthcoming 2016 world cruises are about the same length – up to 120 days, especially for the Cunarders, but then I looked back a few more years and came across a post I did for 2011. There, I see references for voyages lasting around 80 nights or so; Admittedly, these were generally ‘Grand Voyages’ rather than circumnavigations, but when a Grand Voyage includes calls at ports in three or four continents, that’s plenty grand enough and deserves the accolade of a world cruise. However, even the true circumnavigations seemed to be just over 100 nights rather than 120.
So when did world cruises become such endurance events? And more significantly, why? The longer the cruise, the higher the price, so doing one of these longer complete world cruises will inevitably cost more it did a few years ago. Or is it that they want to sell sectors, and need more ports to make the sectors more competitive? If anyone has any theories I’d love to hear them.