The world cruise market is certainly having its time in the limelight, and that light doesn't appear to be dimming anytime soon. In 2021, Princess Cruises' world cruise became the fastest-selling cruise in the company's history. In January of 2022, Oceania opened up bookings for its 2023 world cruise and sold out in 24 hours. This year, the 132-night world cruise from Regent Seven Seas Mariner and the 180-day "around-the-world" voyage from Oceania Cruises (both sailing in 2024) each sold out in under 3 hours!
Now, other cruise lines are getting in on the action, with Royal Caribbean International's upcoming December 2023 first world cruise offering a massive 274 nights. At this rate, it won't be long before cruise lines offer a year-long voyage, or even longer. In fact, there are already people who choose to live on a cruise ship, and many others enjoy "cruise-hopping" from one line and itinerary to another.
That begs the question-- are around-the-world cruises considered more of an extended vacation? Or is it a travel lifestyle choice that people are embracing? First, though, let's delve into why people are yearning for such longer voyages.
The Appeal of a World Cruise
What is it that people love the most about around-the-world cruises? Seeing the world is of course high on the list, with some cruises even visiting all seven continents. Many dedicated long-term cruisers also praise the fact that with these extended itineraries all you have to do is unpack once as the journey begins. In this scenario, there's none of the constant stress of switching hotels, transiting through airports, and running for connecting flights that traditional multi-stage travel involves (made even more challenging if your aim is to maintain certain travel criteria such as business class airfare).
But then there's also the delicious international cuisine that changes with every destination. Or perhaps it’s the endless array of shore excursions and activities to explore and discover. Maybe you'd love meeting like-minded travelers from around the world and sharing experiences with them. There are a multitude of other benefits that around-the-world travel itineraries can offer.
Undoubtedly, one of the greatest attractions of world cruises is all the incredible places you get to visit around the globe. World cruises embark from many cruise port cities worldwide, and it's fairly likely that you're a reasonable drive or plane ride away from at least one. Some of the most popular are:
- San Francisco
- Cape Town
- New York
- Fort Lauderdale
- Los Angeles
- Rio De Janeiro
It's not unusual for a world cruise to visit many of these cities as they cruise across the Atlantic, Indian Ocean and South Pacific. You can also visit several other smaller countries such as Costa Rica and such faraway lands as the Falkland Islands off the coast of South America and Easter Island in the middle of the Pacific. Some will stop off at multiple ports in Southeast Asia, Middle East and South America, even passing through the Panama Canal.
But despite all that, these extended world cruises have their downsides also. Will they allow you time for in-depth exploration of such iconic landmarks as the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal, Machu Picchu or the Amazon River? It's rather unlikely, because world cruises schedules are limited-- they need to get back to their home port in order to start the next cruise (and then the next) to maximize their passenger revenue and overall profit.
The Downsides of a World Cruise
Limited Time for Experiencing Ports
Cruise ships have to stick to a strict itinerary and schedule to ensure they remain on budget and do not clog up ports. This means that the liners stay at a port for hours, or perhaps if they are lucky, overnight. As a result, cruise passengers have limited time to explore their port destinations (and if they push their luck with time, they risk missing the boat). So, while global voyages are taking you to incredible stops like New York, Cabo San Lucas or Papua New Guinea, are you really experiencing these places?
The "Day Tripper" Issue
The other point of contention with these rushed port stops is the "day tripper" label. Several port cities' residents and local governments around the world are increasingly getting tired of tourists entering their city just for the day. Instead of benefiting the locals with tourist dollars, they clog up the streets with traffic and spend little to no money while snapping off their selfies and "ticking boxes." Cruise lines are a significant part of this problem, and it is becoming such an issue that cities such as Venice and Amsterdam are limiting the amount of tourists and/or banning cruise ships altogether.
Crowds and Competition
Another aspect of cruises which frequently makes the headlines is the crowds onboard. Such high capacity creates competition, whether it's the extensive queues for the buffet or the inconvenient practice of having to reserve lounge chairs by the pool at the crack of dawn. For many people, this crowding and competition for resources can activate the "fight-or-flight" response in their nervous system and make them feel anxious and confrontational for much or all of the trip-- the exact opposite of the feeling you want when on vacation.
But don't fret; there are other options out there where you do not have to deal with these pain points.
The Advent of the Residential Ship
At Storylines, we created a luxury residential ship that continuously circumnavigates the globe. Envision a life where you can savor the exotic travel experiences you've always wanted without the time constraints or limitations of world cruises — all of it from the comfort of your own home. You can travel the world permanently (without having to continuously unpack) or just come and go as you please, rendezvousing with the ship wherever in the world it may be.
You have endless options for how to spend your days on board:
- Dining from a variety of top-tier restaurants
- Activities ranging from pickle ball to temping bowling to on-deck yoga sessions
- Entertainment including live shows and an outdoor cinema on deck
- Fitness center including gym, wellness and longevity clinic
- Watersports, with equipment provided such as scuba gear, paddle boards and jet skis
There are also classes to take, experiential travel opportunities, and new hobbies to explore such as brewing your own beer!
The Storylines lifestyle has all the benefits of an around-the-world cruise without many of those pesky drawbacks, plus you get to enjoy it surrounded by all the comforts of home. The ship's resident passenger count equates to about one third the capacity of a regular cruise ship, and as your fellow travelers are residents themselves, the vibe is definitely more "community" than "competition".
It is a lifestyle that redefines travel as you know it, and it can be yours.
The Storylines Difference: The Ultimate World Cruise
To be accurate, Storylines is not a cruise-- it’s a lifestyle. Here are some of the reasons why:
The Storylines global travel experience is different from a traditional cruise around the world, where you often miss out on more immersive travel experiences due to the limited time in port. Instead, your "floating home" travels around the world approximately every three years (rather than every few months), allowing enough time to spend an average of three days — even up to five days — in global destinations, from cosmopolitan locales to rustic villages or an ancient city. (Check out a sample itinerary here.)
Your home travels the world on a voyage to the most exotic, awe-inspiring ports of call, from the pebble-strewn beaches of Sicily to the gleaming white windmills of Mykonos. Once there, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy glorious days and thrilling nights as you discover new lands and diverse cultures on your own schedule before embarking on your next unforgettable journey.
Take a dance class from locals. Go deep sea fishing all day then prepare your fresh-catch for dinner with friends in the evening. Do a family excursion during the day and then a date night on the town, just the two of you. The choice is yours...always.
Forget the slow, overpriced internet, the laundry service charges, the pricey bar tabs, or anything else that you’ll find on the average vacation cruise designed to separate you from your money. Your luxury travel lifestyle with Storylines is all-inclusive, which means there’s no need to worry about extra expenses on board. With meals and drinks in 20 unique dining and bar concepts that serve the finest international cuisines, activities and entertainment, housekeeping and laundry, fitness and sports equipment... your annual all-inclusive living fees cover everything you need to live the life of luxury you’ve always imagined.
It’s About Community:
On a typical cruise, people can be reluctant to get to know their fellow travelers because it’s so unlikely that a lasting bond will form, or they make friends only to never see them again. The Storylines lifestyle, however, is not a typical cruise. Think of it as a floating neighborhood of like-minded adventurers where people want to meet each other, share their knowledge and experiences, and forge positive lasting relationships.
On Storylines' MV Narrative residential ship, you won’t see strangers coming and going every week; instead, you’ll see familiar faces and warm smiles. You’ll know them because they’re your neighbors. You’ll bump into them at the market and make plans for dinner and a show or listen to each other’s stories after an exciting day of adventures-- it's what a true community looks like when traveling the world and living alongside friends.
All the Comforts of Home:
Grab a bike and ride around town, then head home to get some work done from your home office. Try that great chicken tikka masala recipe you found online by heading over to one of our many resident kitchens. Drop in on an impromptu art class then stop by the spa before heading back home and finishing that great book on your balcony as the sun slowly sets. This is life now. You’re home.
Redefining World Travel and a New Way to Live Life to the Fullest
If you don’t want to wait until retirement to be able to travel for more than a few days at a time, residential travel may be the perfect fit for you. The MV Narrative is designed to accommodate residents at various stages of life, from the young working professional to families dedicated to giving their kids a global education to retirees wanting to spend their golden years in comfort and style. High speed internet is found through the entire ship to stay connected with business interests and loved ones on land, and residents can invite family or friends to join the adventure at any of our port stops so they share a bit of the Storylines global lifestyle.
Storylines was created so the modern traveler can have it all and not have to wait to live the globe-trotting lifestyle of their dreams. For more information or to speak with one of our residential advisors, click here.