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Downshift and world cruise 2025


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We are a couple 53 me and spouse 46. I'm closing in on an early retirement or a downshift when I hit a certain date in late 2024.   Last year has made it clear we need to do the things we want to rather than staying on the hamster wheel indefinitely.  We've budgeted, but it is still intimidating, as we are very middle class. Looking at Crystal and Oceania due to a comparison of what is offered vs other lines. We also like HAL, but I like the idea of paying once for the majority of the costs.  Does this sound like a good idea?

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1 hour ago, CptBoatface said:

We are a couple 53 me and spouse 46. I'm closing in on an early retirement or a downshift when I hit a certain date in late 2024.   Last year has made it clear we need to do the things we want to rather than staying on the hamster wheel indefinitely.  We've budgeted, but it is still intimidating, as we are very middle class. Looking at Crystal and Oceania due to a comparison of what is offered vs other lines. We also like HAL, but I like the idea of paying once for the majority of the costs.  Does this sound like a good idea?

My dear wife and I are on the same path, but a year ahead of you, we are gonna downshift at the end of ‘22 and jump on the Viking world cruise. We think it is not only a good idea but a great idea. Life is too short to keep spinning.

 

I would recommend you look at them, on a per deim basis they are very similar cost as the others, but seem to offer more. the Viking loyal folks have a lot of good opinions and even better advice.


I also wrote a bit of why a world cruise and why Viking on my blog.

 

cheers

Daryl

viking23.com 

 

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This is good input. A bit scared that we are fiscally nuts. But I've learned that we regret more what we dont do,, than what we do.

 

Viking may be a very good choice. I had been thinking that it would only be 240 days or so and our fur family might be able to swing 120 toys or so

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5 hours ago, CptBoatface said:

We are a couple 53 me and spouse 46. I'm closing in on an early retirement or a downshift when I hit a certain date in late 2024.   Last year has made it clear we need to do the things we want to rather than staying on the hamster wheel indefinitely.  We've budgeted, but it is still intimidating, as we are very middle class. Looking at Crystal and Oceania due to a comparison of what is offered vs other lines. We also like HAL, but I like the idea of paying once for the majority of the costs.  Does this sound like a good idea?

 

This is a great time to start planning a World Cruise. I also retired early at 55 and have no regrets, best decision ever.

 

We have now completed 2 World Cruises  and have another one booked:

  • 2015 Princess - r/t Sydney (104 days)
  • 2020 Viking - L/A to London (118 days)
  • 2023 Viking - L/A to London (119 days)

I have posted daily blog posts on our travel blog and completed a number of comparisons between Princess & Viking. Please note our blog is not moneterised, so we gain no benefit from others checking our posts - www.AndyandJudi.com

 

On a Cruise Critic thread on the World Cruise Board, I also completed a comparison on per diem costs between the Princess & Viking WC's. While the Viking base price was significantly higher, at the end of the cruise the per day cost was virtually identical.

 

We spent 40 yrs with Princess, but the 2015 WC was so poor it was our last ever cruise with them. I embarked on a lengthy project to find a cruise line that met the majority of our needs. Note - it is unlikely any cruise line will meet all our preferences.

 

I started compiling a Statement of Requirements, a process you may wish to consider. Here is summary of what we wanted:

  • Cruise Direction - must be mostly Westbound
  • Space ratio - Gross tonnage/max passengers (provides an approximation of how much space per pax). Preference was > 50, but must be > 40
  • Pax count - preference was 750 - 1250. Less restricts entertainment options, more is too big
  • Dress code - We enjoy formal nights, but these days on most cruise lines it is a sham. When I worked cruise ships, every evening was formal (no exceptions). However, with the relaxed standards, we are happy with smart casual, provided it is enforced
  • Dining - our preference is traditional, although this was one we had to forgo
  • Casino - Definitely  not interested
  • Kids - Not interested
  • Photogs - Not interested
  • Art Auctions - Not interested
  • Inches of gold sales - Not interested
  • Entertainment - quality show/performance each evening. Not interested in wacky pool games, marriage shows, etc. Local cultural entertainers brought onboard in a number of ports
  • Trivia - yes
  • Lectures - quality lectures
  • Pricing - mostly all-inclusive
  • Laundry - self service machines available
  • Ports - a number of ports with 1 or 2 nights alongside. Also reasonable times alongside in most ports.
  • Meals - quality meals, with specialty restaurants included
  • Cabin Service - included
  • Visa service - preference, if included
  • Flights - must be Business/First Class and included
  • Transfers - preference if pre/post included 
  • Wifi - preference if included 

Once we completed that exercise we then compared our requirements with all Premium/Luxury Lines, short-listing to Viking & Oceania. The food on Oceania is reportedly the best, but we didn't like the WC ship - too small and too old, and Oceania is also owned by a Mega ship company, which for us is a negative. The Oceania WC also spent a good portion of their WC heading Eastbound.

 

Therefore, for us, Viking was a fairly comfortable winner. However, that was based on our requirements and everyone is different, so I encourage you to complete a similar exercise.

 

Note - regarding Crystal. They are now owned by Genting of HK, who stopped making payments on their debt about July/August 2020. They also own shipyards in Germany that are building their new ships and the yards required a significant grant from the German Govt to keep the doors open. Reading the Crystal Board, many pax have been waiting over a year for refunds. Might want to check out how solvent they are before considering them for a cruise. 

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Greetings from someone who's pretty much in the same place - retiring in 7 weeks!

 

I have a slightly different perspective, and certainly less experience with cruise lines, but here are my thoughts regarding our upcoming world cruise (on Princess):

 

First, my experience is limited to a half a dozen cruise lines and about 40 or so cruises, all of them "main stream" cruise lines.  I have not taken a more upscale cruise - I am certain that the level of service and amenities on those ships is impressive.  I'll also say that, while my cruise experiences has been varied, I've never had a "bad" cruise and have been generally happy with the price-point that Ive selected.  I am sure that if your are paying $500+ per day per person, you will be (and should be) wowed by the overall experience.

 

My thoughts on the previous list of considerations:

Direction - westbound is by far preferred; a complete world cruise that goes east would necessitate 24 hours of lost sleep!

Space/Pax - more intimate would certainly be preferred.  My research showed that none of the newer Mega-ships do world cruises, but you may see ships with 2,000 - 2,500 pax. Not a major concern for me.

Dress/dining - my wife and I certainly prefer to dress for dinner, though anyone who has cruised for the last 10-20 years will have seen a marked drop off in the expectations from most cruise lines in this area; again - a preferred criterion, but not a major concern.

Casino - I certainly enjoy spending time here (with a fixed bankroll), but I'm also aware that a world cruise is totally different from a week in the Caribbean - this is not much of a factor for me.

Kids - I really think this isn't much of an issue on a world cruise - it's pretty unlikely even the mainstream lines will have more than maybe a couple of  families with kids on a cruise that's 100+ days... (many of the lines, however, do sell parts of their world cruises in segments, so this might be seen on some segments...)

Photos / Art / Stores - My wife enjoys walking through the ship stores, but we certainly don't need any more photos or art - and I would think that all 3 of these area would have limited long-term appeal to PAX who are on a ship for months and months - I don't need/want any of these, but they're not major considerations for me.

Entertainment / Trivia / Lectures - All three of these seem to me to be much more important considerations when you're on a ship for many months.  As a nerd who read the entire tour books for each port we visit, I'm not as hung up on lectures as some others (though I have read that the lectures on more upscale ships are often amazing).  All 3 of these would be a plus, but not a huge factor in my decision.

Laundry - Self-serve laundry is a huge plus; room-service laundry + dry cleaning that is included in the price would be very nice, though I'm not sure how much more I'd pay for that to be included.  I'm guessing that if it's not included, I'd probably pay a few hundred dollars over the course of our cruise to launder that stuff that we could not do ourselves.

Ports / Sea days - If you look at the map for a world cruise, some stretches of sea days are not really avoidable (ex:-crossing the Pacific).  Most of the cruises I researched had about a 50/50 mix of port days and sea days - you could generally expect maybe 50 ports in a cruise of 110-120 days.  I'm fine with that mix, but others may want to maximize the port time for their cruise.  ( I totally agree that the actual time in a port is also sometimes overlooked when you're choosing - we've had stops at ports for example that go from ~8AM - ~1 PM; that's not particularly leisurely or enjoyable).

Meals / Specialty Restaurants - Not really a major factor for us - in the half a dozen cruise lines we're been on the specialty restaurants are sometimes amazing and other times less impressive than the main dining rooms.  If they aren't included and we chose to go to one week (over 16 weeks), we'd add ~$1,000 to our total out of pocket bill.

Cabin service - this does vary by line.  MSC, for example, does not include free cabin service for it's base fair cabins, other cruise lines have a very reduced menu, other lines may have nearly a full menu for room service.  This is a nice service, but not a major factor for us.

Visa Service / Included flights / Transfers - These are all great amenities, but like many other items they are  certainly factored into the price of the cruise fare on higher-end lines.  

WiFi - This is a bigger factor for me, since my wife will be "working" on vacation and needs an Internet connection that we would otherwise have to pay out of pocket for; on a world cruise that could come to as much as $1,000.

Service Charge - Mainstream lines have a daily service charge these days that's ~$30+/day per couple.  for a 100+ day cruise this is a real expense - if this is included as an amenity, that's a welcome perk since I would have had to pay it out of pocket.

Price - this is a major consideration for me.  The Princess cruise, for example, will cost us ~$47,000 (per couple) for 112 days in an ocean-view cabin (almost exactly $200 / per day per person). The package we booked includes Wifi, drinks, and service fees (tips), along with a small OBC (~$1,000 I think) and a few specialty dinners as well.  A comparable Viking cruise (already sold out for 2023 by the way...!) would start at ~$100,000 per couple - (around $500 per person per day) while including nearly all of the possible amenities listed above.  If those were all items that you would have paid for anyway, it's probably a comparable price point for a much nicer cruise experience.  If, on the other hand, there are things that are not important to you, you are paying for them regardless on a higher-end cruise line.

My personal opinion is that I could take 2 world cruises for ~$100K, other people, however, would much rather spend the money for a more upscale experience - totally understandable.  I'm certainly not criticizing anyone else's choice(s) - these are just my thoughts on our world cruise.

~Bob

 

 

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5 hours ago, vp1 said:

Greetings from someone who's pretty much in the same place - retiring in 7 weeks!

 

I have a slightly different perspective, and certainly less experience with cruise lines, but here are my thoughts regarding our upcoming world cruise (on Princess):

 

First, my experience is limited to a half a dozen cruise lines and about 40 or so cruises, all of them "main stream" cruise lines.  I have not taken a more upscale cruise - I am certain that the level of service and amenities on those ships is impressive.  I'll also say that, while my cruise experiences has been varied, I've never had a "bad" cruise and have been generally happy with the price-point that Ive selected.  I am sure that if your are paying $500+ per day per person, you will be (and should be) wowed by the overall experience.

 

My thoughts on the previous list of considerations:

Direction - westbound is by far preferred; a complete world cruise that goes east would necessitate 24 hours of lost sleep!

Space/Pax - more intimate would certainly be preferred.  My research showed that none of the newer Mega-ships do world cruises, but you may see ships with 2,000 - 2,500 pax. Not a major concern for me.

Dress/dining - my wife and I certainly prefer to dress for dinner, though anyone who has cruised for the last 10-20 years will have seen a marked drop off in the expectations from most cruise lines in this area; again - a preferred criterion, but not a major concern.

Casino - I certainly enjoy spending time here (with a fixed bankroll), but I'm also aware that a world cruise is totally different from a week in the Caribbean - this is not much of a factor for me.

Kids - I really think this isn't much of an issue on a world cruise - it's pretty unlikely even the mainstream lines will have more than maybe a couple of  families with kids on a cruise that's 100+ days... (many of the lines, however, do sell parts of their world cruises in segments, so this might be seen on some segments...)

Photos / Art / Stores - My wife enjoys walking through the ship stores, but we certainly don't need any more photos or art - and I would think that all 3 of these area would have limited long-term appeal to PAX who are on a ship for months and months - I don't need/want any of these, but they're not major considerations for me.

Entertainment / Trivia / Lectures - All three of these seem to me to be much more important considerations when you're on a ship for many months.  As a nerd who read the entire tour books for each port we visit, I'm not as hung up on lectures as some others (though I have read that the lectures on more upscale ships are often amazing).  All 3 of these would be a plus, but not a huge factor in my decision.

Laundry - Self-serve laundry is a huge plus; room-service laundry + dry cleaning that is included in the price would be very nice, though I'm not sure how much more I'd pay for that to be included.  I'm guessing that if it's not included, I'd probably pay a few hundred dollars over the course of our cruise to launder that stuff that we could not do ourselves.

Ports / Sea days - If you look at the map for a world cruise, some stretches of sea days are not really avoidable (ex:-crossing the Pacific).  Most of the cruises I researched had about a 50/50 mix of port days and sea days - you could generally expect maybe 50 ports in a cruise of 110-120 days.  I'm fine with that mix, but others may want to maximize the port time for their cruise.  ( I totally agree that the actual time in a port is also sometimes overlooked when you're choosing - we've had stops at ports for example that go from ~8AM - ~1 PM; that's not particularly leisurely or enjoyable).

Meals / Specialty Restaurants - Not really a major factor for us - in the half a dozen cruise lines we're been on the specialty restaurants are sometimes amazing and other times less impressive than the main dining rooms.  If they aren't included and we chose to go to one week (over 16 weeks), we'd add ~$1,000 to our total out of pocket bill.

Cabin service - this does vary by line.  MSC, for example, does not include free cabin service for it's base fair cabins, other cruise lines have a very reduced menu, other lines may have nearly a full menu for room service.  This is a nice service, but not a major factor for us.

Visa Service / Included flights / Transfers - These are all great amenities, but like many other items they are  certainly factored into the price of the cruise fare on higher-end lines.  

WiFi - This is a bigger factor for me, since my wife will be "working" on vacation and needs an Internet connection that we would otherwise have to pay out of pocket for; on a world cruise that could come to as much as $1,000.

Service Charge - Mainstream lines have a daily service charge these days that's ~$30+/day per couple.  for a 100+ day cruise this is a real expense - if this is included as an amenity, that's a welcome perk since I would have had to pay it out of pocket.

Price - this is a major consideration for me.  The Princess cruise, for example, will cost us ~$47,000 (per couple) for 112 days in an ocean-view cabin (almost exactly $200 / per day per person). The package we booked includes Wifi, drinks, and service fees (tips), along with a small OBC (~$1,000 I think) and a few specialty dinners as well.  A comparable Viking cruise (already sold out for 2023 by the way...!) would start at ~$100,000 per couple - (around $500 per person per day) while including nearly all of the possible amenities listed above.  If those were all items that you would have paid for anyway, it's probably a comparable price point for a much nicer cruise experience.  If, on the other hand, there are things that are not important to you, you are paying for them regardless on a higher-end cruise line.

My personal opinion is that I could take 2 world cruises for ~$100K, other people, however, would much rather spend the money for a more upscale experience - totally understandable.  I'm certainly not criticizing anyone else's choice(s) - these are just my thoughts on our world cruise.

~Bob

 

 

 

Having completed a WC on both Princess & Viking I can compare the total costs per day. Our comparisons were completed in comparible cabins - both balcony and midships. Viking has no OV or Inside cabins, so if booking one of those cabins, the daily price on Princess should be lower.

 

Cost comparison based on our actual experience - Viking was about $60K (119 nights) and Princess was about $36K (104 nights), but by the end of the cruise, when all bills were totalled, the actual daily cost was virtually identical. 

 

Are you doing Princess R/T L/A or R/T Sydney, as I believe Princess is now using the Island & Coral for WC's. Back in the day when we actually enjoyed Princess, they were 2 of our favourite ships. Sadly Carnival ruined the Island by removing the aft lounge & kid's area and building a whole host of additional cabins back aft. Totally ruined the ship and caused a huge uproar. Plans for the next Coral drydocking were scrapped and she was never modified.

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I remember on Oceania Insignia WC 2015 ported in Papette watching a block long line on a Princess ship waiting to board.  Princess ships too big for WCs. Would not work for me, hate lines                          . Also on my last Princess TA, food marginal.                                                                                                           I now have 130 days on Oceania.  On above O WC my total on board bill was $2.64 for a magnet.          Did one Holland cruise in Caribbean yrs. ago. I counted 23 wheelchairs walkers outside MDR. Food also marginal. Cruisers were not nice to me or BF. They kept asking me why I was not married.                         Can only speak for the wonderful SMALL ships of O and her casual elegance. 70% of passengers are repeats. I hear great things about Viking too. Was booked on cancelled 2021 O WC with best itin. ever. Waiting for 2024 to come out. 

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6 hours ago, zoncom said:

I remember on Oceania Insignia WC 2015 ported in Papette watching a block long line on a Princess ship waiting to board.  Princess ships too big for WCs. Would not work for me, hate lines                          . Also on my last Princess TA, food marginal.                                                                                                           I now have 130 days on Oceania.  On above O WC my total on board bill was $2.64 for a magnet.          Did one Holland cruise in Caribbean yrs. ago. I counted 23 wheelchairs walkers outside MDR. Food also marginal. Cruisers were not nice to me or BF. They kept asking me why I was not married.                         Can only speak for the wonderful SMALL ships of O and her casual elegance. 70% of passengers are repeats. I hear great things about Viking too. Was booked on cancelled 2021 O WC with best itin. ever. Waiting for 2024 to come out. 

 

We had a similar experience in Bay of Islands with an RCI ship. We were on a private tour with pax from both the Viking & RCI ships.

 

We dropped the RCI pax at their tender pier and they had a huge queue waiting to get on tenders. Once we arrived at the Viking pier, we walked right on a tender. The RCI ship was due to sail 1/2 hr before us, but was still tendering as we steamed by.

 

On the 2020 Viking WC, since we missed a number of ports, we received over a US $ 5K refund from our onboard account. In 2023, since we have over CAN $10K in OBC, I don't expect to have any bill post cruise.

 

I read the 2023 O WC sold out the day it was posted. Impressive.

 

 

Edited by Heidi13
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On 5/2/2021 at 5:02 PM, CptBoatface said:

We are a couple 53 me and spouse 46. I'm closing in on an early retirement or a downshift when I hit a certain date in late 2024.   Last year has made it clear we need to do the things we want to rather than staying on the hamster wheel indefinitely.  We've budgeted, but it is still intimidating, as we are very middle class. Looking at Crystal and Oceania due to a comparison of what is offered vs other lines. We also like HAL, but I like the idea of paying once for the majority of the costs.  Does this sound like a good idea?

 

Captain Boat Face, I retired through a buy-out offer at 53 and have never regretted it one minute.  It was the gift of time.  You can always make more money, but you can't make more time.  The first week into my retirement, I started a list of things that I wanted to do with the retirement.  In 17 years I have accomplished many of them and I keep adding to the list.  A world cruise has been on the list.

 

With almost 50 cruises under my belt, I have a pretty good idea of what my cruising needs are - and after several long distance motorcycle trips where I camped out about half the time, my actual needs are pretty simple.  I also like to stretch the cruise dollar and don't care to spend on "all inclusives" drink packages, or amenities that I won't use.  When She Who Must Be Obeyed travels with me, I book a balcony because she uses it as her private sanctuary.  When I cruise alone, I book an inside and save $$$.

 

I said all of that to say this.  After much research and putting the pencil to it, I booked a World Cruise on P&O.  My cost per day for an inside with the single supplement is around $230.  I have found that I don't spend much time on the balcony when I book a balcony cabin, so why pay and extra $200-300 per day for less than an hour on the balcony?

 

It's really all a matter of what fits your needs.  Even a bad day at sea is better than a good day at the office.

 

Bon Voyage!

 

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I took the 2016 WC on Crystal just after I retired, and was very pleased with it. They do a superb job with the on-board experience, which matters on a world cruise because the nature of geography is such that you wind up with quite a few sea days in a row at times. And it is very nice to not have to pull out a card or sign things out because pretty much all but the excursions, shops and spa are included. 

 

As noted above, Crystal's parent company is having financial problems, and Crystal's refund record for Covid has been among the worst in the industry. That being said, they have been catching up on refunds in the last couple of months, and issuing multiple apologies for the recent past.

 

I am booked on the 2022 world cruise--booked well before Covid. We will see what happens there. By the time you are ready to book which lines have survived will be clearer.

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23 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

I believe Princess is now using the Island & Coral for WC's. 

 

Cruise Industry News, in the current issue, published an article that indicated that Coral Princess will be doing a World Cruise from Australia and that Island Princess will be sailing a World Cruise from the West Coast.

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This is true, we are a bit early in the recoveryto know who'll be left standing but hope to find something to match the 2023 trip itinerary.  Also, I'd like to write the Huge check (will likely be more than the home purchase in 1995) and not continue to add large amounts to the bill. Wife is cordon Bleu trained and we do like great food, so that will be a consideration. 

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