As the departure countdown begins, use these expert-vetted tips for your multimonth cruise.
It’s a dream trip: sailing around the world on a cruise ship, unpacking only once, and embarking on a three-to-six-month continent-hopping, ocean-crossing jaunt. While travelers are exploring the world, they’re also settling into a new onboard life (call it a second home, maybe?), making friends, picking up new hobbies, and never worrying about what’s for dinner.
“There are many, many reasons to get excited about a world cruise,” Virtuoso advisor Ruth Turpin says. “Not only do you see some of the most interesting places in the world, but you do so in luxury, while making lifelong friends. World cruisers have a special camaraderie that only gets stronger throughout the trip.”
Booking a world cruise is usually no spontaneous decision – it’s an investment, with a list of logistics that includes everything from securing visas to fitting four months into two suitcases. But the payoff – seeing the world, waking up in a new place every day – is worth it. With the right prep work, you’ll be ready for the trip of a lifetime.
Here, Virtuoso travel advisors share their best planning, prepping, and packing advice.
“World cruises have become so sought-after that you need to start booking two years in advance,” Virtuoso advisor CJ White says. And naturally, the best cabins go first. This is going to be your home for several months, so consider a suite upgrade or even taking two adjoining cabins. Says White: “You can use one as a dressing room – and you’ll have two bathrooms.”
Depending on the itinerary, inoculations may be required. Share plans with your physician and set up any necessary vaccination appointments.
Many countries require entry visas, and obtaining them involves sending in your passport or filling out electronic applications. “Each visa has its own timeline, so I keep a calendar checklist for these to discuss with my client in order to make sure they’re taken care of,” Turpin says. Now is also the time to look into travel insurance if not already mandated by the cruise line – your advisor can help.
Most doctors will only prescribe 90 days’ worth of medication; to secure prescriptions for longer, travelers must work with their insurers to extend the timeline.
Most cruise lines offer free luggage shipping before sailing. “This also offers a way to send ship clothes home during the cruise, to make room for purchases,” Turpin says.
With free Wi-Fi included in most world cruises, many travelers take advantage of Internet-based apps such as Skype and WhatsApp to stay in touch with loved ones back home.
“It’s a job to get ready,” says Virtuoso advisor Carlo Hilliard. “Now it’s time to board and be pampered, entertained, and spoiled.”
Leaving your house for three to four months requires just as much prep as getting ready for the actual cruise. Make sure to take care of these tasks before jetting off:
- Discontinue or freeze newspaper delivery.
- Suspend mail delivery and arrange to have it picked up from the post office monthly.
- Board pets or secure pet sitters.
- Arrange for a friend or service to check on your home periodically.
- Install a home lighting system that will alternate between on and off for security.
- Notify the police of your absence if you’ll be gone for five or more months.