Around the world in 84 days

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Remember that joke, voted the funniest of this year’s Edinburgh Fringe? “”I’ve just been on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday. I’ll tell you what, never again,” quipped Tim Vine.
There’s another gag in similar vein, about a couple who return from a round-the-world cruise, to be asked “Where are you going next?”
The 1,700 or so passengers boarding Oriana in Southampton today could become the butt of both jokes, because they were setting off on a world cruise.
In September, I hear you ask. Surely world cruises set off in January and don’t return home until April? That’s the normal rule, but P&O are making an exception with this 84-night voyage, and the gamble appears to have paid off handsomely.
A third of those embarking today will be on board for the full cruise; another third will be undertaking long cruises to or from Australasia – such as 49-nights from Auckland to Southampton; and the balance will join the ship at intervals for two or three week holidays on sectors of the itinerary.
Oriana will call at 28 ports in 19 countries; it heads first to Madeira and then across the Atlantic to the Panama Canal and on into the Pacific. From San Francisco the cruise calls at Hawaii, New Zealand and Australia, then the Philippines, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore, Mumbai, and Sharm el Sheik. Another canal transit, through the Suez, leads to Athens and Lisbon before the ship returns to Southampton on December 17.
During the voyage, passengers will be entertained by Gary Wilmot, comedians Les Dennis and Roy Walker, singer Matt Monro, 60s beat group The Merseys, and a brace of O’Connors – Des and Tom. Lionel Blair will even be hosting tap dancing classes.
P&O believe the popularity of the cruise demonstrates the growing popularity of what they describe as the “grey gap-year”, with over-65s and early retirers eager to follow the example set by their student kids, and to grab an opportunity to take time out for extended travel.
Managing director Carol Marlow said: “A world cruise is the ultimate extended holiday experience and we are seeing increased demand for the full trip not only from regular cruisers but also from first timers looking for a different, once in a lifetime experience.
“Our passenger research has shown that the grown-up gap year is becoming increasingly popular as people evaluate their lives and recognise the value of seeing the world and revisiting the must-see destinations. Oriana’s autumn departure has been a popular choice, arriving home in time for Christmas.”
I hope the families of those on the cruise are looking forward to finding some exotic presents in their Christmas stockings this year. Anyone fancy a boomerang?

By | 2010-09-23T19:55:09+00:00 23 September 2010|Cruise destinations, Cruise news|0 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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