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Both P&O and Cunard have announced the details of their world cruises for 2016. There’s some interesting stuff in there, especially from Cunard.

First, P&O. They’ve announced world cruises by Arcadia and Aurora. Arcadia will do a 115-night voyage around the Pacific (plus the two transatlantic crossings to get), via South America, Australasia, south-east Asia, and North America. The whole cruise will include two classic American experiences: rounding Cape Horn on the way out, with calls at Brazil, Uruguay and the Falkland Islands beforehand and the Chilean fjords afterwards; and, after a long run down the Pacific coast of North America, the transit of the Panama Canal on the way home.

Aurora will be doing a full west-bound circumnavigation, including a Panama canal transit (on the way out), a north to south crossing of the Pacific (from San Francisco to New Zealand), calls in south-east Asia, and returning round Africa rather than via the Suez canal. This voyage will last 114 nights.

Turning to Cunard now, all three of their ships will be doing world cruises. They’ve also scheduled in a couple of ‘3 Queens’ days, on the first and last days. So all three Cunarders will leave Southampton together (on 10 January) and return together (on 10 May). Queen Mary 2’s voyage will last for 120 nights as will the one for Queen Victoria, while Queen Elizabeth’s will be 121 nights long. How come the difference, if they’re leaving and returning together? – I think it’s a Phileas Fogg moment*, in that QM2 and QV, which are going westwards, both lose a day (they are also both doing full circumnavigations). Queen Elizabeth, however, is doing a Grand Voyage, around Africa to Australasia, East Asia, Southern Asia, and returning to Britain via the Mediterranean. As such she won’t be crossing the International Date Line.

I’m not sure I would ever want to do a full world cruise – for me, there are just too many days at sea. In the case of these voyages, that seems especially true of the P&O cruises: Arcadia will be calling at just 32 ports and Aurora will make 38 calls. (Note that I’m only counting actual stops – there are additional days on both cruises, and on the Cunard cruises, that feature ‘cruise by’ calls at, for example, the Chilean or New Zealand fjords.) The Cunard voyages are better: QM2 will make 45 actual port calls (plus some ‘cruise bys’) and QE will make 46 calls. QV will only make 38 calls, however.

What would be more attractive to me would be one of the busier sectors, and of these voyages there’s none busier than an interesting 20 night sector on Queen Elizabeth from Hong Kong back to Hong Kong, with calls at Shanghai (China, of course), Busan and Jeju Island (both South Korea), then Nagasaki, Kagoshima, Yokohama (for Tokyo), Osaka, Hiroshima, Okinawa (all Japan), and finally Keelung in Taiwan before the return to Hong Kong. Flights and overnight hotel stays before and afterwards bring it up to 22 nights, and unfortunately that rules it out for us while we’re still working, especially at that time of year. But that’s a cruise I would love to do, especially as we have family in Hong Kong whom we’ve never visited. One day, perhaps.

(* Phileas Fogg went eastwards so he gained a day, thus arriving back at the Reform Club 80 days after he’d left there but having actually spent 81 days travelling. QM2 and QV will have an inverse Phileas Fogg experience because they are going westwards and will lose a day.)

2 Responses to “Cunard and P&O World Cruises 2016”

  1. Solent Richard says:

    God morning Tom.

    Days at sea are part of cruising life and hence the attraction of World cruising.

    I recall on Aurora’s World Cruise in 2001 we did 8 consecutive sea days transmitting between Australia and Japan.

    And let’s face it, most west bound routes are going to entail a minimum of 5/6 nights in their Atlantic crossing.

    The bottom line is that it’s what cruising is all about.

    Have a nice day.

    Solent Richard.


    • Tom says:

      Thanks for the comment, Richard.

      I think I’m going to have to disagree with you on this one. Some people like that much time at sea, some don’t, and I’m pretty definitely in the latter group. I’m happy with a few sea days at the beginning of the cruise, but after that I’m itching to get ashore – I could never be one of those passengers who stay on board on the ship when in port. For me, it’s all about the itinerary, the ports of call; and less than 40 ports in the context of a 115-night cruise isn’t enough. But that’s just me; one of the great things about cruising is that there is a cruise to suit everyone, and I’m happy to accept that other people prefer different types of cruises from me.

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