Most of us are familiar with the typical cruise format of departing from one port and returning to that same port 3 to 10 days later. We may be vaguely aware that somewhere out there are ships sailing far beyond the familiar waters of the Caribbean, Hawaii, or Alaska. These ships dock in exotic ports on grand round-the-world journeys lasting a month or more. Until recent years, these epic voyages were the dominion of luxury cruise lines catering to people who didn’t need to mortgage their house to take that kind of trip. Medium-priced cruise lines have had a far greater appreciation for the money they can make ferrying sun seekers on endless loops to palm-covered islands. Until now.
Holland American, Princess, and Royal Caribbean are slowly venturing into the long-haul waters. By offering fares that fall below some people’s credit card limits, they are opening the door to people who never thought they could take that kind of vacation.
Yahoo Travel went in search of extended cruises priced under $10,000 per person and were surprised at the amazing journeys we found.
Santorini is just one of the 21 ports along Holland’s epic tour of the Mediterranean. (Photo: Thinkstock)
Holland’s Prisendam sets out on April 5 for a 31-day voyage beginning in Barcelona and ending in Rome. It stops in 21 ports before Rome, including Crete, Jerusalem, Istanbul, Athens, and Naples. A standard ocean-view cabin starts at $3,999 per person. With a rate of $8,999, even a suite doesn’t break the $10,000 price barrier.
Holland America’s Prinsendam cruise ship in Hamburg (Photo: imageBROKER/Alamy)
On May 6, the same ship leaves Rome bound for Amsterdam on a 28-day voyage of 19 ports, including Lisbon; Bordeaux; Portland, England; Hamburg; St. Petersburg; Stockholm; and Copenhagen. Ocean-view cabins start at only $2,999 and suites at $6,499.
If you have more time to explore, add these two cruises together for a 59-day cruise for as little as (drumroll) $6,998! It’s the journey of a lifetime for just over $100 per night per person.
Still not satisfied? The ship sails out of Amsterdam on June 3 for a 28-day round trip that includes Dublin, Galway, Ireland, Le Havre, Brussels, and eight ports in Norway. Prices for this one are a bit higher, but you can add this month for only $5,199 per person for an outside cabin.
Princess’s voyage from Asia to Africa has many great stops along the way, including Colombo, Sri Lanka where you can visit the beautiful beaches and an elephant orphanage. (Photo: Thinkstock)
The Ocean Princess sails from Singapore on April 3, visiting 11 ports in 32 days, including Myanmar, Mumbai, and Dubai, and ending in Cape Town. The price for an outside cabin is $5,499 per person.
The next leg sails from Cape Town on May 5, bound for London, via Tenerife, Casablanca, and Lisbon among its 12 stops in 30 days. The price per person for an ocean-view cabin starts at $3,999.
There is a discount for adding these two cruises together for a 62-night voyage. The combined rate is $9,099 per person.
The Sun Princess cruise ship off the coast of New Zealand. (Photo: KC Hunter/Alamy)
The Sun Princess offers several long voyages this year as round trips from either Sydney or Brisbane, visiting China, Japan, or the South Pacific. Prices start at $7,799 per person for an outside cabin on a 42-night adventure.
If you truly want to see the world and have the spare 106 nights to do it, try the Sea Princess sailing from Sydney on May 22 via Dubai, Athens, Venice, Rome, Barcelona, Paris, London, Dublin, Manhattan, Curaçao, the Panama Canal, Tahiti, and Auckland, New Zealand, just to name a few. The price tag jumps to $26,004 per person, but that is still far below the price of a comparable cruise on a luxury liner.
Combine the two Royal Caribbean cruises into one grand tour of Australia and South Asia including a stop in Phuket, Thailand. (Photo: Getty Images)
RCL breaks down their lengthy voyages into small chunks, but the savings are still the same. The ship Rhapsody of the Seas sails from Sydney to Singapore on April 17 with a 16-night journey that visits eight ports, including four in Australia and two in Indonesia. An outside cabin runs $1,915.
The next leg is 14 nights beginning on May 3, visiting Kuala Lumpur, Phuket, and Bombay among its nine stops and ending in Dubai. Outside cabin prices begin at $2,808 per person.
Add the two legs together and your price for a 30-day exotic cruise is $4,723 per person. If you still want more, Rhapsody next sails from Dubai to Istanbul via Israel and Greece.
Check out our original adventure travel series A Broad Abroad.