Forbes by: Debbi Kickham
March 12, 2022
cruise • travel • media
Shorter cruises? News Flash: They’re sinking in popularity.
In fact, there is a trend right now for extended cruises, which are growing in favor, says Jonathan Phillips, a Virtuoso travel advisor at Cassis Travel Services based in Phoenix, Ariz. “People have been cooped up for too long with Covid, and are not interested in 9-10-day cruises…Cruise lines are giving fantastic savings on combination back-to-back cruises. You can see the Eastern and Western Mediterranean on 30-day cruises and not repeat any ports.”
Mary Jean Tully, another top luxury travel advisor and owner of Tully Luxury Travel, in Toronto, agrees. “Especially due to Covid, people definitely want to make longer trips — they just want to be away after going through all this hassle. They desire to settle in for an extended time as they feel that they missed out for over two years. World cruises can span anywhere from 105 days to 150 days and surprisingly, the majority of them are completely full already for next year and for 2024.”
Here’s another reason why extended cruises are on the upswing: When booking a cruise, many people often choose a 10- or 12-day itinerary. My husband Bill and I have taken numerous cruises, and have found that the following is what typically happens on a cruise of that approximate length: You arrive on your ship, exhausted from the “travail” of air travel, and collapse for at least one day. It then takes you two or three additional days to acclimate yourself to the ship, and get your bearings. Then, about four days into the cruise – you’ll get the request for “Mid-cruise Comments” – and soon after, your disembark notice arrives. That is not the relaxed, rejuvenating experience typically sought in a cruise. It doesn’t translate to: “Unwind.”
After years of taking shorter trips – and meeting seasoned World Cruisers who told us that even four months at sea still isn’t enough – my husband Bill and I finally decided to “take the plunge” and give a longer trip a try and booked a 33-day cruise on Regent Seven Seas Cruises, on one of its luxury all-suite, all-balcony ships, the Mariner. We were especially curious, like many cruisers NOT having cruised for two years due to Covid, and couldn’t wait to get a healthy dose of Vitamin Sea. We chose Regent Seven Seas Cruises, because in the opinion of many travel experts – Regent is among, if not perhaps the world’s best, small-ship luxury cruise lines. Regent is an all-inclusive, award-winning cruise line, meaning that all alcohol (top-shelf) is included, along with shore excursions and a wealth of other extras (including free Business Class airfare on some bookings). Many industry professionals would say that Regent Seven Seas Cruises is the Rolls-Royce of rest-and-relaxation.
I spoke with Lori Foster, owner of Dream Vacations Luxury Travel Associates in San Clemente, who is a member of Travel Leaders, an association of top travel advisors. She told me: “I love Regent. The fact that they are truly all-inclusive — every luxury is included from fine dining, excursions and even airfare. It is a luxury cruise line, but it’s not stuffy or formal — it’s relaxed elegance. They are family-friendly and allow children onboard, perfect for multi-generational travel – another notable trend now.”
We asked ourselves: Would we run out of things to do? Would it be difficult to be away from home so long? Would the onboard experience lose its luster after two weeks or so? The answer to these questions is a resounding “No.” We discovered that even 33 days at sea, still isn’t enough time to take it all in – the “it” being the stellar service and posh, peel-me-a-grape pampering that Regent proved itself famous for. In fact, three weeks into the trip, we had still yet to discover the crackling fireplace in the Library, the iced Italian frappes in the Coffee Connection, and the sweet dessert wine that was complimentary. During our last week of the trip, we were still trying to experience more than the ship offered: Free Excursions. Daily Trivia at 4:30. Classes in the gym. Lavish dinners in the specialty restaurants. Great performances in the Constellation Theater. Star-gazing at night. And so much more, with plenty of time for rest-and-relaxation. On shorter cruises, if you’re like us, you try to do everything in a compressed period of time – and wind up more busy and harried, than de-stressed.
Follow us on social media
Visit us on YouTube