Once it was one of the most popular, highly sought-after itinerary – the grand world cruise which traversed the globe in more than 100 days.

Today, with international borders still restricted, access to attractive ports limited and airline travel uncertain, major cruise lines including Cunard, Princess and Holland America Line have decided to pause their grand voyages next year.

There are two exceptions – Viking Cruises is going ahead with its 136-day, world cruise visiting 27 countries and 56 ports in 2021, after cancelling the world cruise this year.

Viking’s epic journey on the 930-passenger, Viking Star will depart Fort Lauderdale in Florida on December 24 2021 and explore Central America, North America, Hawaii before heading to Australia, New Zealand, Asia, the Middle East, the Mediterranean before concluding in London.

Interest from Australians for the world voyage has been “remarkable,” said Viking.

“The voyage is on track to sell-out by Christmas, meaning it’s unlikely we will open shorter sectors for sale and the majority of guests will be sailing the complete voyage from the USA to the UK.

“In particular, interest from Australian and New Zealand guests has been remarkable – around twice the number of guests have already booked this voyage when compared to our previous world cruise,” said a Viking spokesperson.

Luxury line, Silversea is also scheduled to launch its 150-day world cruise on board the 388-passenger Silver Whisper departing Fort Lauderdale on January 7 2021 and explore 34 countries and 54 ports including Auckland and Asia before arriving back in New York on June 6.

This week, Cunard was the first Carnival line to stop sailing this year and extend its pause until next year. It also cancelled its World Voyage on Queen Mary 2 in 2021 and replaced it with a new 104-night itinerary in 2022 which will visit 16 countries and 27 ports including Australia. It departs Southampton on January 3 2022.

“Recognising the immense disappointment of those on board Queen Mary 2’s curtailed World Voyage this year, and the cancellation of her World Voyage in 2021, we are delighted that Queen Mary 2 will sail a classic World Voyage in 2022.  This will replace her scheduled sailings departing January 3, 2022 to April 3, 2022, including the voyage to South America,” said Cunard president Simon Palethorpe.

Passengers who have had their voyage cancelled will automatically receive an enhanced 125 per cent Future Cruise Credit or they can fill in a form on its website for a 100 per cent refund.

Princess Cruises has also cancelled its 2021 world cruise on Island Princess citing restrictions on international borders, port access and air travel.

“We share in the disappointment of this cancellation for guests of our world cruises because it’s a pinnacle cruise vacation experience, booked by some of our most loyal guests,” said Princes Cruises president, Jan Schwartz.

Passengers booked on the cancelled world cruise will receive a refundable Future Cruise Credit of 100 per cent of the cruise fare paid plus an additional non-refundable bonus of 25 per cent. Passengers who prefer a refund must submit their application by September 30 this year.

Holland America Line has also extended its pause of cruise sailings until early next year due to “travel and port restrictions continuing for the near future due to global health concerns.”

HAL has also cancelled its world cruise next year on board Amsterdam as the ship has been sold. The line will replace it with a 128-day circumnavigation of the world, the Grand World Cruise on Zaandam which departs Fort Lauderdale, Florida on January 3 2022 exploring the Amazon, Brazil, Asia, the Middle East and the Mediterranean.