Ellen Lee and her husband David recently stepped off their first world cruise. They were on the Coral Princess for a 107-night. And after 28 countries and 44 ports, they instantly wanted more. 

The couple were so thrilled by their trip and they’ve already booked again for another Crown Princess world cruise in 2025. 

Cruise industry experts say longer voyages are often the quickest to sell out.

Lee told the NZ Herald: “I think we just saw some amazing sights and some amazing things and the world’s out there to be explored so we thought ‘let’s go do it again’.”

But how do travellers fill the days? It’s always been one of the first questions prospective passengers ask.

“We’d wake up and breakfast was delivered to the cabin every morning, so we’d sit there and talk about the day.

“Greg would go off to Tai Chi at 8 am and I’d tidy the cabin then shoot off to my Zumba class at 8.30 am. Then the girls at Zumba would go for a coffee afterwards and have a little browse around the shops.”

Zumba on cruise ship
Zumba on cruise ship is a popular activity

Their days were also filled with table tennis and lunch, book reading, and playing mahjong. All ending with dinner and a show.

The benefit though, was the chance to tick off their bucket list destinations. The couple saw the Northern Lights, Easter Island, Machu Picchu, Al Khazneh, Mocorro’s Blue City and much more.

Lee said she had the time of her life, and her husband got to live out his dream of flying over the Nazca Lines in Peru.

“We went to 25 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and every single one didn’t let you down.

“The little plane was hilarious because the pilot tipped them basically almost upside down so they could see the lines out the window and take the photo.

Are Australians heading off on world cruises?

“The coming season looks like being a busy time on the world cruise circuit. Australia is scheduled to welcome about 70 international cruise ships over the summer peak.

“And a good portion of these will be visiting as part of a round-world cruise. Australia has become an important destination on the world cruise circuit and several cruise lines begin or end their extended itineraries in this region,” said CLIA Managing Director in Australasia Joel Katz.

“Anecdotally we hear there has been a strong revival in demand for world cruises and longer journeys.  When Australians first began returning to travel last year, there was a clear preference for close-to-home sailings – 90% of Australian cruise passengers stayed within our local region in 2022. 

“That’s changing now and we hear more and more that cruise fans want to venture further afield and make the most of their travel opportunities. A world cruise is an incredible way to see multiple countries and regions on an extended journey.

“It used to be considered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but as itinerary choices and cruising styles become more diverse we hear of more people returning to try other world cruise options.”

The couple that booked 51 back-to-back cruises

In June last year, Marty and Jess Ansen decided to take to life at sea, and started booking seemingly endless back-to-back cruises on the Coral Princess.

Now, 455 days of sailing later, the couple spoke to A Current Affair about the journey so far. 

The pair recently docked in Sydney, while gearing up for another roundtrip, this time to Hawaii. After that, cruise they’ll be off on another round-the-world cruise. 

Ms Ansen said, “It’s our lifestyle. Where else can you go (to have this), you go for dinner, you to a show, you go dancing. Throughout the day, you have all these activities, I love the hula dancing and the ballroom dancing.”

Dining onboard the Coral Princess
Dining onboard the Coral Princess

The Ansens say they stick to a daily routine, including a 5.30 a.m. game of table tennis to kick off the day. 

The couple claims that with all meals included, plus daily room cleaning, their life at sea is actually cheaper than being in a retirement home. 

Coral Princess hotel manager Ren van Rooyen says the couple are like “celebrities” on the ship.

“We always make a joke that I go away and I come back and it’s like coming to see my family – my mum and dad again – they’re like my second mum and dad on board.

“Everyone knows them around the ship, they’re basically celebrities on board. Even the guests know them, they’re local celebrities.”

Luxury world cruise is also booming

In 2021, Regent Seven Seas world cruise, with a starting price of $100,000 sold out in just three hours.

Regent Seven Seas president and CEO Jason Montague said: “With a waitlist longer than we have ever experienced, we knew that the 2024 World Cruise was going to be popular.

“But this outstanding response has surpassed all expectations and is without a doubt our strongest world cruise launch day ever.”

Silversea’s epic 139-day world cruise departing Sydney in January 2023 sold out in just a day. The Silver Shadow will cruise from Sydney to New Zealand before heading to the Pacific, Asia, Africa, South America and the Caribbean.

Fares started from $104,000 and went up to $388,000 per guest, based on double occupancy. The price includes business class Qantas flights and private transfers from passengers’ homes to the airport and ship.

Regent Seven Seas world cruise sold out in three hours
Regent Seven Seas world cruise sold out in three hours

Brisbane mum books in for three years at sea

Rina Cavazza, a mother-of-five from Brisbane, felt it was time to spread her wings and booked onto the first-ever three-year cruise around the world. 

Cavazza told A Current Affair: “I’ll be travelling for over a thousand days on one single boat. 

“There are 140 countries that I’ll be visiting 382 ports; 13 out of the 14 wonders of the world.”

Cavazza has cruised before but never for more than 10 days. 

Life At Sea Cruises runs indefinitely, with those who want to live at sea able to book in three-year increments. 

The travelling mum is one of more than 20 Australians already booked on the inaugural voyage. 

Prices start from $64,613 per year, which comes out to $5384 a month or $177 a day.