How to Choose Your World Cruise: Silversea’s Unparalleled Voyages

Circumnavigating the globe was once limited to professional explorers redrawing maps of the world. In 1881, the SS Ceylon departed Southampton, England, returning nearly a year later on what is considered the first commercial world cruise. Today, the time commitment on modern-day world cruises has lessened, but the destination offerings remain vast. They are not “Around the World in Eighty Days,” partly because these are not circumnavigations and they also last longer than 80 days. But they are definitely journeys of a lifetime.

The fortunate travelers who are contemplating a world cruise booking – la crème de la crème of ocean voyages – have much to consider, including the commitment of time and money.

Here are six considerations to contemplate in deciding which world cruise helps you achieve your goals and, of course, addresses your vacation wants and desires. Grab a pen and paper or a word document and jot down your answers.

Reflect on what you’re most excited about seeing

South Africa’s Cape Town

An obvious question? Perhaps. But you’ll want to focus on the places you love or have always longed to see. Have you dreamed of taking a closer look at Asia but haven’t yet had the opportunity? Or have you been inspired to learn more about ancient cultures of Egypt or Greece? This is your chance. Choose a geographic focus within the broader cruise itinerary so you can be sure you will reach your travel goals.

Study the sea days

The 2025 World Cruise on Silver Dawn will call at 59 destinations./Silversea

So much time is dedicated – rightfully so – to reviewing the ports and countries you’ll visit that it’s sometimes easy to forget that multiple sea days are unavoidable on world cruises. Some find them relaxing and restorative; others worry about being bored or seasick.

Wherever you land on the sea/day scale, review each world cruise itinerary to tally the time you’ll spend on the water versus time in port. If you’re not a sea-day person, consider that you can’t skip time at sea, so you perhaps choose a cruise that contains fewer days on the briny deep. If a week at sea sounds like a welcome break, give that plenty of consideration.

Take a look at the special experiences to be offered

Guests will visit France’s Palace of Versailles in the evening, guided by an unusual expert./Shutterstock

Itineraries are as different as the companies that offer them. Each company and sailing offers its own custom experiences, often as evening tours or excursions that have been curated to ensure exclusivity.

These experiences are an area of special attention on Silversea. For example, you may be a Paris pro, but have you spent the evening at Versailles with Marie Antoinette? That’s part of the fun of the Versailles experience on the Silversea’s 2025 World Cruise. Or maybe you’ve spent time in Australia, but have you dined under the stars at Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock? This overland program is on the agenda for Silversea’s 2024 World Cruise. Silversea flies you to the sacred monolith from Darwin in a specially chartered aircraft.

You might have a clear idea of what you want to see and do, but don’t do so at the expense of missing once-in-a-lifetime opportunities available to world cruise guests. When reviewing these special events, be discriminating; which ones would be impossible to replicate on your own? Choose an itinerary that features those experiences.

Crunch the numbers

If unusual wildlife is part of your quest, consider the Silversea World Cruise 2025, which takes you to Joshinetsu Kogen National Park to see Japanese snow monkeys./Shutterstock

We don’t mean money. Rather, this is the tally that every well-traveled person keeps publicly or privately: the “Where-I’ve-Been” or “What-I-Must-See” list.

If the number of countries or ports visited, days at sea, return trips to a favorite place or must-see sights are pivotal factors, examine each world cruise itinerary to see what will complement your previous travels. Will this sailing get you to 100 countries? Will you finally be able to cross off that last continent from your globetrotting to-do?

Even if this world cruise is not your final elaborate adventure, it’s still an impressive occasion to cap off a life well-traveled up to this point. (And if you are reviewing financial obligations, we recommend breaking down the trip into a per-diem cost to compare what you would spend on another vacation — or even living day to day at home.)

Consider the ship

For a long voyage, consider the variety of facilities on your ship. This is a treatment room of Silver Dawn’s Otium Spa./Silversea

The cruise ship you select for your world voyage will be your floating home for an extended trip like this, , so take that into account. Do you like the look of the lounges and public spaces? Will you have a variety of dining options and venues? Does your cabin have ample storage? If you’ve already sailed on a particular vessel and know the crew or the layout, that may appeal on a long stretch away from home. Or maybe you’re attracted to the offerings on a given ship and 20 weeks onboard is the ideal opportunity to explore every nook and cranny.

 As with any world cruise, the focus is ultimately on the destinations, but make sure the onboard programming also appeals so it will enhance your journey.

Think about where you’ll begin and end your trip

There’s nothing quite like Central Park in spring. Silversea’s 2025 World Cruise ends May 29 in New York./Shutterstock

Where you begin and end your journey is vitally important. Have you always imagined pulling up to port as your family waves you in? Gathering the grandkids in Florida might be a wonderful way to end a special trip.

Because you’re already spending more than 100 days away, you might think, “What’s another few weeks?” If so, we like your spirit, and we invite you to consider your embarkation port for a pre-cruise land tour. A departure from Sydney makes time in Australia and even New Zealand an attainable extension. A departure from Tokyo encourages guests to spend at least a few days acclimating to Japan’s atmosphere (and time zone) before embarking.

Don’t forget to think about when you’ll begin and end. World cruises tend to start in January and end in May; if you don’t want to miss a special milestone birthday with the family, reconsider the sail date.

For Silversea, world cruises in 2023, 2024 and 2025 have been announced. The theme of each year’s sailing can help you decide which of these itineraries would work best for you.

World Cruise 2023: South Side Story (Sydney to Fort Lauderdale)

Typical fishing boats in Senegal’s Dakar. Photo via Shutterstock

The Cruise: It’s underway! Silver Shadow departed Sydney on Jan. 9 for a 140-day sail before docking May 28, 2023, in Fort Lauderdale. Guests will call on 66 ports in 34 countries, combining eight routes (Sydney to Auckland, New Zealand; Auckland to Manila, Philippines; Manila to Singapore; Singapore to Mahé, Seychelles; Mahé to Cape Town, South Africa; Cape Town to Dakar, Senegal; Dakar to Manaus, Brazil; and Manaus to Fort Lauderdale).

Days at Sea: This itinerary includes 53 days at sea. The longest consecutive stretch is the five-day crossing of the Atlantic from the African Republic of Cabo Verde (Cape Verde) to the Amazon River in Brazil.

Highlights: Itinerary highlights of the 2023 World Cruise include a week in New Zealand, plus cruising Milford Sound; two ports of call in Vanuatu in the South Pacific and three in equally remote Papua New Guinea; three days in Hong Kong; a visit to Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay; a call in the Maldives; four days in Madagascar, about 250 miles off East Africa’s coast; an overnight in Mahé and another in Walvis Bay, Namibia.

Silversea’s Special Experiences: Special events on this World Cruise include a presentation of the fire dancers of Melanesia; a fully catered day on a private island in the Caribbean’s St. Vincent and the Grenadines; and the chance to attend a Queen-themed (we’re talking Freddie Mercury) dinner at a 300-year-old building in Zanzibar, where the musician was born.

This 2023 world cruise is best for: someone who has traveled Europe extensively and wants to spend a significant part of the trip in less-frequented ports and countries. This traveler also enjoys sun, sand and ample opportunities to learn about island cultures — and getting in the water for a dip.

Info: World Cruise 2023: South Side Story (Sydney to Fort Lauderdale)

World cruise 2024: Far East-West (Round Trip San Francisco)

Penglipuran is a traditional village in Bali, one of the stops on the 2024 World Cruise./Shutterstock

The Cruise: Silver Shadow departs Jan. 15, 2024, from San Francisco for 133 days before docking back in San Francisco on May 26, 2024. During their World Cruise, guests will call on 65 ports in 14 countries, combining seven routes (San Francisco to Lautoka, Fiji; Lautoka to Sydney; Sydney to Bali; Bali to Hong Kong; Hong Kong to Tokyo; Tokyo to Seward, Alaska; and Seward to San Francisco).

Days at Sea: This itinerary includes 45 days at sea; the longest consecutive stretch is five days at the start of the crossing from the U.S. mainland to Hawaii.

Highlights: Itinerary highlights of the 2024 World Cruise include three days in Fiji; two weeks in Australia, with calls on Thursday Island and the Kimberly; an overnight in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City; eight days in Japan; and nine ports in Alaska, plus cruising the Hubbard Glacier.

Silversea’s Special Experiences: Special events include a ’40s-style shindig aboard the USS Missouri in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (it was the site of the 1945 ceremony in which Japan surrendered, bringing an end to World War II); an overnight in Indonesia at Borobudur, the world’s largest Buddhist temple; and an avant-garde dining experience in Shanghai, incorporating globally renowned chefs and modern technology.

The Far East-West World Cruise is best for: someone who wants to spend time circumnavigating Australia and exploring the gems of the Indian Ocean and who also wants to uncover the wonders of the United States, thanks to time spent in Hawaii, Alaska, and California.

Info: World Cruise 2024: Far East-West (Round Trip San Francisco)

World Cruise 2025: Controtempo (Tokyo to New York)

In Greece’s Thessaloniki. Photo via Shutterstock

The Cruise: Silver Dawn, launched in 2022, departs Jan. 13, 2025, from Tokyo for 136 days before docking in New York on May 29, 2025. During this voyage, guests will call on 61 ports in 29 countries, combining 10 routes.

Highlights: Highlights of this World Cruise itinerary include 19 ports of call in Asia; a visit to Jordan’s Petra and a crossing of the Suez Canal; multiple European cities in the spring such as Lisbon, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Naples; and extended calls at Iceland and Greenland .

Silversea Special Experiences: Special events offered to guests on this unique sailing include an overland overnight in Cairo, with a private visit to the Abdeen Presidential Palace; a photography exhibit custom-created for guests in Stockholm that will be accompanied by a meal from an emerging Scandinavian chef; and a visit to My Son Sanctuary, in the multicultural Cham community in the mountains of Vietnam.

The Controtempo 2025 World Cruise is best for: someone who has seen and done it all before. The Italian term “controtempo,” which translates to “going against the melody” or “off beat” is at the heart of this World Cruise, which offers unexpected twists on a standard itinerary. That includes visiting Japan in winter and Scandinavia in spring. It’s a trip that no guest can say he or she has done before.

Info: World Cruise 2025: Controtempo (Tokyo to New York)