My husband is about to retire , and in order to take his mind off the fact that he is not working, I want to plan a trip around the world. Since we're not kids anymore,
a cruise seems like the best choice. Are there many options, and how soon can we sail?
N.J., Weston You just missed the boat, literally, on a world cruise as they all tend to depart in early January, but this is the perfect time to start planning for next year. Five of the big cruise lines offer these exotic adventures, which can cost between $13,000 and $260,000. The oldest world cruiser, Cunard (cunard.com), has been circumnavigating the globe since 1922. Next year marks the debut of Cunards newest ship, the Queen Victoria, which will travel for 106 consecutive days, dropping anchor in 36 ports in 23 countries. Its sister ship, the Queen Elizabeth 2, also will continue the lines long tradition, sailing simultaneously with the Victoria for 90 days. Regent Seven Seas (rssc.com) can claim the longest single voyage for 2008 by a day. Its Seven Seas Voyager departs from San Francisco and tours for 115 days, visiting destinations including Auckland, New Zealand, Shanghai, Bombay, and Tunis before returning to Fort Lauderdale. Holland America (holland america.com) offers several of what it dubs Grand Voyages, although only the 114-day journey aboard the Amsterdam is a true world cruise. New for next year are several first-time ports of call including Tripoli, Libya, and Sevastopol, Ukraine. The Crystal Serenity (crystal cruises.com) kicks off its 108-day excursion by sailing to Hawaii from Los Angeles before making its way across the seas with a fi- nal destination in London. The most intimate of the cruises, the Silver Shadow from Silversea (silversea.com) takes a maximum of 382 passengers to 50 ports in 110 days. If youre not ready to commit a third of next year to hopping from port to port, country to country, you can always test the waters on any of these ships by signing up for individual segments, which range from nine to 58 days.