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Cruise Views

Getting a Global Perspective

November 17, 1996|SHIRLEY SLATER and HARRY BASCH

While most of today's new young cruisers probably consider it a dinosaur left over from the days of the Astors and Vanderbilts, the around-the-world cruise is still very much alive as it approaches its 75th birthday. In 1996, a record 10 ships announced world cruises. Of those, nine set out but only six finished.

A much-circulated story summarizes the situation: A couple had booked a modest cabin (from $18,345 per person, double occupancy) for the 1996 world cruise aboard the Regency Cruises' Regent Sea. When Regency declared bankruptcy, they were switched over to Cunard's Sagafjord

But the Sagafjord had an engine room fire and transferred its world cruise passengers to the Royal Viking Sun, which struck a reef in the Red Sea, and the couple was then transferred to a lavish suite aboard the QE2 (which costs in the neighborhood of $100,000 per person, double occupancy for the world cruise) to complete their cruise.

In 1997, The Oriana sails Jan. 7, the Canberra (on its last scheduled sailing) Jan. 6.

The Rotterdam from Holland America Line sets out on its 29th and final world cruise from L.A. Jan. 18 ending in New York April 27 or Fort Lauderdale April 30. The first segment ends in Auckland Feb. 7 after calls in Hawaii and French Polynesia. The second leg sails around New Zealand and Australia to Bali Feb. 26.

The Rotterdam continues to Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore, the Maldives and Sri Lanka, arriving in Bombay March 22. A Middle Eastern segment includes calls in Egypt, Jordan and Israel. April 7, the ship sails from Haifa to Turkey, Greece, Italy and Lisbon. Fares for the full cruise range from $19,730 to $69,200 per person, double occupancy, including first-class air fare.

The shortest segment, an eight-day sailing between Lisbon and New York, is priced from $1,640 to $5,705 per person, double occupancy, including air fare.

Cunard's QE2 sails Jan. 4 from New York and Jan. 6 from Fort Lauderdale on the first segment, a trans-canal cruise arriving Jan. 17 in L.A. (This popular segment is frequently sold out.) The second segment ends in Sydney Feb. 11 after calls in Hawaii, Western Samoa, Fiji and New Zealand. From Sydney, the ship cruises on to Hong Kong, then to Bombay, to Haifa and around the Mediterranean, returning to New York April 17. Full cruise fares range from $26,270 to $167,740 per person, double occupancy, including air fare and all gratuities. Segment prices start at $3,360 per person, double occupancy for the 13-day New York/Los Angeles leg.

Crystal Cruises' Crystal Symphony sets out from Los Angeles on its official launch of the world cruise Jan. 17, but East Coast passengers could board the ship Jan. 3 in Fort Lauderdale and sail through the Panama Canal to Los Angeles. The first full segment arrives Feb. 8 in Sydney after visiting Hawaii, Western Samoa, Fiji and Vanuatu. From Sydney, the Crystal Symphony sails to New Zealand, Australian, Indonesia and Hong Kong.

The third segment departs Hong Kong Feb. 27 for Bombay, calling in Vietnam, Malaysia and the Maldives, and the fourth segment sets out from Bombay for Dubai, Oman, Kenya, the Comoros and South Africa, arriving in Cape Town April 6. The fifth segment goes from Cape Town to Fort Lauderdale, arriving May 1 after calls in St. Helena, Brazil, Barbados and St. Thomas. The full cruise is priced from $51,040 to $172,990 per person, double occupancy, including first-class air fare, but segments start from under $10,000.

San Francisco is the starting point for Cunard's Royal Viking Sun on its world cruise, setting out Jan. 6 on the first segment through Micronesia and the Philippines, which ends in Hong Kong Feb. 5. The next leg includes calls in Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia before arriving Feb. 25 in Bombay.

From Bombay, the Sun visits Dubai, Muscat and Mombasa. This 11-day segment begins at $6,540 per person, double occupancy, including air fare.

After Mombasa, the ship continues to the Comoros, South Africa, Argentina and Brazil, before arriving in Fort Lauderdale April 16. The full cruise is priced from $36,970 to $115,140 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip first-class air fare.

For brochures, contact a travel agent or the cruise lines. Crystal, (800) 446-6620; Cunard, (800) 221-4770; Holland America, (800) 426-0327; and P&O, c/o Princess Cruises, (800) LOVE-BOAT.

Slater and Basch travel as guests of the cruise lines. Cruise Views appears the first and third week of every month.

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