A guide to doing the ultimate world tour without setting foot in an airport

Nervous flyer? A guide to doing the ultimate world tour in 2022, visiting 27 countries in 181 days – without setting foot in an airport

  • Caroline Hendrie presents a jam-packed itinerary starting from Southampton in January 2022
  • Stops along the way include San Francisco, Sydney, Hong Kong, Singapore and Athens  
  • One of the pricier legs is from Athens to Dubrovnik aboard the luxury, all-inclusive Seabourn Sojourn ship

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Now more than ever, the idea of sailing around the world, leaving all your cares at home, has enormous appeal. You could book a world cruise for early next year and be home by Easter. 

But what about a world tour with a difference? 

Take it slower and allow time to explore more ashore with a tour of 27 countries. Here we show you how it can be done – in 181 days on seven ships, a yacht and a train. And all without setting foot in an airport…

Southampton to San Francisco

Epic adventure: The first leg of the world tour runs from Southampton to San Francisco, with the Fisherman's Wharf, Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge among the city's highlights

Epic adventure: The first leg of the world tour runs from Southampton to San Francisco, with the Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge among the city’s highlights

Jan 3, 2022 – Jan 27, 2022

24 days, 16 of them at sea, five ports, five countries and a canal.

The voyage: Sailing across the Atlantic, the first call is Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands. Next stop is Barbados followed by Curacao. Transit the Panama Canal before calling at Huatulco and Cabo San Lucas on the Pacific coast of Mexico.

Don’t miss: Whale watching on the Sea of Cortes, which is fizzing with marine life – dolphins, sea lions, pelicans and whales that come to calve.

Your ship: Adults-only Aurora offers classic cruising. Swim every day whatever the weather, thanks to a retractable Skydome.

Book: From £3,112pp (pocruises.com).

There are 12 days until your next ship sails, so when you’ve seen San Francisco – Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz – head over the Golden Gate Bridge to the vineyards of the Sonoma and Napa valleys, or go east to Yosemite National Park.

San Francisco to Sydney

On Cunard's Queen Victoria you can spend your days at sea in the theatre or playing quoits and shuffleboard on deck

On Cunard’s Queen Victoria you can spend your days at sea in the theatre or playing quoits and shuffleboard on deck

Feb 6, 2022 – Mar 1, 2022

22 days, 15 at sea, five ports, five countries and crossing the Equator and the International Date Line.

The voyage: After five days heading across the Pacific, the Hawaiian archipelago comes into view and it is time to step ashore in Honolulu. Back at sea, first-timers crossing the Equator can expect a dousing from King Neptune and you’ll lose a day crossing the International Date line en route to Samoa and Fiji before arriving in New Zealand.

Don’t miss: New Zealand is the farthest country from the UK, so make the most of the time in the three ports of call. Experience hissing geysers in Rotorua, bungee jump from Auckland Bridge and explore the Waitangi River on a Maori war canoe.

Your ship: Queen Victoria has dining rooms designated by cabin grades, but everyone gets dressed up for gala balls in the Queens Room. Spend your days at sea watching a play in the theatre or playing quoits and shuffleboard on deck.

Book: From £3,669pp (cunard.com).

It is six days until it’s time to board your next ship. Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge, take a tour of the Opera House, hang out on the city’s beaches and scoot inland to the beautiful Blue Mountains.

Sydney to Hong Kong

Paddy fields framed by lush surroundings on the Indonesian island of Lombok, which you can see on a Royal Princess cruise

Paddy fields framed by lush surroundings on the Indonesian island of Lombok, which you can see on a Royal Princess cruise

Mar 7, 2022 – Mar 25, 2022

18 days, 11 at sea, five ports, four countries.

The voyage: The first port of call is Brisbane, then on to Darwin. You’ll also see Lombok, Bali’s less-visited neighbour, and Saigon.

Don’t miss: Gliding past red gum trees along the Adelaide River in the tropical Top End of Australia to watch ‘salties’ – salt water crocodiles – jumping for fish.

Your ship: You can stroll out to sea on Royal Princess, thanks to the astonishing steel and glass SeaWalk, curving out 128ft above the waves. Or enjoy cocktail theatre from juggling waiters in the glass-floored SeaView Bar.

Book: From £1,149pp (princess.com).

There is no need to rush around in Hong Kong, you’ll be there ten days.

Hong Kong to Bangkok

The Grand Dining Room onboard Oceania Cruises' 700-passenger Insignia ship

The Grand Dining Room onboard Oceania Cruises’ 700-passenger Insignia ship

April 4, 2022 – April 16, 2022

12 days, two at sea, six ports, three countries.

The voyage: You’ll be immersed in the sights of South-East Asia with overnight stays in Vietnam’s Hanoi, Hue and Saigon, and days in Nha Trang in Vietnam and Kampot in Cambodia.

Don’t miss: Meditating with a Buddhist monk on the deck of a wooden junk gliding through Halong Bay.

Your ship: A foodies’ favourite, 700-passenger Insignia has plant-based menus and French and Oriental cuisine.

Book: From £3,769pp (oceaniacruises.com).

After seeing Bangkok, head for the beach – Koh Samet island is just four hours away.

Bangkok to Singapore

The gleaming, deep-green Belmond Eastern & Oriental Express is opulently fitted out with a piano bar and observation carriage

The gleaming, deep-green Belmond Eastern & Oriental Express is opulently fitted out with a piano bar and observation carriage

Apr 27, 2022 – Apr 30, 2022

Three days by rail, two stops, three countries.

Your journey: The train rolls west from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi, site of the Bridge on the River Kwai. Travelling south through Thailand and into Malaysia, the train stops in Kuala Kangsar before reaching Singapore.

Don’t miss: A village visit and hill trek with a naturalist in the Malaysian countryside.

Your train: The gleaming, deep-green Eastern & Oriental Express is opulently fitted out with a piano bar and observation carriage.

Book it: From £2,348pp (belmond.com).

You’ll have time to play before your next ship. So, when you’ve sipped Singapore Slings at Raffles hotel and strolled through Chinatown and Little India, strike out to the beaches of Sentosa island and the walking trails of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.

Singapore to Athens

Yala National Park in Sri Lanka is home to leopards and the elephants are another attraction

Yala National Park in Sri Lanka is home to leopards and the elephants are another attraction

May 13, 2022 – June 3, 2022

21 days, 12 at sea, seven ports, six countries and another canal.

The voyage: After four weeks on land you’ll be glad of three days to get your sea legs back, sailing west to Sri Lanka, calling at Hambantota, for leopard and elephant spotting in Yala National Park, and at Colombo. Next stop is Cochin on India’s south-west coast. Across the Arabian Sea, an overnight stay in Safaga gives time to visit Luxor and the Valley of the Kings. Then it’s the Red Sea port of Aqaba before transiting the Suez Canal to Ashdod, the port for Jerusalem and the Dead Sea. Finally, you cross the Mediterranean to Crete.

Don’t miss: Walking through Al Siq, a narrow gorge that opens on to the city of Petra, ancient capital of the Nabataean Kingdom.

Your ship: Azamara Journey is a 700-passenger ship and every voyage includes an AzAmazing evening.

Book: From £3,388pp (azamara.co.uk).

You have three days in Athens, time to see the Acropolis and its museum, the Parthenon and the Temple of Zeus.

Athens to Dubrovnik

Jun 6 – Jun 11, 2022

On a ten-day cruise with Seabourn you'll visit three ports in Greece and Saranda, in Albania, pictured

On a ten-day cruise with Seabourn you’ll visit three ports in Greece and Saranda, in Albania, pictured 

Five days, four ports, two countries.

Your voyage: It is a ten-day cruise but you’ll be jumping ship halfway. Not before visiting three ports in Greece (Santorini, Pylos and Kefalonia) and Saranda, in Albania.

Don’t miss: Boarding a catamaran in Santorini to sail across the caldera to bathe in hot springs on an island created by a massive volcanic explosion 3,600 years ago.

Your ship: Luxury, all-inclusive Seabourn Sojourn has a high staff-to-guest ratio.

Book: Fares start from £5,649pp for a ten-day cruise that finishes in Valletta, Malta (seabourn.com).

There are 11 days until you join your last ship. Time to sneak in a week’s side-cruise island-hopping along the Dalmatian coast.

Dubrovnik to Dubrovnik

On Motor yacht MS Agape Rose you can go island hopping around Croatia. Pictured, the island of Hvar

On Motor yacht MS Agape Rose you can go island hopping around Croatia. Pictured, the island of Hvar

Jun 11, 2022 – Jun 18, 2022

Seven days, five islands, three cities.

The voyage: Always in sight of land, you’ll hop on and off the Croatian islands of Brac, Hvar, Korcula, Mljet and Vis, and visit Split and Omis on the mainland, too.

Don’t miss: Spotting locations for Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again on Vis.

Your ship: Motor yacht MS Agape Rose has 18 cabins and lots of space for sunbathing.

Book: £1,244pp (completelycroatia.co.uk).

Dubrovnik to Southampton

Bolette is the flagship of the Fred. Olsen fleet. Pictured, one of the ship's premier suites

Bolette is the flagship of the Fred. Olsen fleet. Pictured, one of the ship’s premier suites

Jun 22, 2022 – Jul 2, 2022

Nine days, four at sea, five ports, five countries.

The Voyage: Your shipmates will have been on board more than a week when you join them. On the Adriatic Sea you’ll visit Neum in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Split in Croatia and Durres in Albania, then sail across the Med to Cagliari in Sardinia and on to Tangiers, Europe’s gateway to Africa.

Don’t miss: A glass of mint tea on an outdoor terrace at Cafe Hafa in Tangiers with views of the Atlantic and distant coast of Spain.

Your ship: Bolette is the flagship of the Fred. Olsen fleet with 11 spacious bars and lounges.

Book: The 18-night round-trip cruise starts in Southampton on June 14. From £2,799pp, for the ten nights on board (fredolsencruises.com).

Congratulations! You have returned home, six months after setting off, in time to enjoy a glorious English summer.

All fares quoted are for cruise only.

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