December 23, 2015

World Cruise 2016 – Proposed Itinerary

Our World Cruise on the Amsterdam will be stopping at about 44 ports in 22 countries on 4 continents. Most port stays are 9 to 12 hours, with none less than 8 hours in duration. At some of the major ports like Sydney, Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai, etc. we will be spending several days in the same port. Lots of sight seeing and shopping opportunities. I'm glad I am not a shopper else I would return with several more suitcases.

Of course between ports of call we will also be spending many days at sea without sight of land, the longest stretches being over eight days between Panama and French Polynesia, and over seven days crossing the Atlantic on our return to Port Everglades from Europe.

Many cruises are advertised as "World" travels, but I have learned this itinerary actually is a true circumnavigation of the earth, and certainly is deserving of the name "World Cruise".

The first recorded circumnavigation of the earth was Ferdinand Magellan's expedition of 1522. There have been many others since, not only by sailing ships, but more recently by planes, spacecraft, small single handed water craft, balloons and other modes of transportation.

The first of the two antipodal points we will cross will be as we cruise from Waitangi, to Auckland, New Zealand and the second as we approach the straight of Gibraltar on our way to Cadiz, Spain after leaving Barcelona.

The other requirements for true circumnavigation of the earth are to travel basically in one direction, and to begin and end at the same location. The Amsterdam will be headed more or less west for the entire cruise, and we leave from and return to Port Everglades, Florida.

There is another advantage to continually traveling westerly. Over the period of 4 months I will have 24 days during which I get an extra hour of sleep. Great, much easier on the internal clock than losing an hour. Of course there is no such thing as a free lunch, also as a result of going west I lose January 28 completely. It won't exist for me. I hope nothing important is going to happen that day, I'll miss it.

I'm sure you have noticed that I have been using words like "should" and "about". This is because sea travel in many ways is the same today as it was 100 years ago, and has similarities to most public transportation in the US today. There is a schedule, and there are plans, and sometimes things are on schedule and other times they are not.

The itinerary for this cruise was planned several years ago, and already there have been changes, and there may be more for any number of reasons. Pirates may become more aggressively active, especially off the coast of Somalia where they have taken over a number of ships in recent years for ransom. Political climates may change and suddenly the ship is no longer welcome to visit. Terrorists are causing unrest in many corners of the world, and the prudent decision may be to avoid certain ports that previously were deemed safe.

Hurricanes, typhoons and severe storms will alter our course, guaranteed. The captain will do everything possible to avoid being caught in a dangerous storm. And of course human and mechanical breakdowns may force the ship to seek the closest port, not the next one on our planned journey. We don't hope for these disruptions, and we don't anticipate encountering these obstacles, but if we do, safety at sea comes first and plans are sometimes altered. That is just the way it is.

The map shows our projected route, it may change.

Jan 5th is approaching quickly, and if all goes as planned at least until then, my next post will be from somewhere on the high seas as I begin my 115 day World Cruise 2016.