Around-the-world cruises costing up to $500,000 are selling out 2 years in advance as eager travelers prepare for restrictions to lift

Around-the-world cruises costing up to $500,000 are selling out 2 years in advance as eager travelers prepare for restrictions to lift
Oceania Cruises' Insignia ship.Oceania Cruises
  • As people anticipate an end to the COVID-19 pandemic, some cruises are selling out well in advance.
  • Monthlong trips with Oceania Cruises and Seabourn for 2023 have sold out.
  • Major US cruises are set to return no earlier than May. The CDC temporarily banned them last year.

Tickets for around-the-world cruises are selling out years ahead of their departure date as travelers anticipate the end of lockdowns and travel restrictions.

When Viking Ocean Cruises released tickets for a 136-day world cruise for late 2021, they sold out in weeks, Bloomberg first reported Monday. The same happened when it announced in December a second cruise to take place at the end of the year, Viking told the publication.

The ships for the two cruises - Viking Star and Viking Neptune - carry 930 passengers each but have left some rooms free for potential quarantine measures, the company told Bloomberg.
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The company said it was planning another world-cruise itinerary for 2023, per Bloomberg.

"We are looking to open the next opportunity as quickly as we can," Richard Marnell, the executive vice president of marketing for Viking, told Bloomberg.

The luxury cruise line Seabourn sold out all penthouse spa and premium suites on its 450-passenger Seabourn Sojourn for two world trips in 2022 and 2023, a company representative told Insider's Brittany Chang in a statement Sunday. Couples are paying up to $500,000 for a five-month cruise, and the company had to recently open waiting lists, Bloomberg reported.
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Oceania Cruises also sold out its 2023 "Around the World in 180 Days" cruise in 24 hours on January 27, Insider reported previously. The Insignia ship, which accommodates a maximum of 684 passengers, travels to five continents, including Antarctica, and 61 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Bob Binder, Oceania Cruises' president and CEO, said in a statement that its quick sale time was due to "pent-up demand." Insider has reached out to Viking and Oceania Cruises for comment.
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The high demand for tickets is a sign of hope for the struggling cruise industry, which was thrown into turmoil when COVID-19 spread across several ships last March.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people avoid traveling on cruise ships, which are especially susceptible to spreading COVID-19.

After the pandemic took hold in March, the CDC temporarily banned cruises in the US to curb the spread of the virus. But in October, the agency replaced its no-sail order with a "framework for Conditional Sailing Order" - a list of requirements necessary for cruise lines to continue sailing again.
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The soonest any major US cruise is scheduled to operate is May. Carnival Cruises, Royal Caribbean, and Disney said they would resume sailing after May, while P&O Cruises has stopped all trips through April.

Since COVID-19 vaccines have been rolled out, several large cruise companies, including Carnival, Crystal Cruises, and Norwegian Cruises, have announced vaccine requirements for guests and staff members.

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