Round the world
For people in search of the ultimate cruise, a round-the-world voyage ought to be high on their wish list.
Luxury round-the-world cruises run from major port cities such as Sydney, Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Singapore and Cape Town. The starting point in Britain is Southampton's natural deep harbour.
As ships cruise round Australia, passengers visit the iconic Sydney Harbour and then sail up the coast to explore tropical Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef, one of the finest natural attractions in the world.
When to go:
The most popular time for worldwide cruises is from January to March, but you can travel all year round. The weather will depend on the season and the region you are in; a simple rule of thumb is that the sooner you leave northern waters, the warmer it gets.
Ships cruising the Pacific make stops at picturesque, palm-fringed Fiji, French Polynesia and Hawaii, where the laidback island culture is a perfect fit with the leisurely pace of cruise life.
In Asia, the coastline of Vietnam is an ideal spot for cruise passengers looking for diverse cultures rich with temples and monuments, and a contrast with the economic powerhouses of Hong Kong and Shanghai.
Some cruises meander along the coastlines of the Middle East, and head west through the Suez Canal at Egypt; passengers taking such a cruise can enjoy the bustling cities and ancient ruins of Aqaba, Muscat and Luxor. An alternative route is down the east coast of Africa, where stops at Mombasa or Cape Town allow passengers to experience majestic wildlife and stunning landscapes.
The great, cosmopolitan cities of the USA remain popular attractions on any itinerary, and many cruises make stops at the ports of Mexico, allowing passengers time to explore the ruins of ancient Mayan cultures. South American cruises explore the Brazilian rainforest and the fabulous city of Rio de Janeiro, bustling Buenos Aires and the fjords and channels of Chile.
European highlights begin with the ancient capital of Athens, Italy's Amalfi Coast and Aeolian Islands and architecturally stunning Barcelona.