The Longest Cruise in the World Takes Seafarers to 59 Countries Over 245 Days

A Viking vessel in Saint Kitts, one of the stops on the cruise line's Ultimate World Cruise.
A Viking vessel in Saint Kitts, one of the stops on the cruise line's Ultimate World Cruise.
Viking Cruises

The longest continuous cruise on the planet won’t take you around the world in 80 days, but it promises to get the job done in about eight months.

The brand new Ultimate World Cruise from Viking Ocean Cruises is a dream come true for travelers with some time—and cash—to spare. Starting at about $93,000 per person, the luxury cruise will hit 59 countries spread across six continents. It leaves from London on August 31, 2019, circumnavigates Earth, and returns to the same city on May 2, 2020. If you’re doing the math, that’s 245 days.

Viking has hosted two world cruises before, but the new offering is nearly double the length of its previous trips. In general, the world cruises offered by most commercial cruise lines tend to last between 90 and 120 days, according to Forbes.

Who would want to spend the better part of a year aboard a ship? A lot of people, it turns out. As Richard Marnell, the senior vice president of marketing at Viking Cruises, tells Forbes, “We received resounding feedback from guests on our first sold-out World Cruise who wanted to experience the cultures of the world in-depth, over an extended period of time, while sailing onboard a ship that was designed for discovery with all the comforts of home.”

The ship, called Viking Sun, will be stopping in 113 ports, where guests will get the chance to take guided tours of each destination. Of those, 22 will be overnight stays on land.

The Viking Sun can carry 930 passengers, and a variety of cruise packages are available. At nearly $270,000, the most expensive room type—the owner’s suite—is already booked.

If eight months on a ship sounds like too much to bear, travelers can instead opt for one of two shorter trips: a 127-day leg from London to Los Angeles that visits 33 countries, or a 119-day journey from Los Angeles to London that covers 29 countries.

[h/t Forbes]

Disney's Most Magical Destinations Have Been Reimagined as Vintage Travel Posters

UpgradedPoints.com
UpgradedPoints.com

Many of the iconic settings of animated Disney movies were modeled after real places around the world. Ussé Castle in France’s Loire Valley, for example, is widely rumored to have been the inspiration behind the original Sleeping Beauty story. (Although the castle in the movie more closely resembles Germany's Neuschwanstein Castle.) Likewise, the fictional island in Moana was made to look like Samoa, and the Sultan’s palace in Aladdin shares some similarities with India's Taj Mahal.

If you’ve ever dreamed of exploring Agrabah or Neverland, then you’ll probably enjoy getting lost in these Disney-inspired travel posters from the designers at UpgradedPoints.com, an online resource that helps individuals maximize their credit card travel rewards. Only one of the posters features a real destination ("Beautiful France"), but these illustrations let you get one step closer to scaling Pride Rock or plumbing the depths of Atlantica.

All of the images are rendered in a vintage style with enticing slogans attached—much like the exotic travel posters that were prevalent in the 1930s.

“A few of our designers wanted to capture that longing to experience the true locations of these fantastic films, and the inner child in all of us couldn’t resist seeing how they interpreted the locations of their favorite films,” UpgradedPoints.com writes. “The results are breathtaking and make us wish we could fall into our favorite Disney movies.”

Keep scrolling to see the posters, and for more travel inspiration, read up on eight real-life locations that inspired Disney places (plus one that didn't).

A Disney-inspired poster of France
UpgradedPoints.com

An Atlantica travel poster
UpgradedPoints.com

A Disney-inspired poster
UpgradedPoints.com

A Disney-inspired poster
UpgradedPoints.com

A Lion King travel poster
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A Neverland travel poster
UpgradedPoints.com

Australian Accounting Firm Offers Employees 12 Weeks of ‘Life Leave’ to Strike the Perfect Work-Life Balance

iStock.com/karenfoleyphotography
iStock.com/karenfoleyphotography

What would you do if you could take a three-month vacation each year? Would you book a flight to Hawaii, catch up on your favorite Netflix shows, or simply spend some quality time with your partner, kids, or dogs? The employees at one Australian accounting firm undoubtedly have a few ideas about how to spend the six to 12 weeks of “life leave” they will soon be granted.

As Travel + Leisure reports, Ernst & Young Oceania decided to introduce more flexible work hours in an attempt to attract and retain top talent. “We’re innovating so we don’t lose these people while they pursue passions outside of work,” company official Kate Hillman told The Independent. Hillman went on to cite volunteer experiences, training programs, and even a trekking trip to Nepal as different ways that employees might take advantage of the new policy, which goes into effect April 1.

Employees can either use their leave all at once or split it into two smaller vacations. The only catch is that the leave is self-funded—so it’s essentially an unpaid vacation. Still, if someone has the burning desire to backpack through Europe for a couple of months, or work on a project, it’s a safer option than quitting their job only to return unemployed and broke.

In addition to this policy, employees can choose to reduce their hours to a part-time schedule for up to three months each year. Parents may also choose to take advantage of a term-time arrangement, which lets them work regular hours when school is in session, then take time off during school holidays.

According to the firm’s research, flexibility at work boosts employee engagement by 11 percent. There are plenty of other reasons to take a vacation, too—not the least of which is evidence that time off may help you lead a longer, healthier, and happier life. Plus, you’ll come back refreshed and motivated, so your boss will be happy, too.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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