A study of over 65s found that many envy the lifestyles of the young, with the majority (57%) saying they wished they had travelled more and 45% wishing they had quit their jobs and changed professions.
The latest research reveals a 300% increase in “grey gap-years” since 2005 with the number of pre-retirement gap years now reaching 200,000 annually*. These are also being fuelled by redundancies and the 90,000 people who choose to take a career break every year.
81% of adults are now taking longer and more adventurous trips with 49% of 55-64 year olds saying they would like to take time out to travel.
P&O Cruises managing director Carol Marlow said:
“Long cruises have perennially been a favourite with older travellers who prefer more comfort and Oriana’s first Autumn world circumnavigation, which sets sail next Thursday, September 23, is testament to this.”
The 84-night cruise offers an alternative to the customary New Year departure. Oriana will call at 28 ports in 19 countries including Acapulco; Margarita Island, Venezuela; Kahalui, Hawaii; Phu My, Vietnam; Singapore and Ko Samui, Thailand.
Of the 1710 passengers on board, one third will be on board for the full cruise, half of the remaining will be doing long cruises to or from Australasia – such as 49-nights from Auckland to Southampton – whilst the balance will join the ship at intervals for two or three week exotic holidays on sectors of the itinerary.
During the cruise passengers will be entertained by Gary Wilmot, comedians Les Dennis and Roy Walker, legendary British personalities Des O’Connor and Tom O’ Connor, singer Matt Monro Jnr and 60s swingers The Merseys. There will also be performances reflecting the ports of call including New Zealand South Island vocalists, a Maori group and vocal performances from the Headliners Theatre Company as well as a variety of musical and theatrical shows.
There will be after dinner speakers on a variety of topics including maritime history, ornithology, murder mysteries and fingerprints. For those more nimble-footed there will be a tap masterclass from dance supremo Lionel Blair.
“A world cruise is the ultimate extended holiday experience and we are seeing increased demand for the full trip not only from regular cruisers but also from first timers looking for a different, once in a lifetime experience. Our passenger research has shown that the grown up gap year is becoming increasingly popular as people evaluate their lives and recognise the value of seeing the world and revisiting the must-see destinations. Oriana’s autumn departure has been a popular choice, arriving home in time for Christmas.” Said Marlow
Oriana will sail from Southampton at 18:00 on Thursday, September 23 and her departure will be celebrated by a traditional champagne Sailaway party with a brass band, confetti cannons, flame throwers and pyrotechnics.