Cella Baker landed in Anchorage lately after a outstanding round-the-world journey. Even though she didn’t technically circumnavigate the globe, she no doubt didn’t sit down nonetheless making her method from nation to nation.
“I’ve been to 140 nations,” she mentioned. “The very first thing I do is discover ways to say ‘hi’ and ‘thanks’ within the native language. In this commute, I feel we went to 46 nations.”
Baker’s adventure began remaining November in Aruba. She have been employed via Oceania Cruises to paintings on a round-the-world cruise. However the send, the Insignia, was once laid up right through the COVID pandemic. A part of her activity was once to get it able to sail once more.
“We had been channeling Jules Verne,” she mentioned. “However as an alternative of going world wide in 80 days, we added some other 100 days.”
The Insignia, inbuilt 1999, is 594 ft lengthy and holds 656 passengers and 400 workforce contributors. After her retrofit in Aruba, the send sailed to New York to pick out up its first passengers on Dec. 21, 2021.
Baker’s activity aboard the send is a “Oceania Membership Ambassador.” She sells long run cruises to visitors on board, manages a loyalty program and guides excursions in port. Some visitors at the send take the whole 180-day cruise, whilst others sail particular segments of the itinerary.
“That is my retirement activity,” she mentioned. “I retired two years in the past and went to sea!”
Oceania Cruises has presented the round-the-world commute since 2015. “We’ve some visitors who’ve been six occasions,” mentioned Baker.
“We controlled COVID in point of fact neatly on board the send, however there have been ever-changing protocols on shore.”
The ones “ever-changing protocols” led to a few re-routing in the course of their adventure.
After leaving Los Angeles on Jan. 6, the Insignia made it so far as French Polynesia earlier than turning round. Most of the Asian ports-of-call nonetheless had been closed to cruise ships.
“We did a U-turn in Tahiti,” mentioned Baker. “We went again throughout the Panama Canal and spent a couple of month within the Caribbean. From there we went to Europe, Israel, the japanese Mediterranean, the Greek Isles, round Italy, France, Spain and Gibraltar. Then we sailed as much as the Baltic area.”
Baker simply recollects the spur-of-the-moment itinerary adjustments and the entire making plans that had to be achieved on-the-fly.
“While you trip right through a deadly disease, it’s a must to be versatile. You can’t have set expectancies,” she mentioned.
However the brand new port calls yielded some superb reviews.
“We had been probably the most first actual ships allowed in Istanbul,” mentioned Baker. “I escorted an evening excursion to the Blue Mosque house right through Ramadan. We noticed households come and unfold out picnic blankets on a big 100-acre lawn house for a party. And it was once a party each evening (right through Ramadan).”
Some other journey when the send referred to as in Italy was once truffle looking in Tuscany. “We went out with two guys and their canines. And sure, the canines did the digging,” she mentioned.
Cruising within the Atlantic, the Insignia referred to as in Funchal, Madeira. Simply off the coast of Africa, the island is managed via the Portuguese and is understood for its port wine.
Baker went with a bunch on a cable automobile as much as the highest of a mountain at the island. From there, they went again downhill in sleds with comfortable chairs. “It was once essentially the most amusing,” mentioned Baker. “Each and every sled had two gondoliers that prompt the sled down the steep streets.”
In Montenegro, which is north of Albania and south of Croatia, the cruise line organized a excursion of an olive grove. After they arrived, the farmer met them they usually had an olive-oil tasting within the box. From there, the crowd went to the farmer’s house for a wine tasting.
Different eating occasions had been extra extravagant. “We had dinner underneath the ocean,” mentioned Baker. “We went to the decrease stage of the Nationwide Aquarium in Copenhagen,” she mentioned.
“Maximum visitors are of their 60s and 70s,” mentioned Baker. “Of the 250 round-the-world cruisers, there have been some mother-daughter pairs, in addition to some recently-retired visitors. Additionally, there have been some who offered the entirety and made up our minds to move world wide. Others offered their properties, put the entirety in garage and used the commute as a sabbatical.”
The visitors on board got here from 15-20 nations, in line with Baker. The workforce contributors got here from 30-50 nations. “It’s like a bit of United International locations on board,” mentioned Baker.
Wanderlust at all times has been a part of Baker’s tale since she set to work within the trip industry. That comes with jobs in inns, at trip companies and with cruise strains. “It is a nice retirement activity. I am getting paid to look the sector in some way that I couldn’t come up with the money for. And that makes it the entire extra attention-grabbing,” she mentioned.
What’s subsequent? Neatly, Baker is scheduled to paintings the 2023 itinerary for Oceania. “Subsequent 12 months, we’re going to Antarctica,” she mentioned. “Subsequent 12 months will likely be my 3rd attempt to get world wide. The cruise in 2020 were given canceled and this 12 months we needed to make a U-turn.”
The 2023 itinerary additionally integrated some Alaska ports: Dutch Harbor, Juneau and Ketchikan. Oceania provides a 198-day itinerary leaving simply after Christmas, on Dec. 28, 2022 from Miami. Staterooms are to be had from $47,199 in keeping with particular person.