What Is Happening On The Ultimate World Cruise? & Why Is TikTok So Obsessed?

By Olivia Emily

5 months ago

Is this the real life White Lotus?

A nine-month round-the-world cruise has captured TikTok’s attention. But why? Well, it’s another example of the famously unfiltered social media platform giving the world a snippet of insight into the lofty realms of the ultra elite. Here’s why the Ultimate World Cruise captures that so perfectly.

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Inside The Ultimate World Cruise

@brooklynschwetje The Ultimate World Cruise has made it to the Drake Passage!🥶🌊🚢🌎 #ultimateworldcruise #royalcaribbean #serenadeoftheseas #royalcaribbeancruise #royalcaribbeaninternationalcruise #worldcruise2023 #cruisetok #worldcruise #royalcaribbeanworldcruise #uwc #entertainment #cruisetok #cruisetiktok #cruisetiktoks #drakepassage #drakepassagetok #drakepassageday ♬ original sound – Brooklyn Schwetje

What Is The Ultimate World Cruise?

The Royal Caribbean Ultimate World Cruise is a nine-month tour of the world, which is taking place on the Serenade of the Seas ship. It set sail from Miami, Florida on 10 December 2023, and is set to take its passengers to 65 countries across all seven continents in a 274-night journey. Following visits to over 150 ports – and after soaking up the sight of 11 World Wonders (including Christ the Redeemer, the Great Barrier Reef and the Pyramids of Giza) – the cruise’s guests will arrive back in Miami on 10 September 2024.

The trip is split into four legs, and guests can opt to join for any part of the tour or for the entire thing. The legs are:

  • The Americas: 10 December 2023–11 February 2024
  • Asia Pacific: 11 February–9 May 2024
  • The Middle East and the Mediterranean: 9 May–10 July 2024
  • Europe & Beyond: 10 July–10 September 2024

A far cry from ‘quiet luxury’, cruises have always been ostentatious – and The Royal Caribbean Ultimate World Cruise is no exception. Indeed, a comically large number of the ship’s passengers are playing into the stereotype by broadcasting their experiences on TikTok – showcasing everything from bedroom tours to excursions off the ship, FAQ&As to videos of bizarre Christmas singalongs in what ultimately looks like a shopping centre – and turning the whole experience into, as one creator put it, a ‘nine month long reality show’. A group of these creators even joined forces to create a mock trailer introducing viewers to the ‘cast’ of the boat.

@brooklynschwetje The Ultimate Real World Cruise Full House Edition🥹🏠🫶🏼 #ultimateworldcruise #royalcaribbean #serenadeoftheseas #royalcaribbeancruise #royalcaribbeaninternationalcruise #worldcruise2023 #cruisetok #worldcruise #royalcaribbeanworldcruise #uwc #fullhouse ♬ Full House – The Hollywood Prime Time Orchestra

One older couple has created a TikTok account especially for the journey, using the handle @spendingourkidsmoney. ‘Hey kids, remember the time you thought you had inheritance?’ says Joe in the first video. ‘Well,’ he laughs. ‘Here we are. Your mom and I are sitting here spending it as we sail around the world on the Royal Caribbean Ultimate World Cruise.’

@spendingourkidsmoney #royalcaribbean #cruising #explore #WorldCruise #UltimateWorldCruise #UWC #Serenadeoftheseas #cruise #travel ♬ original sound – joe

(Side note: the frequency with which users say the name of the cruise in full is getting fishy. Could this be a brand partnership? An elaborate publicity stunt?)

Naturally, TikTok users are engrossed: #UltimateWorldCruise has over 175 million views, and #WorldCruise has over 140 million. Why? It’s simple: we love to glimpse into the lives of the super-rich, and practically inhale content like this. Think celebrity house tours, first class aeroplane experiences, ‘day in my life’ videos from private chefs in the Hamptons, and videos of people dining at ludicrously expensive restaurants. In the age of TikTok, that ‘glimpse’ is larger than ever before, with passengers religiously broadcasting their journeys to their fans who, in return, leave enthused questions and requests for more tours of the ship. Is it bragging when everyone is asking you to post about your $100,000 trip?

@anthonyantoine1021 Welcome home for 9 months… since a few of you have asked: YES, Im traveling solo. Here’s my room/home for 9 months. Wanna join me? 😜 #ultimateworldcruise #anthonyantoine #royalcaribbean #sernadeoftheseas ♬ original sound – Anthony Antoine

It’s an incredibly interesting microcosm, with some creators (who are watching from the shore) sharing witty ‘bingo’ cards for others following the voyage, some bearing disturbing similarities to Mike White’s TV series The White Lotus (with its elite clientele) and 2022’s black comedy Triangle of Sadness (with its ultraluxe cruise). As @whimsysoul’s bingo card predicts: pirate takeover, staff dates passenger, someone falls overboard, minor mystery to solve.

Meanwhile, other users are begging for a documentarian to board the ship and start filming, while hundreds of thousands of people tune into videos made by @nchimad, who has declared herself the ‘sea tea director’ and promised her followers she will talk about all of the cruise’s gossip and drama across its nine month voyage. Only one question remains: will the Ultimate World Cruise become a Below Deck style reality series, or a Fyre Festival style documentary?

@marcsebastianf there will be enough footage for at LEAST 3 season. 1 hr episodes. @Royal Caribbean PUT ME IN COACH #ultimateworldcruise #worldcruise #royalcaribbean #realitytv #cruise #serenadeoftheseas #uwc #royalcarribeancruise ♬ original sound – Marc Sebastian

How Much Does It Cost?

The extortionate price of a ticket aboard the Royal Caribbean Ultimate World Cruise is part of TikTok’s obsession with the whole thing: prices start at $59,999 per person for the whole tour in an Interior Stateroom (the simplest room, and it’s windowless) – or $53,999 if you’re willing to pay for the whole thing up front. A Junior Suite will set you back $117,999 per person, and if you’re after anything more lavish, you’ll have to send a dedicated enquiry. If you’re only interested in a section of the journey, prices are lower, starting at $13,399 per person for the Americas leg. Included in your ticket are all food, drink, internet and laundry services and, best of all, it’s nonrefundable.

Serenade of the Seas is the cruise ship hosting the Royal Caribbean Ultimate World Cruise

The Serenade of the Seas outside Seattle in 2021

What’s On Board?

The joy (or obscenity, depending how you look at it) of a cruise trip is that everything you could ever need is at your fingertips. At 965 feet long and 106 feet wide, the Serenade of the Seas ship is a whopper. On board, up to 2,476 guests can enjoy 12 decks (that is, 12 floors) of amenities, including: pools and whirlpools, a solarium, a library, a rock climbing wall, mini golf, a spa, an outdoor movie screen as well as a cinema, eight restaurants, 10 bars and lounges, an arcade, a casino, a ‘beach’, a theatre, a jogging track, a sports court, and even a medical centre.

For a pretty comprehensive overview, one guest, Madison Schwetje, actually filmed a cruise tour one night when she couldn’t sleep, which you can watch below.

@madisonschwetje When you can’t sleep on a cruise ship 😴😴 #ultimateworldcruise #royalcaribbean #serenadeoftheseas #royalcaribbeancruise #royalcaribbeaninternationalcruise #worldcruise2023 #cruisetok #worldcruise #royalcaribbeanworldcruise #uwc ♬ Golden Hour: Piano Version – Andy Morris


Discover more about the trip at royalcaribbean.com (or follow along with its adventure on TikTok…).

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