The world's longest continuous cruise set sail from London this week for an epic odyssey that spans six continents, 51 countries and 111 ports in 245 days.

Viking Cruise ship
Viking Cruises's new journey is attempting to set a Guinness world record. Image by Viking Cruises

Viking Cruises has just launched the Ultimate World Cruise, an eight-month journey that will attempt to set a Guinness world record for the "longest continuous passenger cruise." The cruise set sail from London on 31 August on the Viking Sun ship and will take passengers through Scandinavia, Iceland and Greenland before sailing along North America's east coast and into the Caribbean and South America. Guests will then journey down through the tropical islands of the South Pacific, and into Australia and Asia before sailing the Mediterranean for the final stage of the journey. The ship will return to London in May 2020 where an official from Guinness World Records will be waiting to verify the achievement.

Viking Ocean Ship Interiors.jpg
Interior of the ship's winter garden. Image by Viking Cruises.

Torstein Hagen, the chair of Viking, says: "our ultimate world cruise is the most extensive itinerary available in the industry, nearly double the length of our previous world cruise itineraries." He describes the journey as "the thinking person's cruise" thanks to Viking’s 'Culture Curriculum' which offers regional entertainment and lectures, as well as learning opportunities with on-board historians. Guests also have the chance to take part in optional excursions that will provide insight into local life at various ports of call. That might mean visiting little-known gems, learning to cook regional food or meeting with local cultural organisations.

Viking Cruise pool
The journey takes place on board the Viking Sun ship. Image by Viking Cruises.

Viking Cruises bills the cruise as "the journey of a lifetime" but a journey like this doesn't come cheap. Prices started at around £66,990 ($80,567) for the trip and the most expensive suite is £194,390 ($233,788). All meals, and beer and wine with lunch and dinner are included, as well as 24-hour room service, Wi-Fi, business class airfare and shore excursions at each port of call.

If you missed your spot and have a pretty clear calendar for next year, there's a slightly cheaper and shorter option that departs from Los Angeles for a 111-day trip from £32,000 ($38,490).

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