It's the travel experience that promises all-inclusive luxury while visiting over 60 countries so it's fair to say a few surprises were to be expected for passengers aboard the Royal Caribbean world cruise.
And after departing last month and setting sail for Antarctica, a miscommunication left some with a soggy bum and "licking ice" to make the most of it.
The 1,500 passengers knew they would not be able to step foot on the coolest continent in the interest of not "damaging its ecosystem" and instead a team of photographers would disembark to capture images of the wildlife — as well as bring something back to the boat for them.
"A lot of the smaller expedition cruisers provide an excursion where you can jump into the water, it's called a polar plunge," 23-year old Anastasia from the US told Yahoo News Australia. "Instead of letting everyone jump into water, they just picked up a chunk of ice that was already floating and had already separated."
Readying herself for a large piece of ice she "admittedly thought would fill the pool", she said she laughed out loud when she caught sight of what was actually hoisted aboard.
"I don't think they said how much it weighed, but I would say it was only two metres wide and one metre tall," she said, surprised by the "small" size of it.
Ice displayed on pool deck for passengers
The ice was placed in a communal spot where all passengers could gain access and interact with it, with many posing for pictures while sitting or lying on the ice.
"Some people even licked the ice but that was where I drew the line. I did not lick the public ice," she confirmed jokingly. "I think it stayed up there for a good four or five days before it finally melted... It was a wild ride, definitely a positive experience."
Anastasia uploaded a video online highlighting the misunderstanding and many questioned why passengers would choose to travel to Antarctica and face the Drake Passage — a body of water deemed the most treacherous voyage for a ship to take — if they could not set foot on land.
However, Anastasia believes this is the best option given the world cruise allows her to travel to multiple destinations and ultimately opted for this travel option.
World cruise has 'created community' for those on board
With the passengers having many days at sea while they travel between continents, Anastasia pointed to another experience she didn't expect to have when she booked her ticket — which cost her just over $65,000.
"What's really surprised me is how much a community has formed on board," she said. "Nobody on the boat really has anywhere to be on sea days... it's quite an adventure meeting people."
She said there is a mix of nationalities on the cruise with Aussies, Chinese, American and European passengers all forming bonds, regardless if they're retired, health care professionals or IT specialists.
With 230 days left of her world adventure, Anastasia is excited to experience more countries, and is particularly looking forward to visiting Australia in March.
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