For the past year he had been traveling alone on an ocean liner called the Cote d’Ivoire and had seen both poles, five oceans, the Amazon and the Nile.

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Does such a thing exist? If so, how would one see about traveling aboard one?

Edit 4/14/2015

I think I value the mystique of a small ship built for practical purposes with a limited crew (perhaps 30-40). I'd like to be at sea at my own leisure, but perhaps surrounded by a crew working on one job or another, such as marine biologists. Another example I found of a similar ship would be Jacques Cousteau's ship Calypso, which looks very similar in shape and size to the vessel in The Royal Tenenbaums: Calypso, from Le Monde du Silence (Screenshot from Le Monde du Silence)


The answer will vary a bit depending on whether you are simply interested in going from port to port, or if you have specific destinations in mind.

RTW by Ocean Liner

Many passenger lines have vessels that operate around the world or close to it, on a set itinerary, and a web search for "around the world cruise" will turn up options from Cunard, P&O, Princess, Silver Sea, Regent, and so on. I didn't see any that covered both poles, but five oceans and the Amazon and the Nile could be possible. Holland America operates a 113-day "Grand World Voyage" stopping at around 40 ports, on which a "Deluxe Verandah Suite" starts at US$155,200 for two. This seems to be the sort of trip Richie Tanenbaum was on.

RTW by Freighter

As an alternative, however, one can arrange for passage on cargo ship. Someone looking for peace and quiet on the ocean may not find it on an ocean liner with a thousand other passengers, or on a cruise ship with two thousand other passengers, but passage on a freighter means there will probably be no more than a dozen passengers total, plus the crew.

I would not be deterred by the dismal depiction of onboard life in The Life of Pi; the quality of accommodations and amenities will vary by ship. No freighter will be mistaken for the Queen Mary II, but then, you can find round-the-world freighter voyages for under $15,000. SeaPlus.com is a guide for freighter travel, and Flightless Travel's Cargo Ship page has some useful links.

RTW by Sailboat

Since we're on the topic of water travel around the globe, I'll add a note on sailing trips. A sailboat trip around the world can take years, and unlike the other two options requires your active participation and physical hardship, so you can't just walk up and buy passage with just anyone. There are several outfits like Clipper Round the World, however, that will take people with no experience and train them. If you're an experienced mariner and have your own boat, you could also look into "cruising rallies" organized by groups like the World Cruising Club.


Though not only focused on ocean liners, you may find useful answers on What is the LONGEST Tour operated by travel companies? question.

Among others, there are some world-wide cruises:

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