9-Month Cruise Passenger Reveals Details of 2 Options Cruisers Will Vote On After Forced Rerouting (Exclusive)

Passenger Brandee Lake tells PEOPLE those aboard Royal Caribbean's Ultimate World Cruise are lobbying for each option — but for her, it's an easy decision

<p>Courtesy Brandee Lake; Jeff Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty</p>

Courtesy Brandee Lake; Jeff Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty

After being presented with a major itinerary change, passengers on the 9-Month cruise will vote on what to do — and cruiser Brandee Lake is sharing the breakdown of both options.

The Brannon Files podcaster and Royal Caribbean Ultimate World Cruise guest chatted with PEOPLE amid news that the voyage, which kicked off in December 2023, would be switching up its itinerary to avoid the Red Sea and Suez Canal amid continued unrest in the Middle East.

Lake, 46, said in a phone call from Honolulu on Monday that there are two route options that have to decide between with a vote.

The first is "Immersive Africa," which "includes more of mainland Africa" like Senegal and Ghana, plus islands including the Seychelles, Madagascar and Mauritius.



However, it would sacrifice planned stops at the pyramids in Egypt, as well as in Turkey and a more extensive stop in Greece.

The second option is a route that will put passengers closer to the original itinerary more quickly. It includes the aforementioned stops in Egypt, Turkey, and Greece, but sacrifices "more sub-Saharan Africa," Lake explains.

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Related: Royal Caribbean Confirms It's 'Reviewing Alternative' Routes for 9-Month Cruise Due to Middle East Unrest



Royal Caribbean shared in a statement with PEOPLE earlier this month that the around-the-world voyage aboard the Serenade of the Seas, which has gained a huge following on TikTok, may face itinerary adjustments that would be announced later in February.

"The safety of our guests and crew is our top priority, and we are monitoring what is taking place in and around the Red Sea," a spokesperson for the company said in a statement on Feb. 9.

They added, "In looking ahead at potential itinerary adjustments, we are currently reviewing alternatives for Serenade of the Seas, which is currently scheduled to transit the Suez Canal in May. Our guests and travel partners will receive an update from us in mid-February."

The cruise line confirmed to PEOPLE on Friday that it has decided to cancel the nine-month voyage's original itinerary through the Red Sea and Suez Canal to keep its passengers and crew members safe, though they did not reveal details of the two potential new routes at the time.

<p>Courtesy Brandee Lake</p>

Courtesy Brandee Lake

Related: 9-Month Cruise Included Stops in Russia, Israel but Rerouted to Avoid Conflicts, Says Passenger (Exclusive)

Lake and her fellow passengers, who are currently on their way to the Oceania and Asia portion of their trip, had a deadline of Feb. 20 to submit any questions about the reroute options. Voting will commence on Monday, with a decision announced Tuesday.

And while passengers are lobbying for what they feel would be the best choice, for Lake, there is "only one choice — which I think should've been [included] in the first place to really see the whole world, which is to include more of mainland Africa."

She also tells PEOPLE that adding to her vote, is the fact that the pyramids are not an included World Wonder experience — meaning passengers would have to pay an additional fee for that excursion — and that a lot could change in terms of political conflict in the region in the next few months.

"[Egypt is] still [part of] the Middle East region. And between now and May is a very long time, seeing that it's unrest there," Lake says. "Option two is not very guaranteed."

And while she allows that "nothing's guaranteed in the world we live in," Lake adds, "You could choose option two and then we could be midway down the speedy route, skipped all these ports in Africa we could have gone to and then still end up not being able to go [to Egypt]."

The trip is set to conclude on Sept. 10, 2024 after the Mediterranean and European segments. In total, the sailing's original itinerary was set to cover 11 world wonders and travel to more than 60 countries in 274 days. Prices for the full experience ranged from $53,999 per person to $117,599 per person.

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