Okay, cruise aficionados, we’re going to put you to the test this week. We know the majority of you are well-travelled cruisers with multiple voyages under your collective belts. We also know you’re extremely discerning when it comes to holidays at sea, and you value the better things in the cruise world, with an instinctive understanding of what is desirable and what isn’t.
But, if you could choose anywhere in the world to visit, where would you go? Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson set the bar in their classic 2007 movie The Bucket List, visiting the Taj Mahal, Great Wall of China, Mount Everest and the Pyramids.
Now, if you had to refine your selection just to cruises, what would be on YOUR Bucket List?
It’s a great question, and it’s one that has sparked all kinds of debate here at Veness Towers this week. Admittedly, we’ve been cruising for more than 40 years and have enjoyed the best part of 100 voyages, but there are still places we want to try for the first time or revisit.
So, with no further ado, here are our Notable Nine Cruise Bucket List aspirations for ocean-going adventure, along with deluxe choices for cruising there:
This is very possibly the most exotic and evocative cruise destination of them all, with impossibly blue seas, spectacular coral atolls, emerald green tropical foliage and wonderfully hospitable people. The likes of Tahiti, Bora Bora and Moorea sound like they have sprung from the pages of a dramatic novel (in many ways they have, thanks to the works of James A Michener), and they are all perfectly accessible on a typical seven-day cruise, with the kind of weather we can only dream about in the winter.
Cruise Bucket List option: Year-round with Paul Gauguin Cruises.
The Northwest Passage
The fabled sea route to Asia has been part of maritime lore almost ever since people first started dedicating themselves to things that float. For centuries, this perilous journey across the ‘roof’ of Canada was the stuff of European adventurers’ dreams, but now it is increasingly an option with expedition-style cruise companies. It features Arctic waters from Greenland to Alaska, with glorious new vistas and stunning wildlife on a daily basis.
The Greek Islands
When it comes to laid-back holiday-making, no-one beats the Greeks for that relaxed, convivial and foodie-flavoured vacation among the islands of the Cyclades, where white-washed towns and villages, blissful beaches and welcoming tavernas make up a tantalising array of temptation. Many companies feature the Greek isles as a destination in their own right, and any voyage here is guaranteed to transport you into a timeless realm of relaxed tranquillity.
Madagascar And The Seychelles
Here are more of those dreamy, far-off destinations that sound utterly appealing and are, in fact, as good as they sound. The Seychelles are the paradise islands you’ve seen in countless TV commercials, while Madagascar is one of the most powerfully wildlife-rich places on the planet. Combine the two and you have a natural landscape of tropical idylls and animal adventure, all wrapped up in a series of Indian Ocean islands that are best explored by sea.
Cruise Bucket List option: The new 15-night expedition cruise from Hapag-Lloyd, sailing round-trip from Mauritius and featuring multiple days on the islands.
Vietnam & Cambodia
When it comes to river-cruising, the Mekong River that rises in Cambodia and completes its journey to the sea in southern Vietnam is a relative newcomer to the major cruise lines, but it is now a mainstream choice that highlights a wealth of cultural experiences in south-east Asia. With the journey from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap (or vice versa), it is one of the most immersive voyages in the great cruise compendium today.
We never tire of cruising in this majestic part of the world, and the good news is there are increasingly varied options to experience it, from some of the smallest ships to some of the largest. The typical seven-day Inside Passage voyage is still the stock in trade, but longer sailings are now possible, along with true expedition-style cruising that takes visitors into the heart of the region’s astounding flora and fauna.
Cruise Bucket List option: Seabourn’s Ultimate Alaska 12-night voyage that takes in all the major ports of the region, plus several that are well off the beaten track, like the Inian Islands and Rudyerd Bay.
Line Voyage to Australia
Sailing from Britain to Australia is practically a part of cruising’s DNA, as it was the classic Clipper Route from the 17th to the 19th centuries, before the advent of steam engines. In the 20th century, it became the preserve of long-distance travellers who wanted the pure maritime experience, sailing from Southampton to Sydney. Today, it is the rare preserve of a handful of lines who value this time-consuming but intensely experiential voyage.
Snake & Columbia Rivers
River-cruising continues to push the envelope of destinations around the world, and this north-west US route is one of the freshest and most enticing. Go back to the 19th century and it was the preserve of adventurers and pioneers, but now it is open to all-comers, with a spread of unique culture, history, sight-seeing and tastes, notably from the burgeoning wine industry in the region, which provides great opportunities for wine-tasting cruises.
Cruise Bucket List option: Any voyage on the classic SS Legacy of UnCruise Adventures from September to November.
Perhaps the ultimate Cruise Bucket List destination, though, remains the eternal fascination with the South Pole and the vast continent of Antarctica. This is a realm of magnificent, unparalleled scenery, intense wildlife, and a sense of being on the very fringes of what we like to call civilisation. Each voyage is an adventure of the most extreme kind, hence only a handful of companies operate here. It remains No.1 for us, though and we will get there, eventually!
So, tell us – what’s on YOUR cruise Bucket List? Tell us all about your most desired future voyages in the Comments section below.