Give the Gift of Cruise: 15 Bucket List Destinations
As we near the end of 2021, it comes as no surprise that after the past two years everyone is itching to get suitcases out and cruise again! As we start to plan our next vacations or possibly purchase trips as holiday gifts for others, we encourage you to think big and consider the destinations you’ve only dreamed of cruising to one day.
If you have a Future Cruise Credit (FCC) you may want to take a closer look at the terms and see if traveling to your dream bucket list destination might be more attainable than you think. From the FCC bonus value along with promotions from the cruise lines, it's quite possible that the Alaskan adventure or Mediterranean excursion you’ve always wished for might be a reality!
Need a little travel planning inspiration? We’re sharing 15 cruise destinations that should definitely be on your bucket list...
1. Maui, Hawaii
Say Aloha to this Hawaiian island that’s a top pick for sun-seekers, golfers, families, and honeymooners alike. Maui exceeds its reputation as one of the world’s most fabulous tropical vacation destinations. With talcum powder beaches, jungle waterfalls, a volcanic landscape, effusive sea life, haute cuisine, and award-winning luxury resorts, you’ll find every tropical pleasure you can dream of in Maui.
Santorini is the spot most people think of when they dream about visiting the Greek Islands: brilliant white houses and blue-domed churches clinging to dark volcanic cliffs and the hot sun illuminating an endless panorama of the Aegean Sea. It’s home to black-sand beaches, the prehistoric ruins of Akrotiri, vineyards, and two photogenic cliff-hugging towns called Fira and Oia. You will find Santorini as a port stop on most Greek Isles cruise itineraries as well as some Eastern Mediterranean routes.
A cruise transiting through the Panama Canal is something you will never forget! The fifty-one-mile waterway is among one of the world’s greatest engineering marvels. You will be amazed watching as the ship glides down the canal with inches to spare, through locks that raise and lower it like a toy. Along the way, it crosses the enormous Gatun Lake and amazing Gaillard Cut. Panama Canal transits are commonly found on Central and South American routes, some Caribbean routes, and World routes.
Kotor, a natural harbor on the Adriatic coast of Montenegro, was an important artistic and commercial center with famous masonry and iconography schools in the Middle Ages. A large number of its monuments, churches, and town walls were heavily damaged by an earthquake in 1979, but the town is now completely restored. Today if you come to Kotor, you will be blown away by the picturesque scenery of the stunning peninsula. The steep mountainous hillsides combined with the Old City of Kotor are a scene straight out of a postcard!
Only a few select cruise lines (Celebrity, Silversea, Viking Ocean, and Avalon Waterways) have ports of calls in the Galapagos, making the area one of the most unique cruise regions you will find. For wildlife lovers, the Galapagos should be at the top of your bucket list. Here you will have the opportunity to get close and visit the natural habitats of Galapagos penguins, Pacific green sea turtles, sea lions, land iguanas, giant tortoises, and many other rare animal species only found in the Galapagos.
Rome has been one of the world’s great destinations for centuries, from its ancient origins to its role in modern-day cinema from “Roman Holiday” to “Eat Pray Love.” Today, the Eternal City inspires all who visit its museums, fountains, and iconic buildings — both ancient and contemporary mixing with architecture from the medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and rococo periods. Don’t forget about the food - the pasta, pizza, gelato, and fritti are never-ending!
What makes a trip to Rome most unforgettable is the opportunity to visit the Vatican City enclave where you have the opportunity to tour the magnificent Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, St. Peter’s Square, and the art treasures of the Vatican Museum.
Say 'G'day' to one of the most beautiful cities in the world. You will find Sydney is one of the most common stops on Australia/New Zealand routes, along with South Pacific routes. You can’t go to Sydney without checking out the iconic Sydney Opera House on Bennelong Point, strolling along world-famous Bondi and Watsons Beaches, or meeting some of the local Australian wildlife. This diverse land is home to crocodiles, koalas, emus, and, of course, kangaroos.
Vienna is a magnificent city drenched in rich history and beautiful architecture. It’s a staple on many Western European river cruise routes. In Vienna, you will find the Schönbrunn Palace, the “Versailles of Vienna,” the magnificent home of the Hapsburg Dynasty built to rival the sprawling Versailles in France.
Towering above the city streets is the massive St. Stephen's Cathedral, the centerpiece of the city built in the early 12th century. It was here that mourners came to pay their respects to Amadeus Mozart in 1791 and the location of Napoleon’s farewell edict in 1805. The cathedral weathered attacks from German and Russian armies in WW2. Although much of the original structure of St. Stephen’s has since been destroyed, the cathedral remains an active house of worship and is one of Vienna’s most popular destinations for travelers.
This beautiful Spanish city also has the country’s largest cruise port. The cruise dock is right at the end of Las Ramblas, the heart of Barcelona. In Barcelona, you will find gorgeous Gothic architecture, spectacular cathedrals, amazing tapas bars, and a stunning waterfront. Although Barcelona is in Spain, the city’s native tongue is Catalan.
One of Barcelona’s must-see attractions is La Sagrada Familia, a large gothic Roman Catholic basilica that towers over the city. Designed by architect Antonio Gaudi, La Sagrada Familia has been under construction since 1892. The architecture, design, and enormity of the basilica is unlike anything else you will see in the world.
Beautiful Moorea and Papeete - Photos by Canva
In Moorea, you'll find the real South Pacific experience -- a casual, barefoot paradise with white sand beaches and lagoons surrounded by jagged mountains and volcanic spires that reach into the clouds. Below, the valleys are blanketed with the colors that one only finds when tropical climates and rich, volcanic soils meet.
Honorable mention in this same region goes to Papeete, Tahiti. The largest of the Society Islands in French Polynesia, Tahiti held a magical attraction for artist Paul Gauguin and writer Robert Louis Stevenson. Beach seekers will love listening to the winds whistling through casuarina trees while sitting on a secluded black-sand shore, or casually strolling through beautiful botanical gardens to marvel at the island’s flora.
Find Cruises to French Polynesia
The Danube River splits the gorgeous city of Budapest - Photo by Canva
Split between the Danube River into once two separate towns - Buda and Pest, the capital of Hungary is a city that melds the architecture and history of the past with a present vibrant, contemporary scene. Budapest is a walkable city and it is easy to explore both sides in just one day. In Buda, you will find the impressive Royal Palace and a myriad of charming cobblestone streets which date to medieval times. As you make your way across the Danube River to Pest, you will find the National Opera House and the historic Heroes’ Square. Like Vienna, you will find Budapest on many Western European river cruises.
Colorful Buenos Aires - Photo by Canva
Buenos Aires is a very European city located in the heart of Argentina. German and Italian cultures combine with the Spanish native tongue and flavor of Buenos Aires. If you leave Buenos Aires without seeing a tango show, you have missed out!
One of the top reasons to visit Buenos Aires is the food - it’s a culinary haven! Grilled meats in Buenos Aires are an art form, be sure to sample a variety of steakhouses (Parrillas) when you visit. Argentina is also a major producer of wine. Foodies, be sure to splurge on a bottle of Argentine red with your steak!
The city of Dubai is home to the world's tallest building - Photo by Canva
13. Dubai, U.A.E.
Dubai is a sprawling city that has grown enormously in recent decades. Here, you'll find everything you could possibly ask for in a modern metropolis: world-class shopping, towering skyscrapers, and fantastic dining. Dubai offers both a beachfront and desert experience. The sandy shores of Kite and Sunset Beaches overlooking the iconic sail-shaped Burj Al Arab hotel are a perfect way to spend the day in Dubai. Just outside the city, you can go on a desert safari complete with sandboarding and camel rides.
Want to take in a view of it all? Dubai is home to the Burj Khalifa, currently the world’s tallest building. The Burj Khalifa has an observation deck on the 124th and the 148th floors, and a restaurant-bar on the 122nd floor. You will find Dubai as a port of call on a number of itineraries on several cruise lines including Oceania, Princess, MSC, Seabourn, Norwegian, Crystal, Regent Seven Seas, Azamara, and others.
Glacier Bay in Alaska is not to be missed - Photo by Canva
While you technically cannot port and get off the ship to explore Glacier Bay, it makes our list of bucket list destinations as it’s among one of the most unique Alaskan ports. If your ship includes a ‘stop’ in Glacier Bay, you will spend the day onboard sailing through this phenomenal area of the Alaskan countryside sightseeing from your ship. The Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve covers more than three million square miles of soaring mountains and ancient glaciers. As your ship sails through the area, you will be able to see the incomparable views of the towering walls of the Margerie and Johns Hopkins Glaciers, and the waters of the Lituya Bay fjord. Glacier Bay is home to a wide array of wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for seals and whales splashing in the water, bears on the shore, and eagles circling in the air.
If you plan on sailing to Glacier Bay, we recommend selecting a cabin with a balcony so you can take in the magnificent views from the comfort of your own room!
Paris is known as 'The City of Lights' - Photo by Canva
The ‘City of Lights’ is typically on every traveler's bucket list for good reason. Paris is home to some of the world’s best museums, restaurants, and cultural attractions. Perhaps more so than many other European cities, Paris is synonymous with an abundance of landmarks to visit - from the iconic Eiffel Tower, the gothic Notre Dame Cathedral, the Arc De Triomphe, and the magnificent Louvre and Centre Pompidou Museums. Paris is a culinary enthusiasts’ dream destination. From haute cuisine in Michelin-starred restaurants to sipping coffee and sampling fresh-baked croissants at an outdoor cafe, Paris has something to please any traveler’s palate.
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