There are so many places in the world I would love to visit and see with my own eyes. But with so many destinations on my travel bucket list, I’m not sure I’ve got the time (or the funds!) to see them all. However, I think by taking one (or two or more!) of these 11 Bucket List Cruises, I stand a good chance of ticking them off!
Bucket List Cruises
I have never been on a cruise. My husband and I have talked about it a few times, but it’s one of those things that hasn’t happened yet. With our big 10 year wedding anniversary in 2019, it is certainly time to think about how we would like to celebrate. Maybe one of these bucket list cruises could be the thing?
My in-laws have been on several cruises, and I am always impressed with how many different places they get to see on one trip. I love seeing their pictures and hearing their stories when they return home.
Having one base (even if that is floating on the sea!) is very appealing to me. I am not a backpacking type of woman, and being able to unpack all of our clothes/toiletries etc., whilst travelling to lots of different ports of call is wonderful. Plus you have all your dining, entertainment and amenities on board, so that’s one less thing you have to worry about. You can find great cruise offers here.
All that said, lets get on with the 11 Bucket List Cruises…
My number one reason for wanting to visit Alaska, the USA’s 49th State, is the nature and wildlife. It’s not know as The Last Frontier for nothing – with vast, unspoilt by man wilderness, majestic snow capped mountains, magnificent glaciers, boreal forests, and amazing wildlife. I long to see a whale breaching out of the sea, or hear the piercing cry of a bald eagle in the distance.
An excursion to a National Park would be on the to-do list, in the hope of spotting a moose, or even a bear or wolf in the distance. I’d also like to immerse myself into the indigenous history with a trip to Anchorage’s Alaska Native Heritage Center to learn about the Iñupiat, Yupik, Aleut, Eyak, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, and a number of Northern Athabaskan cultures that all reside in Alaska.
Alaska feels like a cruise destination that would stay with you for a lifetime.
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Another chilly destination, but somewhere that I have always wanted to go. A colleague of my husband went on an Antarctic cruise many years ago, and I was fascinated to learn this was a thing you could actually do. For most of us, the Antarctic is something we see on a David Attenborough documentary!
And why do I want to see this inhospitable, freezing wilderness? Once again, it’s the wildlife… and those ice floes. During a summer cruise, you could catch a view of of the migrating whales which include blue, humpback, and minke. Or if really lucky, maybe a pack of orca on the hunt.
But honestly, for me, it’s the penguins. They’re one of my favourite animals and I would love to see them in the wild.
To cruise the Antarctic you generally start in South America, which gives you the opportunity to explore ports at countries like Chile, Peru, Uruguay and Argentina.
Australia seems to be a country that loads of my old school friends have either visited, gap year-ed there or emigrated to. From a little girl, I have always wanted to go to Australia to see the kangaroos, and to visit the Great Barrier Reef – snorkelling in it if I could. I think that boils down to watching a lot of nature documentaries growing up (my dad loved them, and so do I).
One stop on many Down Under cruises is Kangaroo Island off the coast of Adelaide which I really hope lives up to its name! Australia.com says: You’d be right to assume that in a place named after our furry marsupials, there’ll be plenty of them bouncing around. With more than one third of protected by national parks, conservation parks and reserves, there’s loads of space for them to roam free – so much so that hire car companies won’t allow you to drive between dusk and dawn.
Australia’s most recognisable city has to be Sydney, with its iconic harbour, featuring the Sydney Opera House. Plus there is the famous Bondi Beach here too. Melbourne, Australia’s second largest city and is considered to be the country’s cultural capital, with its many art galleries, museums, live music scene and notable food and wine culture.
And, if you can tack some time onto either end of your cruise, an trip to Australia wouldn’t be complete without heading to the outback, and visiting Uluru – Ayers Rock in the Northern Territory of Australia. The nearest large city is Alice Springs, some 450km away! This sacred rock glows red at dawn and sunset.
It seems like a classic cruising destination, and maybe not quite bucket list worthy… but if you’ve never been to a Caribbean island before (which I haven’t) then it’s up there on the list. The plus for a Caribbean cruise, for me at least, is that they often sail from Florida. Which, if you’re a long time reader of The Purple Pumpkin Blog, is where our holiday home is at Walt Disney World! In fact our first cruise is likely to combine the two destinations!
When I think of the Caribbean I think of white sandy beaches, crystal blue seas, warm trade winds blowing through palm trees, and nothing more to do other than just… relax… and let all your cares drift away.
The Caribbean is made up of over 7000(!) islands, of which there are 26 countries. That doesn’t mean 7000 less 26 – some of the countries are made up of several islands. The Bahamas for example, are made up of more than 700 islands. I can’t possibly detail each one of them in this post, but it certainly is something for me to explore writing about in the future. In my archives you’ll find I’ve written about Barbados, as well as Antigua & Barbuda.
Whilst researching this post, I hadn’t realised that Cuba was classed as a Caribbean island. I would love to visit Old Havana, see the vintage cars, and buy a big fat cigar. I would love to snorkel in The Cayman Islands – it’s an obsession for me to snorkel somewhere tropical! And oh to get lost with nature in St. Lucia which is mostly covered in a lush green blanket of unspoilt rainforest, including the twin volcanic cones of the Petit Piton and Gros Piton. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and there are walking trails to explore. And if I could get to Trinidad on a cruise, then I’d make sure to pop by and say hello to an online friend!
5. Galápagos Islands
The recurring theme through many of these bucket list cruises is wildlife and nature. And The Galápagos Islands has got to be right there are the top of the list for seeing some of the world’s rarest flora and fauna.
Millions of years in the making, the volcanic Galápagos Islands are scattered across the Pacific Ocean off the western coast of South America. The Galápagos are made up of 21 islands – not all are accessible to the public, but there are 100+ official visitor sites to explore.
The vast array of wildlife across these tranquil islands includes 1,900 unique species. The highlands of Isla Santa Cruz are one of the few places you can spot giant tortoises in the wild, and the southernmost Española is the only nesting area of the colossal Waved Albatross. The seahorse-shaped Isabela Island is the only natural Northern Hemisphere habitat of tropical penguins, and home to the Flightless Cormorant while tiny South Plaza has a colony of prehistoric Galápagos land iguanas loitering around prickly pear cacti. – ROL Cruise.
And, if like me you were wondering if people live on the Galapágos Islands – Wiki tells me: People live on only 5 of the Galápagos: Baltra, Floreana, Isabela, San Cristobal and Santa Cruz. Puerto Ayora is the biggest town, where about 10,000 people live. Puerto Ayora is on Santa Cruz Island.
6. Islands of Indian Ocean
One of my wanderlust destination is The Maldives, which is a multi-island nation in the Indian Ocean. I would also love to go to Madagascar (maybe I’ve seen the Dreamworks film too many times when my son was a little boy!) to see the lemurs, so while scoping out cruises, I found one that would take you to The Maldives and Madagascar, but also the Seychelles, and India.
India is a country that has always fascinated me, and I would love to see it for myself one day. To me, these islands in the Indian Ocean are the quintessential tropical paradise, and once again, my reasons for wanting to visit is the wildlife.
7. Northern Lights + 8. Norwegian Fjords
This beautiful display of lights has to be on a lot of people’s bucket lists – it’s on mine!
The bright dancing lights of the aurora are actually collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the earth’s atmosphere. The lights are seen above the magnetic poles of the northern and southern hemispheres. They are known as ‘Aurora borealis’ in the north and ‘Aurora australis’ in the south..
Auroral displays appear in many colours although pale green and pink are the most common. Shades of red, yellow, green, blue, and violet have been reported. The lights appear in many forms from patches or scattered clouds of light to streamers, arcs, rippling curtains or shooting rays that light up the sky with an eerie glow. – Northern Lights Center
Since the cruise ship will be traversing Norway’s coast, it is also a good place for me to insert number 8 on this list of bucket list cruises – the Norwegian Fjords. The imposing peaks must be breathtaking to see.
9. Peru & Panama Canal
I remember seeing the locks being changed on the River Thames in Berkshire and how fascinating it was to see how the water levels raised and lowered to move the boats through. Now imagine this on an even grander scale, and you’ve got the Panama Canal. I watched a timelapse video of a ship going through the canal and was transfixed – as a modern day wonder of the world, it has to be on the bucket list!
The Panama Canal (Spanish: Canal de Panamá) is an artificial 77 km (48 mi) waterway in Panama that connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean. The canal cuts across the Isthmus of Panama and is a conduit for maritime trade. Canal locks are at each end to lift ships up to Gatun Lake, an artificial lake created to reduce the amount of excavation work required for the canal, 26 m (85 ft) above sea level, and then lower the ships at the other end. – Wiki
I have always wanted to visit Peru – I’m not sure why it fascinates me so much; but of all the South American countries, that one is at the top of my visit list. It may well be the thought of the ancient civilizations that lived there, or it might be the alpacas – or both! Would there be time to see Machu Picchu? I am not sure, but I think that is the beauty of cruising, you get a taster of all these destinations, and can come back again one day to explore further!
10. South Pacific Islands inc. Easter Island
The islands of the South Pacific are the ultimate in escape, as they are literally in the middle of nowhere. Yes I would love to visit Tahiti, or Bora Bora, or Mo’orea, but at the top of my list is Easter Island. I didn’t even know it was a place you could actually visit until I read about someone’s trip there in a travel magazine. Since then, it’s been on my bucket list. You can’t help but be mystified and enthralled by the giant statues on Easter Island. To see them with my own eyes would be incredible.
I love learning about the history and culture of different nations, and while at different island ports it might be nice to just lounge on a beach with a cocktail in hand, I know I’d love to explore as much as possible.
11: World Cruise
And finally a bucket list cruises list wouldn’t be complete with out the mother of all cruises – a world cruise! When my mum met my dad, she was saving up for a world cruising my working an extra job at the pub he was also working at. They ended up getting married and, she never did get to go on her cruise… maybe one day, if we win the lottery, I’ll take her!
A world cruise isn’t for the faint of heart – they are often very long – like, months long (which is understandable since you’re travelling around the world!), and the price tag is high. But, wow, the memories you make would be so worth it all!