5 Breathtaking Cruises for Your Bucket List

Courtesy of VAX Vacation Access

Travelers are anticipated to go big when they finally leave home for a vacation. For cruisers, this can mean a very far away itinerary or an extended cruise in an exciting destination. Let’s check out some of the most unique cruises so you know what to consider next!

#1 America from Top to Bottom on The Mississippi River

Courtesy American Queen Steamboat Co.

The Mississippi River is one of the world’s major river systems in terms of size, habitat diversity and biological productivity. A cruise down this river is not only a relaxing way to see the U.S., but also a lesson on U.S. history more enticing than a round of Oregon Trail.

At 2,350 miles long, it’s the 2nd longest river in all of North America, going through 10 U.S. states. It’s a cultural treasure for the U.S. and a key part of the country’s commerce, as half of the corn and soybeans in the U.S. are barged on the river (in the part known as the Little Mississippi).

The river is not all work and no play, & cruisers can voyage the entire river from tip to tail with American Queen Voyages’ 16-day Minneapolis to New Orleans itinerary. Cruisers will embark on the American Countess, a paddlewheeler with an expansive panoramic view and 4 decks. The adventure flows down the river, with stops in Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Tennessee & Mississippi, as well as many opportunities for shore excursions to see the best of the cities on the river. Ending in New Orleans, cruisers can choose to spend extra time in the Big Easy.

#2 Expedition: Antarctica

Penguins on iceberg in Adelie, Antarctica
Courtesy Viking Ocean Cruises

Antarctica: the coldest, most windy, least populated, highest, iciest and southernmost continent. It’s definitely worth a once-in-a-lifetime visit, either via airplane or ship.

Antarctica is almost completely covered by an ice sheet & at 5.5 million square miles, that’s a ton of ice. Despite that, there are animals that live there like emperor penguins, Antarctic petrels (a type of bird), South Polar skuas (another type of bird), fur & leopard seals. The waters off Antarctica see many species of whales like humpback, blue, sperm and orca.

The harsh Antarctica environment does not welcome just any old cruise ship; only an expedition-designed ship will do. One great option aside from Viking is the Seabourn Venture, an ultra-luxury, purpose-built expedition ship. (and there are many more) Seabourn’s newest ship is scheduled for an all-new lineup of 2022-2023 Expedition itineraries in Antarctica & also the Amazon. Their 9 Antarctica voyages range from 10-21 days & offer cruisers incredible, unique excursions on The Great White Continent. An example of such excursions is an adventure on the ship’s 2 custom-designed submarines that take cruisers below sea level to explore what lies beneath. Two of the Extraordinary Expedition itineraries will head to South Georgia, one of the most remote and least-visited places on earth, and the Falkland Islands, located about 400 miles off the coast of Argentina.

#3 Marvel in the Mediterranean

Santorini courtesy Celebrity Cruises

The Mediterranean is considered one of the top tourism locations in the world, and while exploring it via train or even car are excellent choices, to cruise the region opens many more opportunities and experiences for travelers.

This region includes the Mediterranean Sea and seven Member States: France, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Greece, Malta & Cyprus. Its climate of dry & hot summers as well as humid, cool winters allows biodiversity to flourish. In fact, it’s estimated that 8-9% of all the world’s marine creatures call the Mediterranean Sea home.

#4 Join a Polar Expedition Around & In Greenland

Canadian Arctic | Greenland Cruise | Apex Expeditions
Greenland Cruise courtesy Apex Expeditions

At 836,000 square miles (that’s 3x the size of the state of Texas), Greenland is the world’s largest island, & one of the most exhilarating ways to explore it is by ship.

More than 4/5 of Greenland is covered in an ice sheet; an ice sheet that is second in size to Antarctica’s. The Ilulissat Icefjord on the island’s west coast is known as the “iceberg capital of the world,” as it’s home to thousands of icebergs that can be seen year-round. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so it’s legally protected by UNESCO to preserve its cultural, historical and scientific significance.

Ponant (cruise line) has a brand-new way for adventure lovers to experience Greenland: a 13-day Polar Odyssey between northeast Greenland and Spitsbergen. Aboard the first hybrid electric polar exploration ship, Le Commandant Charcot, cruisers will explore the island at the end of spring, when extreme conditions still remain and ice is abundant. They’ll visit the Northeast Greenland Park, the largest national park in the world and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Fjords, icebergs, glaciers, polar bears, musk oxen and walruses all await cruisers lucky enough to embark on this itinerary, which ends near Ny-Alesund, the international research base and former mining city, which was once the departure point for many expeditions to the north pole.

#5 An Enchanting Experience on The River Nile

AmaDahlia on the River Nile courtesy AmaWaterways

The Nile river is thought to be the longest river in the world (depending on who you ask; some people think the Amazon River is), and it is loaded with historic significance, which is why having the opportunity to cruise along its shores belongs on this bucket list of cruise experiences.

Spanning more than 4,000 miles and flowing through 11 countries of Africa, the Nile is referred to as the Father of African Rivers. Its banks were inhabited by people who were among the first of civilization to use a plow and establish agricultural practices. In 2013, it was designated as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa.

AmaDahlia Restaurant onboard, Courtesy AmaWaterways

One of the best ways to see the Nile is on a river cruise. In September 2020, AmaWaterways announced a new river cruise experience in Egypt, the 11-night Secrets of Egypt & The Nile itinerary, scheduled to first set sail in September 2021 on the new AmaDahlia, AmaWaterways’ 25th river cruise ship. Cruisers first spend three pre-cruise nights in Cairo, the capital of Egypt, visiting the Egyptian Museum, the Pyramids of Giza, the Great Sphinx and more ancient Memphis sites. Next, they fly to Luxor to embark on the ship for seven days on the river, visiting landmarks older than anything we know in the U.S., like the ancient tombs in the Valley of the Kings and Queens; temples with restored and preserved hieroglyphs; and the Temple of Karnak, one of the largest religious complexes in the world.

Ready to plan your next cruise, vacation or getaway?

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What’s on Your Travel bucket list? Courtesy of Liza Summer

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