Many of us remember the entertaining and touching movie starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman about two terminally ill men who meet in the hospital and decide to embark on their “Bucket List” of places to go and things to do. When I saw that Cruise West had mentioned the concept of a “Bucket List” in their recent announcement that they were waiving their single supplement for their Antarctic voyages, I started to think about some of the cruise destinations that might be on my own “Bucket List.”
Polynesia has been on my list of must see places since 8 years ago when my husband and I started to plan ahead for our 10th anniversary vacation together. My husband had decided that he wanted to go to the beautiful island of Bora Bora and stay a week in an over water bungalow. I went online to see just what these islands had to offer, and I a was amazed by the beautiful waters and beautiful hotels and accommodations. We were very close to booking something for that trip, but after we relocated and had to delay that trip for about 6 months, we ended up booking a cruise instead. Now that we are so hooked on cruising again, I think the only way that we’ll get to Bora Bora will be on a cruise ship. Several lines including Regent/Paul Gaugin, Princess, Holland America, and Royal Caribbean offer itineraries that include stops in Bora Bora, Tahiti and several other islands in French Polynesia.
Another place I’ve always wanted to visit would be the a for mentioned Antarctica. After reading about Captain James Cooks adventures nearly circum-navigating the continent, I have longed to see this frozen desert myself. Some cruises to Antarctica only provide guest with scenic viewing to just a few of the most northerly tips, while other, expedition oriented cruises offer zodiac boat landings on the actual continent. For cruiser really wanting to explore the continent the best bet is the Kapitan Khlebnikov’s Epic Antarctica via the Phantom Coast and the Ross Sea, Ross Ice Shelf, McMurdo Station, Campbell and Enderby Islands. This 38 day voyage takes passengers areas only accessible by an ice breaker ship. The Discovery Channel featured on of this ship’s voyages on an Antarctic Cruise special. A few of the highlights I remember from that show were the delicious gourmet Russian meals served on board the ship, a rocky desert that is the driest place on earth, a tethered “Polar Bear” plunge of an ice shelf, huge red/orange parkas supplied by the cruise ship, and lots of beautiful scenery and wild life. One unfortunate aspect of this cruise is that the weather makes no grantees of reaching the southern continent. Prices for this 31 day expedition start at around $22,500. The most unsettling aspect of that price is perhaps that there have been cruises where the sea was so rough and uncooperative that the voyagers never reached Antarctica.
For those who prefer a slightly less adventurous and more affordable way to visit Antarctica, many traditional cruise lines have South American/Antarctic cruises. Princess and Celebrity also offer such cruises at prices starting at about $1600 per person. Celebrity has a voyage on the Infinity that departs from Buenos Aires and includes visits to Port Stanley, a cruise by of Elephant Island, Gerlache Strait, Paradise Harbor, Cape Horn and stops in Ushuaia, Tierra Del Fuego, Puerto Madryn and Montevideo before returning to Buenos Aires. Silver Sea has just introduced the new super luxurious 132 passenger capacity Lloyds Register 1A ice class rated Prince Albert II. This ship is featured in the September/October 2009 issue of Cruise travel magazine. It will feature 17 day voyages to the Antarctic Peninsula at prices starting at around $10,000 per person. This ship features a fleet of zodiac boats to bet passengers up close to the incredible wild life and landscapes.
I have always been fascinated by ancient pyramid building civilizations. While Mexico city’s Pyramid of the Sun and Moon, are not cruise destinations, the Pyramids of Giza and Chichen Itza can be reached by ship’s excursion. To visit the Pyramids of Giza one should look for an Ancient Empires Mediterranean cruise that includes a stop in Alexandria, Egypt. From there most cruise lines offer excursion to the Pyramids. Often the cruise lines will even stay in port for over 36 hours to accommodate extended excursion into Egypt. To visit the ruins of Chichen Itza, Mexico”s most impressive and extensive Mayan ruin, look for a Western Caribbean cruise with stops in Progresso. Carnival and Royal Caribbean both offer cruises to this location.
However, almost any cruise with stops in the Yucantan will offer excursions to some of the lesser know Mayan ruin sites such as Tulum.
I’ve been fascinated by the ancient city in clouds of Machu Pichu, since I first saw it in the pages of National Geographic as a child. Because of the remote location and difficult terrain, most cruise lines offer trips to Machu Picchu as an add on several day excursion either before or after a South American or Galapagos Cruise. The cost of such excursions can be even more a cruise at prices of around $4000. Perhaps one could find an independent excursion or adventure tour separate from a cruise that would have a lower per person cost.
We invite our readers to share with us some of the places that they have always wanted to visit but have yet to have the opportunity. Perhaps you might have a cruise planned this year or one just completed, that will or just did take your to one of the destinations on your “Bucket List”. We love to hear of your expectations or experiences.