Cruising takes us to all four corners of the map in a way that’s unlike any other. There are so many stunning vistas to take in, from sun-struck Mediterranean ports to the landmark waterways of the Americas and awe-inspiring natural features of the Arctic Circle. A sea voyage enables us to get both a dramatic overview of a city or country, as well as to get up-close to the landscape, architecture and wildlife from a truly fresh perspective. If you’re interested in booking your next cruise and need some inspiration, here’s a few of our favourite must-see views from around the world.
Seeing the most hotly-contested piece of land in the UK from the deck of a ship is, in fact, the only way to see it. This granite islet is uninhabited and one of the most remote locations in Britain. Situated in the far North-West and making up part of the St Kilda group off the coast of Scotland, ownership of Rockall has been disputed by several nations for years due to the oil deposits which surround it. This small inlet is one for the history books, as only 20 people have ever been confirmed to have landed on Rockall – in fact the most anyone has every stayed is a consecutive 45 days. P&O Cruises’ round-trip from Southampton to Iceland sails past this historical island and gives you a detailed look at its grandeur.
2. Panama Canal
Providing a much-needed through-route from the East to the West coast of the Americas, the Panama Canal is no less impressive than when it was first opened a century ago. From the causeway of Fuerte Amador (Panama City) to the incredible landscapes of Mexico, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, crossing this modern wonder of engineering makes cruising an adventure to remember. This man-made canal boasts some of the best views from a cruise ship, leading you through endless lush forests, bustling high-end marinas and gorgeous mountain ranges.
3. Amazon River
The mighty Amazon river presents a wealth of wildlife, untempered rainforest and river culture waiting to be explored. Cruise side by side with pink dolphins along the second-longest river in the world, or stop and chat to the rubber-tapping workers of Brazilian port, Santarem. A cruise trip into the Amazon is truly a journey into the heart of South America. Not only will you see one of the world’s most beautiful jungles, but you’ll also have the chance to glimpse some of South America’s fantastic and diverse wildlife, including monkeys, sloths and tropical birds.
As Iceland’s second city slides into view, you’ll notice that it’s not only Akureyri that merits a few snapshots, but the jaw-dropping scenery which surrounds it. Expect to discover acres of fjords, volcanoes and ski-worthy mountain slopes. Just a few miles short of the Arctic Circle, Akureyri encapsulates the beauty of this far northern land and is nicknamed the capital of northern Iceland. As you slowly pull into port, the staggering snow covered mountains and colourful seaside houses welcome you to this friendly fishing town. P&O Cruises is no stranger to these northern waters, with Oriana taking you on an epic 19-day journey stopping in Reykjavik, Akureyri and Isafjordur before making its way to Greenland.
A harbour so scenic it might have been painted, Valletta is one of those places which is meant to be viewed from the water. The capital of Malta, this Mediterranean gem mixes Baroque splendour with Phoenician, British and Italian influences and presents a skyline that truly earns its World Heritage status. Valletta gives you stunning cruise views and is the largest natural harbour in Europe, so on your journey you’ll pass docks, shipyards, and even a naval port. MSC Cruises’ MSC Armonia sets sail from Marseilles and travels south east to the striking vistas of Malta before heading onto Naples.
6. Orinoco River
Coursing through Venezuela and Colombia, the Orinoco is arguably South America’s most famous waterway after the Amazon. With its gushing rapids, wetland jungles and intriguing residents – look out for crocodiles and howler monkeys – it’s got to be one for the cruising bucket list. The Orinoco River is also one of the longest rivers in South America too, so you’ll have plenty of time to take in the scenery and snap a photo or two.
This island is part of the Aeolian group, just off the toe of Italy’s ‘boot’. It’s one of the best places to go when cruising, but not for the reason you might think. You won’t be doing any land excursions on this island as it’s actually a volcano and is constantly erupting, leading to dramatic scenery that’s a once-in-a-lifetime sight to behold. From out at sea you can admire the flashes of red-hot lava down the steep sides of what they call the ‘Lighthouse of the Mediterranean’. Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines takes you past this incredible natural wonder as you cruise through Italy’s ports.
8. Guadalquivir River
The Guadalquivir River is the only navigable river in Spain and provides unique access to the best of Andalusia’s architecture and natural beauty. Several cruise lines, including Azamara Club Cruises, feature the historic waterway in their itineraries. You’ll cruise past the gorgeous Roman Bridge on the Guadalquivir River and see some of Spain’s classic whitewashed houses on your journey. It’s a key part of Spanish heritage as much as that of the cities of Seville and Cordoba, which sit on its banks.
9. Kiel Canal
The Schleswig-Holstein region offers a fascinating slice of German history, and the Kiel Canal has been one of the most important waterways in Europe since the late 19th century. Take a Baltic cruise here and you’ll be able to take a short-cut straight through from the North Sea, marvelling at the Rendsburg iron rail bridge – the longest of its type in the world. The canal itself tours the understated German countryside, taking in the bucolic scenery and occasional village.
Built on water as much as land, Stockholm is a city of around 30,000 islands. It’s the second largest archipelago in the Baltic Sea and makes for a truly unforgettable cruising experience. Ships including Silversea’s Silver Cloud navigate through thousands of rocks and tiny islands to port here. Cruising into the Swedish capital allows you to experience the meandering skyline of palaces, galleries and pointed roofs at its best.
There are so many jaw-dropping views to take in while cruising. If you’ve been inspired to see some of these sights for yourself, have a look at our top cruising deals and get excited about your next holiday on the seas.
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